A Change In Itinerary

Some more travel notes: After a flurry of bag weighing and document ogling, we made it onto our first flight to Abeche. It was a pretty big twin prop plane and I couldn’t help but sleep much of the way (I didn’t have a window seat sadly.) But once we arrived at our destination we had the pleasant surprise of being able to take our second flight right away. Originally we had planed on staying in Abeche overnight and taking a flight in the morning.

The plane was much smaller this time and unpressurized so we stayed at a lower altitude that gave us an incredible vista of eastern Chad. It’s difficult to describe the terrain, there’s something of the American southwest to it, except its character looks totally alien to an American once you pick out the details. Little schools of whites specks dot the terrain, are they cows, camels or maybe goats? And the settlements are placed scatter-shot over everything and it’s hard to tell if they’re abandoned or not, their odd geometric shapes are the only way to pick them out as man-made because they’re camouflaged by the materials around them.

We made two exhilarating stops before arriving at our destination. The “runways” at these tiny hamlets are just cleared stripes of land with the occasional white painted rock marking the contours. They’re often so short that the pilots have to crank up the engines to full power before letting the break go and rocking almost straight up. Sounds frightening but the two (Aussies?) flying the plane seemed completely at ease with this incredible profession.

-James

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