Thu 27 Feb 2020 14:33
Tuesday 25th February we dinghyed over to the main Port area to do formalities. Djibouti's main export is coal and the whole Port Area is covered in thick coal dust, dirty and extremely nasty to breathe in. We eventually found a rickety iron ladder to climb up and left the dinghy next to a concrete wall covered in barnacles - local guys fighting to be the one to mind the dinghy! We found the Capitainerie du Port a lovely man called Aden whose face was covered by a big mask - coal dust! Due to the coronavirus alert we had to see quarantine first so Aden called them and we had a medical examination next to the dinghy. We were both a bit startled when the quarantine officer held a gun to our heads to take our temperatures but he seemed satisfied we were fit to go.
Next stop after Port Captain was Immigration and Police. We did the necessary and passports were stamped then handed over our $30 PP for our Visas - all good, then the Immigration Officer offered us some ghat to chew on and suggested we may like to give him and his colleague a small present!!!!! That cost us an extra $30 but we were not arguing with the ghat chewing police force of Djibouti. They gave us Port passes and we started the long coal dusty trek to the Port Gates - I had flip flops on - not a good move and my feet and shoes were soon black. We walked and walked along the rather depressing streets of Djibouti and found a bank to get local currency and Djibouti Telecom for a SIM Card not straightforward but got there in the end. People are extremely poor in Djibouti and a lot sleep on the streets including whole families but we were helped many times and did not feel it was an unsafe place to be. It was a lot of walking but eventually we returned to the coal dusty Port to find the man tending the dinghy had decided his services were valued at $100!!!! No I don't think so! So after arguing our way out of that one he ended up with nothing.
Syd went alternator searching on Day 2 with an agent who had appeared. What he saw of the City did not inspire and the chances of anyone having what he wants is getting slimmer so we ordered 240 litres of fuel to be Gerry canned over to the boat. I think our stay in Djibouti aside from re-fuelling is going to be a complete waste of time and money.
Made a trip to the local market today, it is situated in the poorest part of Town where roads are virtually non existent and emaciated people and animals wander about, the market itself had an okay selection of fruit and veg, though a lot after closer inspection, was well past its best but it was nice to be able to get some fresh produce without paying the hugely inflated prices of the supermarkets here. Total contrast was a visit to a very upmarket supermarket with a wine department, bakery, cheese counter and fresh meat - this was for the 'haves' in Djibouti and mainly seemed to be frequented by the Army and Navy!!!
It seems Syd is not going to find a new Alternator here and with the crazy prices the Agent wants to charge to do anything for you, he has decided to order one and get it sent to Egypt. So the plan is to check out on Sunday and go.
If you ever feel you might like to visit Djibouti - dont bother!