'Landing will be in five minutes.
It is 33C in Bamako.'
I've well prepared myself for landing in Bamako, Mali which was once a dark African empire extending from Mauritania, Senegal to Guinea in the 13th -14th Century. Starting from 1857, the French occupied the country, French is still the official language and this is why i was there.
Wearing layers of clothes to resist the chilly weather in Paris, I had to put it off one by one in the toilet where one could hardly move, luckily my siege was up-graded to business class due to overbooking. There was no queue outside, and I could take my time, like the French said 'prendre ton temps', of course, I was in an Air France aircraft A310. I had some champagne which was the only wine I would take in-flight. I felt hot already, because of the wine and most of all, the sun shining through the little window.
'Please remained seated until the aircraft has completely stopped'
It was 4.54pm but the sun was still burning the land which was called l'afrique noire. (dark Africa)
Going down the stairs, i arrived finally in Bamako, there was nothing,
more precisely, no facilities in the airport: no connecting bus, no boarding gate, but a man with a gun guarding the 'exit' of the staircase, gazing at you. Some Malien women were standing around the aircraft, welcoming their visitors. This scene should be seen on the arrival floor of an airport but here in Mali, things were out of our imaginations.
It was terribly hot but with its dryness, one could hardly sweat so you didn't feel too tough, but i could hardly breathe in my suits. We were walking to the main building 15m away, or say the only building. There were two queue, one for local resident, one for foreigner as usual, yet it was interesting to find that Malien were sitting on the bench in the passport control area (sous-douane), i wondered if they were having a siesta. They shouted to me to go to the counter for local resident in French. i hesitated and remained still. The others did so.
It's my boss turn. The officer said that he didn't have entry visa, neither nor i. We called the consulate of Mali in hong kong and we were told that it was not necessary for HKSAR passport holder.
i told him that 'ce n'est pas necessaire pour notre passeport'
(for our passport, it's not necessary. )
The French sitting next to me interferred. He explained to the officer that we went there for business and we would leave the next day. His effort was in vain. A fat woman in traditional Malien clothing approached us, she was quite active there as she never ceased to bring some passport for the officer to chop on.
We passed the passport control area, proceeded to the vaccination counter. Lining up in the queue, i knew what was wrong. We didn't have vaccinated neither. People were showing a yellow card. I'd checked in Hong Kong that vaccination for yellow fever is recommended but not a must.
Here, it is a must.
To be continued.....