We finally reach Lusaka. The walk from the plane to the airport is refreshing, and I enter the door under a sign reading ‘Welcome to Lusaka’. Somebody waves a machine round my face to check if I’m diseased, and we are let through to the disorganised arrivals terminal. There are 5 desks, three for Zambian residents and returning passengers, one for other passport holders, and one for diplomats. We join the long-ish queue, and wait our turn. The queue is moving as slow as ever, with one very relaxed woman signing and stamping passports. I look behind and see the queue stretch outside the door.
A group of people to my right make their way to the Diplomats desk. My husband is chatting to an Ethiopian national living in America who casually states that they’re definitely not diplomats, but probably part of a non-profit organisation. The two queues have merged into a crowd and people are pushing in from the sides.
I connect to the airport wifi, and ring my family waiting at the airport entrance. The queue has actually stopped moving, so I make the most of free wifi and ring my family back at home.
And I mean suddenly, after waiting for what feels like ages, I turn around, and the queue has disappeared. We are the last ones! The queue was definitely moving with the people pushing in the sides, but WE weren’t moving.
Welcome to Lusaka? It is more like ‘welcome to no queues’. This is the moment I really kick myself for not letting out my inner Indian, and pushing through to the front of the queue from the beginning.
When we finally get through to baggage collection, my lonely luggage awaits, miserably waiting on the floor. We collect it, and meet our family who had been waiting forever for us.
Welcome to Lusaka.
Read Part 4 here.
Read the previous parts of my Africa blog