[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/05/art.neilrawanda.jpg caption="Neil Hallsworth starting his work at a local school in Rwanda. June 5, 2008"]
CNN Senior Photojournalist
This is the first trip for Planet in Peril 2, and so far the trip hasn't started off well.
I have arrived at New York’s JFK airport, terminal 2, but finding a skycap who wants to help me with nine large cases is proving difficult. Not too mention, once I get someone, I have to go through the painful process of getting the cases through customs.
Next, to check-in....which always starts with the checking agent asking, "you have how many bags?” I tell him I usually have twice as many!
I go through security and I have SSS on my ticket, meaning I have been randomly selected for special security screening. The TSA officer apologizes as I assume the position and remarks, "I see you've done this before." I'm getting used to this now.
We're off to Rwanda, and what better way to start the trip than with a gin and tonic in the airport lounge. A tasty drink that supposedly also can be used as anti-malaria medication – or at least that's what I tell myself.
Looks like the flight is delayed. There is confusion! But eventually we board one of the hydraulic elevation buses and it is packed. I fight my way through with the camera; behind me a woman is stumbling with a huge wedding dress in bag. You can’t see her, just the bag. Someone in front of me thinks there is someone in the bag. She then pokes her head around from the back and smiles.
After an hour we board the plane. We have two-hour layover in Brussels before our flight to Rwanda. Any delay could mean we would miss our connecting flight and increase the chances of the camera equipment not making it.
We land in Brussels… decisions, decisions. Terminal A or terminal B? There is no one to tell us where our connection is, and it’s not even shown on the electronic display. We chose terminal A…and it turns out to be B. Aggggh this involves a lot of running to make the flight.
Next stop: the gate to see if all the bags have been loaded on the next flight the flight to Kigali. At first they say none of them made it… then they think all but one did! We have to board the flight anyway because it’s last call… I now have eight hours before I find out.
Finally in Rwanda, they made it, fantastic. Even a welcome arrival at the airport, something I’m not used to. Now we’re off to the hotel to get unpacked for the next days filming. And perhaps, another gin and tonic – just what the doctor ordered.
Editor's note: You can read about this and other Planet in Peril stories here.
Filed under: Planet in Peril
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