Sunday, August 16, 2009


I'm in Libreville, sitting in the huge white African living-room, overlooking the calm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. I can see the beach full of men in colourful T-shirts, playing football and bathing in the see. Tall palm trees, Toyota cars and posters of candidates for presidency. Grey, cloudy sky.

My trip from Poland was eventless, I made it in time to catch both planes, watched two films and there I was, in Africa again. I got off the plane and dutifully put myself in the "no-visa" line. In front of me some French people, behind a group of Scots. You see, the only visa I could've got outside of Gabon was a tourist one, useless if
I wanted to stay here. The procedure is thus as follows:

1) Long before my arrival, Jandro applies for a special paper ("Authorisation of Entry") and waits for it for a month. It costs money.

2) With a copy of this paper I present myself at the airport and queue in the "no-visa" line. I talk to one airport officer, who, through continuous use of the word "two" ("two two two"), informs me that I only gave him the first part of the paper and he wants the second one. I talk to another officer, who kindly ignores my question about the price of the visa and walks away. After an hour (I was third in the line), a photograph of my tired face is taken and, having left my fingerprints, I obtain my one-month visa. It costs money.

3) With my brand new visa I must now head for immigrants office (or something of the kind), where I will need to queue for God knows how long ("Remember to take a picnic basket. People get there at 4 am"), in order to exchange it for a very much desired "Carte de Séjour" (a sort of a residence permit), which lets me stay here legally for a longer period of time. This costs A LOT of money.

Ah, the things you do when you're young and in love... ;)

1 comment:

  1. Moje 4 wizyty w ratuszu, żeby dostać dowód na pięć lat to przy tym pikuś :-P. Ale odstałam swoje w Warszawie, kiedy young and in love chciałam lecieć do Stanów ;-). Było -20 stopni - jak widać, popadamy w skrajne ekstrema pogodowe ;-).