Monday, 2 January 2012

... Tanzania: Home!... FINALLY!

No matter how great an adventure you always feel kind of excited as the clouds break and you see familiar turf appear below you as you make your descent.

For me it took:
* More than 37hrs
* 3 airports (JRO-NBO-AMS)
* One very strange row buddy who insisted on admiring himself in any reflective surface and taking up half of my personal space with his elbows
* Far too much time spent in airports waiting for connecting flights to the point where you start wandering aimlessly around looking for things to amuse yourself. You will find humor in anything if you're exhausted enough!

* Two trips to Starbucks... it had to be done!
* The purchase of $83 Belgian chocolates for gifts, which quite frankly had better be the best tasting chocolate EVER!

* Overdoing it just a tad in the perfume store when doing the necessary depongification. Good job I love Marc Jacobs "Daisy" although others however might not.
* Having to queue with over 200 other people on your flight at the gate to clear security all because someone somewhere thought that this is actually a good idea
* An "is she dead or actually just sleeping?" row buddy whom I was envious of as I tried to contort myself into a comfortable sleeping position in my seat
* An Anatomy & Physiology chapter on the Nervous System & The Brain prompting someone to ask me if I was a Doctor and me to reply "No, but I should be"
* Having to queue at Agriculture for Customs with all my wood products which were of course all wrapped like a mummy yet still getting out of the airport before most people on my final flight! Thank you Travel Gods!
* A lot of spinach. Apparently we Vegetarians only want to be served spinach during our inflight meals... All of them. May be I was assumed to be suffering from an iron deficiency? Still, I think I may be off spinach for a little while.

And now a pile of unpacking, laundry, downloading/uploading pics and sorting out something for dinner awaits. I've got to move off the sofa first. My body doesn't seem to be communicating with my brain however. Plus I have two 4-legged "kids" glued to either side of me like limpets. It might take me a while.

It's good to be home!

Thank you to all those who so generously supported my quest to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis by trekking to the top of Kilimanjaro through both donation and words of support. At time of going to press I have raised over £800! For those of you who would still like to donate you still can! The donation page will remain open for a few more months.

- Posted using BlogPress from Nic's iPad

Sunday, 1 January 2012

... Tanzania: Happy New Year!

As I type I am 7.5hrs into my journey home which will total just over 37hrs as I fly JRO - NBO - AMS - YVR in my bid to get home to Canada. It would appear that I am the Queen of Layovers. My journey started at noon local time with an edge of your seat drive to the airport in a taxi. In fact when he hit one of the many speed bumps I did for a minute wonder if we would land at Nairobi, which was my first layover. My time went surprisingly fast at Kilimanjaro (JRO) namely because they move so slow, if that makes sense. I was there too early to check in and then when I could there was of course already a line up. Even when this was split into two lines the staff were so painfully slow. It took me 20 minutes to get past immigration and I was with the woman for 10 of those. I know things are done "pole pole" but does this have to apply to everything? But before I knew it it was time to board my flight to Nairobi (NBO) and despite leaving 25 minutes late we made good time. It wasn't like I was in a rush or anything, My flight to Amsterdam (AMS) isn't until 1055pm tonight.

Knowing how much NBO sucks I had been very interested to hear about how you could go into the first class lounges for $30US. So with all my carry on in hand I marched through the heat of the airport in search of this Oasis I had heard about. I found one near Gate 11. However, I was informed that $30USD would only get me 3 hours worth of air conditioning, wifi and food. To stay until my flight would cost me $60US! I had $45 in my wallet. Crap. So a mad sprint around the airport looking for an ATM ensued all whilst trying not to succumb to the smell of naphthalene nor sprain my ankle in one of the many potholes. I didn't even know what the exchange rate from Kenyan schillings to US dollars was and it was admittedly a tad scary seeing a £ sign pop up with the warning "minimum of £1000 must be withdrawn". I prayed to the Money Gods above that I wasn't about to go horrendously overdrawn and hit enter.

4000 Kenyan schillings and $13US later I am sprawled out on what I suspect is a pleather sofa in a room best describe as having a canteen look & feel about it. The food is finger food and mostly not what I'd eat. There is however an endless supply of free booze which would've been awesome if I was interested, but of course I'm not. Not too long ago myself & almost everyone else in the room were shooting murderous looks at the family who decided to come in with their very loud brat and even louder screaming baby. It was starting to look like the worst $60 (plus commission I've likely been dinged at the ATM) I had ever spent! Thankfully they left after about an hour and just before my head imploded from the noise. A short sharp reminder as to why I do not have kids....

With all that said, the unlimited soft drinks/tea/coffee (despite the ladies washroom is out of order so I have to leave the lounge every time my thimble-sized bladder decides it can hold no more and pee with the rest of Cattle Class), mini cucumber sandwiches (must be a reminant of British rule), air conditioning, movie channel (despite the fact right now there's an artsy Spanish movie playing with a really depressing sounding soundtrack) and free wifi really are priceless when you've such a long layover... Although there has just been an announcement over 2.5 hours early for all passengers of my flight to go to the gate.... *sigh*

Homeward bound!