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to US dollars was and it was admittedly a tad scary seeing a £ sign pop up with the warning "minimum of £1000 must be withdrawn".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!

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