April 7 - Arrival in Austria

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I woke up a little bit when we landed in Casablanca where we had a one hour stopover. The only reason for that was that the Air France crew would be exchanged. Because of the insecurity in Mali, they did not want their crew to stay there but the journey was too long for them to go all the way to Mali and back. So they'd stay in Casablanca, and a new crew came on board. I fell back asleep quickly.

We were scheduled to arrive at 5:30 am (which is 3:30 am in Mali), but arrived with a one-hour delay. I dozed through the little breakfast as well, knowing I wouldn't participate anyway. However, I woke up in time before arrival to watch the last few minutes of my movie and finish it.

I was pretty tired when we arrived - to 4°C. And I only had 45 min before my flight to Vienna would depart. I knew that if we had to take a bus to the terminal rather than the jetway (which happens 50% of the time), I'd probably not make it. I was relieved when we docked directly to the terminal. Still, it would be tight in the big, confusing Paris airport where you have to walk on and on and on before you get to your terminal, and I had done this particular connection many times.

I walked as fast as possible. We had arrived in F and I needed to get to D; the plane to Vienna always leaves from the same gate. Unfortunately I also had to go through security again, and the French often make you take out EVERYTHING electronic, and so even though I had removed a few things, it wasn't enough yet, so it took more time than usual. And I still had a long way to walk.

When I arrived at the gate, it was 7 am - 15 minutes before departure - and there was no more line. I quickly went on board and was relieved I had made my plane. I hate getting on late, as all the overhead bins are usually full, and so I was really lucky to find a space in business class. The plane was completely full (as the one from Bamako had been). I was glad when I sat down, and was able to text my Mom that I'd arrive as planned; though I wondered whether my luggage would make it in this short time.

I was so exhausted I pretty much dozed the whole flight; though I did wake up when they served little croissants (no, thanks) and drinks, and had some hot tea and water. However, hot tea without milk is really not my cup of tea ;-).

At 9:15 I landed in Vienna; it's always a different kind of feeling landing in your hometown that you love. I could tell that I was tired and hadn't had my daily juice. When I wanted to pick up my luggage, I was already informed before looking for it that it had not made it. I was not surprised. So I went to the counter to deposit my claim, and they said it would arrive in the afternoon. So I only had my carry-on bags to leave with.

My Mom was already waiting for me, and she was relieved to see me "sain et sauf". We loaded my few things into the car, and off we went to my friend's house. It was nice talking to her in the car, and I said my good-byes after she dropped me off.

I love staying with my friend, though it's been years since I've stayed with her as I stay with my grandmother now. However, my grandmother was still on vacation - until tomorrow - and so I was treated to 24 hours with my friend.

I enjoyed catching up with her, and just sitting down and relaxing. After a while I went online to let everyone know I arrived safely. I was freezing (6°C in Vienna), and covered in blankets as I talked and used my computer. I went to the nearby grocery store and bought a few things - tea and juice. In the afternoon, I got extremely tired and ended up sleeping for 2.5 hours. I had originally planned going to the afternoon Austrian service, but with no luggage, that was out of the question. My luggage finally arrived at 8:30 pm.

And so it ended up being a quiet, relaxing day with my friend. And in all honesty, I needed that. As for Mali, I found out that the coup leader Sanogo had signed a treaty with ECOWAS that he was putting a civilian government in place "in days" and that the parliament speaker would become the interim president. Good news indeed! Let's see what "in days" means, and hopefully, the sanctions will be lifted soon.

Late at night, I slipped into a beautiful bed at cold 18°C, and was looking forward to a good night's rest.

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