The occasional reader of this blog could easily fall under the wrong impression that African countries are only places of endless beaches, adventure and fun. Unfortunately, that is a far cry from the truth. I’ve been giving one part of the story, fully aware of the pressing problems too.
Months ago we read an article about one of those unexpected, silly incidents that seem to multiply in African countries.
Dakar airport, in Senegal, was informed days earlier about the refueling of an aircraft, as it is the usual proceeding. But when the UK plane landed, the pilot was told that he had to pay in cash before they’d allow the jet to refuel and fly home.
The Boing 757, with 204 passengers, had to refuel in Dakar during the journey from Banjul, Gambia, to Bristol. Now the airport officials demanded 2 million Senegalese francs or the plane would have to stay.
The pilot’s first option was to use a cash machine. As it wouldn’t accept the card, he decided to raid the bar takings from the flight, adding to it the first officer and his own cash and traveller’s cheques.
The money had to be exchanged to Senegalese currency, what took some time. As it was dark by then, the authorities wanted more money for switching on the runaway lights! No wonder the pilot was cheered by 204 relieved passengers when the aircraft was finally cleared to take-off.
To be continued…