Wednesday, August 30, 2023

My French Guiana Adventure: Day 8

The trip back home from French Guiana was wild.

I always like to arrive at the airport super early. There are maybe six other passengers in the entire airport when I get there. I walk around the lobby to look at model rockets.

French Guiana is an international airport, but not a busy one. Today, there are just two flights out. The Island Hopper to Miami, and the direct flight to Orly. I want to reiterate that 60% of the cocaine in Mainland France transits through this airport. You do the math. They check my body and my luggage for cocaine residue.

I board the plane. Uneventful.

It is empty. Then, all of a sudden, a bunch of people get on all at once. Too many, in fact. 23 passengers on board do not have boarding passes and are not authorized to fly. It takes two hours to figure out who needs to be kicked off the plane. The crew is professional and memorable. I'm sure this has happened before. The male flight attendant reminds me of NBC News anchor Lester Holt. He is very serious, except I can see a seashell bracelet on his wrist. The female flight attendant is very rigid and very French. Her eyeglass frame is very artsy. One side is a rectangle, the other side is an oval. There is a third person. He is sitting at the front of coach. Blonde guy with wrap around shades that American cops wear. He is definitely law enforcement. During the two hour headcount fiasco, he is standing in the aisle looking towards the back of the plane, ready to throw down.

We are late for our connection on one of the islands. I do not get a chance to partake in another large shot of rum. All administrative hurdles are knocked down as everyone going to Miami is allowed to bypass security to get on the next plane. We run across the tiny airport. The catch is, we all have to stay together. But a French Karen insists that she leave us to smoke a cigarette. We say she can't. She walks away and smokes anyway. The entire second plane waits for her to finish smoking.

On the final leg, I decide to load up on the complimentary wine. We hit some serious turbulence, and this is the result.

Home sweet home.

As I land in Oakland, I get this text from my wife. The kids are at the drug store getting their passport photos taken. I hope with all my heart that they get to experience travel adventures like mine.



@slirt said...

Finally, i've felt trapped in Cayenne for weeks; glad to have finally escaped (and glad you did, too!).

Darian said...

If you've not read it, I recommend John Gimlette's book "The Wild Coast", about travels through Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana.

Maxichamp said...

@Darian: I have! I am re-reading it again. It's what got me interested in the region.