1. You enter the airport and throw yourself in one of the masses of khawajas checking in, hoping that it leads you to the correct check in counter. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry. You just elbow your way through the masses to the next one.
2. The guy at the check-in counter goes through the list and searches for your name. If he finds it he handwrites a boarding card for you and throws your bag somewhere, where you can only hope someone will come and pick it up and put it on the correct plane. If he does’t, don’t worry. He still handwrites you a boarding card and throws your bag somewhere.
3. You put your bag on the x-ray machine. You then take your bag off because there is no power at the airport and so they hand search your hand luggage.
4. You have a three hour delay in an arrival hall that is filled beyond capacity and where the airconditioning is not working, because there is no power. Its 36 degrees. The reason for the delay? The president and the vice president decided to park their 18 (yes 18) car motorcade on the runway.
5. In the three hour delay, you realize that you know at least 50% of the people at the airport and recognize at least the other 40%, reminding you that Juba is a small place.
6. When you arrive in Cairo, you are reminded its Christmas this week as you see the first Christmas Tree of the year. Oh and they are playing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” in the reception.
7. You and most of the flight check into a hotel due to the long transfer. At dinner, you know who is coming from Juba as they are the ones crowded around the salad bar filling their plates with all the fresh produce. You can also recognize them as they are the ones talking about how excited they are to spend their first night in a long time not sleeping under a mosquito net.
8. You go to take money out of the cash machine and it takes you a moment to remember your pin number because you realize you have not used a card in the past half year. A similar feeling occurs when using coins again.
9. The first stop at the airport is not the Duty Free. It is the supermarket, where once again you find yourself in front of the fresh produce section taking in with amazement the large selection of hams and cheeses. Which are all real. And affordable.
10. You spend the whole flight talking to your friend from Juba reminiscing about the awesome times spent in the last half year and how much we do really love Juba.