At exactly 9:43am, an excruciatingly loud and garbled voice, full of deep, rolling Rs, jolted me from peaceful sleep: “Attention ladies and gentlemen. We are now beginning our descent into Mogadishu.”
For two years I had managed to avoid going to Mogadishu. “Avoid” is probably the wrong word, actually. I hadn’t “found the opportunity” to go to Mogadishu would be more accurate. I still wasn’t sure why I wanted to go. I could attempt to justify it as having something to do with being a journalist — that I needed to see it to write about it, that there are so many stories to be told, that danger, risk, and getting the breaking story is what real journalism is all about — yada yada yada.
But to be frank, in a P.J. O’Rourke Holidays in Hell kind of way, it was more to do with personal curiosity of what’s been brewing above the Kenyan border, behind the headlines, and a desire to explore the fragmented patchwork of informal existence that has kept Mogadishu on the rails through two decades of civil war.
Landing at Aden Adde International Airport, a mix of fear and wonder hammered my insides. I departed the plane, and got roasted. Jeans were a bad choice.