I’m sitting in a hotel close to the airport with Jon, Murray and Franlkin and we’re biding time ‘til the flight home. I’ve just had a croque monsieur (Laughing Cow with chunks of pork luncheon meat, it was actually quite nice, I must have been hungry).
Last night we said our goodbyes to Barmmy Boy, Alfred Scotland, Memunatu, the cheeky sods Ibrahim and Mohamed (who were looking for some cash), Lam and Blesss who were such good friends.
This morning Sidibay came along to say goodbye – such a nice kid and he’s had such an awful time. He’s a heroic figure.
We’ll keep in touch with Barmmy, Sidibay, Lam and Bless and we’ll keep up contact with iEARN. And of course, we’ll keep in touch with the excellent, earnest, caring Franklin.
We’ve come away with so many intentions. I hope we can keep them all.
I’m ready to go home. I want to see my wife and children. I want my bed. I want some salad that hasn’t been washed in Freetown water. I want a glass of wine. I want cold nights. I want electricity and the internet.
The ten mile ride from the hotel to the ferry (Lungi airport is on a peninsula outside Freetown) takes two hours. The taxi is weighted down with luggage.
We arrive just in time as they close the ferry gates. A terrifying exit from the taxi into throngs of kids wanting to carry our bags. Again, thank God for Franklyn – he yells at everyone and we hurry to the boat – thre guys carrying Jon and Murray’s large, hard Samsonite cases on their heads.
It’s a 45 minute ride. From the ferry, with the mountains behind, Freetown looks pretty much like any port – it could be Cherbourg or Santander.
On the ferry there’s a suspicious surprise in store. It’s the guy who our friend Chris introduced to us one night – he’s called Joseph – the first one who wanted to telll us about his diamond mine…
… so maybe the adventure isn’t quite over. I’ve said all along that the time when we’re most likely to be robbed in this corrupt and desperate country (peopled by a mixture of warm-hearted, lovely funny people and out-and-out pirates), is the only time when we can be truly separated from our luggage – after checking-in the airport.
Let’s see what happens.