On the way to Guinea

Jul 1, 2009

So I was invited by NDI to participate in their Retraite Politique in Conakry, Guinea.

They wanted me to give some classes on campaign, share my experiences, hold workshops and participate on a youth panel.

They also wanted me to be available to assist as needed in one-on-one consultations.

I have agreed to go, of course, but since it was a bit last minute, I had to scramble to get the green light from my boss, get the visa, get the vaccines and make all the other arrangements.

But I was happy to go, despite the unstable political situation, and hopefully will be able to help.

To get to Conakry, one doesn’t get a direct flight.  My itinerary was as follows:

Ottawa-Chicago-Brussels-Dakar-Conakry.  19 hours of flying time, plus the layovers.
So my first layover was in O’Hare, where I had 3 hours to grab some lunch before taking off for Europe.

So I picked the O’Hare Bar & Grill – it looked like the most comfortable place to eat around Terminal 3.

O'Hare Bar & Grill

Not knowing what I would face in Guinea, I decided to go for their steak dinner:

A Ceasar Salad, garlic bread, Redskins Mashed potatoes and a 12 oz Sirloin Steak.

The salad was crisp and fresh, not drenched in dressing. The potatoes were actually very tasty, full of flavour.  The bread was kind of bland.   As for the steak, it was not bad, cooked medium-rare as I asked.  It was fairly juicy, but I still ended up adding a bit of HP sauce to help it a little.

It was the most expensive thing on the menu, at 24$ US, but I somehow did not feel cheated at all and left quite satisfied, having chased it down with a couple of beers.

Then it was off to Brussels, were I landed a little bit past 8 am.  The Brussels Airport is quite modern, thanks to an influx of European money, but the Terminal to Africa, Gate T, is a tad bit empty, depleted of boutiques or restaurants.  The only thing available to travellers is a sports bar.  At 8 in the morning, after a sleepless overnight flight over the Atlantic, the possibilities seemed endless.

I love Belgium.  And I figured I would at least grab some breakfast.  A breakfast beer, that is.
And Hoegaarden seemed fully indicated.

Smooth. Creamy.  A touch of sweetness.  The perfect breakfast for a red-eyed traveller.

And hopefully, I’ll sleep somewhere over Africa.


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