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December 26, 1997

Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport

Arrived Paris OK. Flight was good. Tired but I slept a bit on the plane. Economy class seats SUCK! I always swear next time, I will go First Class because the seats look so BIG and cushy. It's 9:12 AM - don't leave for Niamey until 1:00 PM. Nothing to do but read and eat. Hoping not to get hungry until I board for Africa to save money. Got my water, should be OK. Air France food isn't near as good as Pakistan Air Lines. Sat next to two Indians on the plane from Dulles. Both needed a bath, but the man on the bus to the terminal needed fumigation! Don't think he ever heard of deodorant. Guess in 18 more days, I'll smell the same though, so ...

The flight to Niamey was uneventful. But it was amazing to be able to see the desert floor from 37,000 feet in the air. The airport in Niamey is very small, lots of police. The porters wanted lots of money to take my bags. Changed a little money on the black market. I was overjoyed to see Uschi since we hadn't talked since she had left for Africa two months prior. We drove a little bit from Niamey to sleep. It was dark so I couldn’t see much scenery but there were lots of little campfires along the road and I enjoyed watching the natives. I had a hard time sleeping that night due to excitement mostly. I found the night air invigorating and the night stars were just incredible. Never realized how many there were without the smog from America. The country is desolate interspersed with small villages. People were mostly friendly and warm, but all want money. Soil ranges from rocky to sand with small bushes and scrubby trees.

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