Travel Comoros

Moving To a Tiny Island in the Indian Ocean

Since the middle of March, when I first took this job, I have heard many words describe the journey I am about to embark on.

Crazy” “Lonely” “Incredible” “Once in a Lifetime” “isolated” “Experience”  and so on.

Sitting on the floor of a packed Ethiopian airport, all these words are repeating themselves in my head and creating one of those world cloud representations of data.

The truth is, I nor no one I know, has ever been to the Comoros and despite being friends with many well travelled people, no one has quite managed to describe the experiences they have had in isolated islands or parts of the world. The feeling I have now, is not as if I am about to get onto a plane, but on the contrary : I feel as If I am entering a time machine. A machine that will transport me so far beyond the world I know, where I will merely glimpse snippets of ‘normalcy’ on this 9 month journey.

I’m going to a place with no shops, cinemas, cafes, crowded streets, crosswalks, ice cream trucks, Happy Cow reviews or just about everything I have become accustomed to by living in Australia and Europe.

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This is why, on top of the crippling fear of complete solitude, I have decided to keep a record of my thoughts, the moments and accomplishments while working at Laka Lodge.

I of course am already keeping a video diary, however in a recent podcast I listened to from SPI, it was mentioned that you should focus on your talent. Focus on the thing that takes five times less time and effort to do than others.

Writing has always been my method of escape and self reflection. I could blame the IB school system for attempting to turn us into well rounded : principled, knowledgeable, balanced etc people, however words have always held a fascination for me. Potentially it comes from the several languages my parents imprinted in my brain before I even managed to figure out how to think. Either way, my fingers gliding over the keys on my laptop feels like a natural extension of myself and maybe a way to best transfer some thoughts as I optimistically sit and hope to change the world.

It is also much less conspicious than talking to a camera in a crowded and loud airport.

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So far, the journey has been strenuous, but not overly complicated. A three hour drive from Budapest to Vienna with my father, a dinner at a delicious Vegan Restaurant just a block away from where I took my first steps and a 6 hour (mildy turbulent flight from Vienna to Addis Ababa).

Flying from Europe to Comoros

Considering the distance to travel isn’t huge, organising a flight to Moheli is much more complicated. Luckily, thanks to Ethiopian Airline’s new(ish) and very affordable flights it is possible to fly return Vienna-Moroni for around 800 euro! This of course is if you buy the flights in advance.

The total time of the transit was 12 hours, with a 6h flight following a 3 hour layover and another 3 hour flight from Ethiopia to Moroni. Both operated by Ethiopian Airlines which have semi comfortable seats, a large selection of onboard entertainment (for the 6h flight on the BOEING 777-200LR JET from Vienna to Addis Ababa) and average food. I ordered vegan food in advance and received relatively edible rice and tomato vegetable sauce to go with it. Their staff are sometimes slow to respond to the “call” button and are midly confused if you ask them to fill up a reusable water bottle, however happy enough to comply. I will say they had some pretty good wine on board, which I thoroughly enjoyed on both the flights. The second flight was a BOEING 737-800 JET, so a relatively new and comfortable aircraft (six seats across) so while it was significantly smaller than the 777, it made the turbulence when landing in Moroni manageable.

So while you will not be flying in extreme luxury, Ethiopian Airlines, the crew and flying was an overall pleasant experience. Definitely excellent value for money.

Arriving at Addis Ababa Ethiopia

Walking in to the airport here, the advice given by my employer is to straight away go through the security check point as it would be completely packed. Sure enough, several planes had just landed, in the 16 degree crisp morning, and the queues were quickly lengthening. People snaking around metal bars, some attempting to slither between before caught, however the airport police were far from hawks; rather confused meerkats. One immediately undoing the work a previous one had just set up. Changing around the divider lines, shifting tables with trays, and redirecting confused passangers back and forth between two security checks until a woman decided to take matters into her own hands and moved the entire divider. I missed the part of the conversation where the reason was given for why we could not go through security in the far left lane, but the grumbling of the women around me let me know it was “Only for Men”.  While some may have found this insulting or even frustrating, I could hardly conceal a little smile. I have truly come a long way from Europe and am about to immerse myself into a drastically different culture.

About Addis Ababa

This hubbub of travel has many flights flying in ever day. Ethiopian Airlines commenced flying in 1946, and since then have one of the highest safety records of African Airlines. (There is no point reading about the hijackings or malfunctions of the planes as I have just done.)

Addis Baba is a medium sized airport:

  • Wifi Available
  • Small Shop
  • No Potable Water
  • Uncomfortable Seats
  • Very crowded at gates

For the two hour layover, the airport was perfectly fine, however do not expect anything comparable to Singapore. I do highly recommend heading over to the Gate area near boarding time, if you do go downstairs towards the gate earlier, you will be left sitting on the ground or standing around as the entire place is extremely crowded. Instead, stay upstairs where there is an abudance of seating and the amenities (toilets and shops).

Walking in to the airport here, the advice given by my employer is to straight away go through the security check point as it would be completely packed. Sure enough, several planes had just landed, in the 16 degree crisp morning, and the queues were quickly lengthening. People snaking around metal bars, some attempting to slither between before caught, however the airport police were far from hawks; rather confused meerkats. One immediately undoing the work a previous one had just set up. Changing around the divider lines, shifting tables with trays, and redirecting confused passengers back and forth between two security checks until a woman decided to take matters into her own hands and moved the entire divider. I missed the part of the conversation where the reason was given for why we could not go through security in the far left lane, but the grumbling of the women around me let me know it was “Only for Men”.  While some may have found this insulting or even frustrating, I could hardly conceal a little smile. I have truly come a long way from Europe and am about to immerse myself into a drastically different culture. Might as well greet the new experiences with a smile and optimistic, eager to learn attitude.

To be honest though, I am sitting in front of a fully packed gate which does have my flight number HOWEVER the name of the destination and the time are different. I should probably get up and attempt to understand the situation, otherwise I might end up in some trouble. I already refused to carry more cash, and would not want my fathers prophecy of getting stuck at the airport to come true.

The flight infront of me is written to fly to Noseby. Hopefully stop in Comoros on the way?

6 thoughts on “Moving To a Tiny Island in the Indian Ocean”

  1. Heey, how are you .My son ( Stefan) saw a blonde girl at the airport in Budapest , and he told me” hey, mum look she’ s the girl who stayed near by us , in the plane” Have a great time wherever you are!

    Like

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