Sunday, 23 November 2014
Friday, 7 November 2014
As this CD blasts from my office speakers, I really miss Pakistan. Although I hardly listened to the fiery sermons of Tahirul Qadri or the hot air speeches of Imran Khan, since they were so irritating, my parents would be constantly glued to the TV screens, and the daily live broadcasts of the dharnas had become a permanent fixture in our house and in deed all over town
Monday, 3 November 2014
I arrived back in Monrovia yesterday after being away for about eight months. We flew with Air Ivoire, one of the first regional airlines to resume operations to Sierra Leone and Liberia. We started at 10:00 AM and reached Monrovia at 4:30 PM via Abidjan and Freetown.
All the airports we passed through were rigorously screening passengers with thermal scans, digital thermometers, and questionnaires. And, hand sanitisers were everywhere.
Spotted US soldiers on arrival at RIA - they looked quite out of place but that's because I've never seen so many - the last time was Erbil 2003. Apparently they are everywhere setting up treatment units.
As we drove back into town on a late afternoon, the golden sunlight casting its glow on the trees and grass, and later as got closer to Monrovia, on the faces of people going about, I was almost relieved. Despite myself, I guess I have started believing the sensational international reporting and expected death and mayhem everywhere.
I chatted to the driver to get a sense of things. I chatted to the first person I went to meet: Mama Susu. Actually, she was bemoaning the lack of business at her end more than anything else. I had a good first day at the office although I hardly even sat at my desk. Everyone is saying things are better in Monrovia.
Except for sensitisation posters and billboards everywhere, things look just the way they always do although traffic on Randall Street is noticeably reduced.
It's great to be back at my cozy apartment and office although as always, flying back to Liberia from anywhere else is a culture shock, especially if you've been away for a long time. It's amazing how much of a culture shock I get even after more than ten years of living and working here.
Dare I say, things are quite OK here.
|A shot of the entrance to the main RIA terminal |
where we got checked with a digital thermometer.
And, no, I'm not promoting Cellcom, an Israeli company.
|A shot of the tarmac. |
I've been landing and taking off from this tarmac for more than 10 years now.
|Did you know Islamabad Airport was voted the worst airport in the world recently? I agree since even RIA is better.|
There was a throng of US soldiers at the exit gate. I didn't know what to make of this sight. Usually, if you see this guys, the country has been invaded by the USA, right? They looked bored and hot. It was really disorienting to see them.
|Kavita with a view of the RIA main terminal at the back with the US soldiers.|
|A view of the RIA highway. Surprisingly all our luggage fit in this taxi.|
|I stopped to take a photo of the RIA highway. I love this shot. I'll never forget the first time I landed in RIA and drove on this highway into town and, couldn't quite make out where the heck I was.|
|Reunion and dinner at Mama Susu's. Our camera man took a bit of a fuzzy shot but you can still make out the smiling faces.|
|Lunch at Mama Susu's the next day. Kavita's standing at the entrance. For anyone who doesn't know, Mama Susu's is on Gurley Street.|
|The one and only Mama Susu|