Everything posted here is stricktly the opinion of the poster and shall not be taken to be the official position of UNMIS, UNMISS, UN, the Norwegian Armed Forces or any other organisation whatsoever.

Saturday 24 September 2011

Home at last

It was a very long trip home...

We travelled as a group of six Norwegians, which was nice since I had someone to talk to along the way. Getting to Juba Airport around 1400 local time (1300 Norwegian time), we got through the check-in and security check with no hassle - travelling in uniform does have it's benefits. Then we had to hang around in the departure hall until well past five in the afternoon, being warm and sweaty. For some reason that was beyond the grasp of any of us, our little group was split up on two different flights leaving with fifteen minutes between us. We found it strange, and even more so when we realised that both flights had enough free seats to fit the whole group twice over.

Our first jump brought us to Addis Ababa, where we had some food before going through yet another security check. Our next flight was to take off at 2300 local time (2200 Norwegian time), and once aboard we realised just how little the UN must have paid for our tickets - if we had been further back in the cabin we would been riding in the galley... and as I'm sure most know; being in the back means more noise, more traffic in the aisle and less rest. Between take off and landing I got less than half an hour of napping, but I did get to watch a couple of movies and read a fair bit.

Landing in Frankfurt, we had time for a cup of coffee and a bite before boarding the last flight - again I was in the back, with my back against the galley wall. The nice thing was that I got a row all to myself, so I could relax and read some more while listening to music. It ended up being the most relaxing part of the jorney home to be honest...

We touched down at Oslo Airport about a quarter to ten in the morning, but our epic travels were far from done... we were picked up at the airport and taken to a nearby military base for our medical debrief and the handing out of medals. Since I've been extremely lucky (and also quite careful while in Sudan) I got a clean bill of health - at least until the results of the blood work comes in. They fed us too; slices of wholegrain bread with stuff on them, just the thing I've been missing the last year (the only bread I could find in Sudan was white bread).

After pinning a medal on us they drove us back to the airport; some of us had a flight to catch to get all the way home, some of us had made other arrangements. I finally walked through my door around 1800 on Thursday, home at last...

1 comment: