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Air Travel within Gabon

Flying here is always an amusing enterprise. You get to the airport an hour an a half before the flight yet no one can tell you exactly where to check in. Some airlines apparently have multiple counters in multiple buildings and it appears to be a good game to see if you can find the correct one on your own, because no one wants to explain it to you. Once there the security guy makes a big show of wanting to look through bags, but then only opens my duffle bag and barely looks in it as he talks to other people. Getting to the airline counter itself to check in is a free-for-all with people routinely barging to the front of the line and men giving an attitude of being too important to wait. Some people are charged for excess baggage weight while others are not. Once on the plane there are no assigned seats and no air is flowing while the plane sits on the runway, so my only goal is to stay perfectly still in the hope that I might sweat less (wishful thinking). But once the plane takes off the flight is quite pleasant. The flight attendant serves water or sometimes juice… in flavors like mango or black currant, which is nice. And since the flights are short, the planes stay low enough for nice views. Planes often stop at multiple airports and people get off and on as if it’s a giant taxi. Stopovers at these airports are quick; planes are in and out within 15 minutes or so. I learned early last year to watch out the window during these stops because baggage handlers sometimes remove whatever baggage they feel like at any stop, so you have to make sure yours stays on if you’re interested in keeping it.

On Tuesday I had a really nice flight from Libreville to Port Gentil and on to Gamba, which meant the plane followed the coastline the entire way and I was able to recognize and photograph the different lagoons and rivers. Seeing it all from the air, it seems daunting to think about trying to find manatees in all these systems.
Tributaries of the Ogooue River

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