I’m happy to say that I’ve arrived safely in Nairobi after a very interesting (and very long) trip. If I learn nothing else from this experience, I have a feeling that I’m going to realize that all the planning in the world isn’t as useful as being flexible and rolling with the punches (those of you who know me already know those aren’t exactly my biggest strengths).
As I mentioned in the last post, I decided that flying through Europe was too risky right now so I gave up my precious business class seats and took a more complex itinerary so I would be “sure” that the trip would go smoothly. That lasted all of two hours until I landed in Phoenix and learned that my flight to JFK was delayed an hour due to an oil leak. Once we finally got near the airport, we spent 20 minutes flying in circles and another 20 minutes waiting for a gate. By the time I got off the plane, my flight to Cairo was about 20 minutes away from departing.
Carrying a 20 lb. backpack and my computer bag, I took off in a full sprint to get out of terminal 7, onto a train to get me to the international terminal, and then my gate in terminal 4. When I got to the security checkpoint, literally drenched with sweat, I was told the flight was locked and I’d have to wait until the next day. After about 5 minutes of begging and pleading, someone from the Egyptian embassy happened to overhear me and came to my rescue. He somehow convinced them to let me through (I don’t know how, but I wasn’t going to question it). So I made it on, but sadly my suitcase didn’t have the same luck. I’m hoping it’s en route and we’ll be reunited tomorrow.
The last interesting piece I’ll mention for now is the layover in Cairo. I had a 10 hour layover and assumed I was in for a long afternoon, when the Egypt Air transfer desk agent asked if I wanted to go to the hotel. Confused, I kept trying to explain that my flight was that evening and I didn’t need a hotel. As it turns out, in Cairo, if you have a long layover, they’ll put you on a shuttle bus to a regular hotel, give you a voucher for lunch and dinner at the hotel restaurant, and check you into a room for the afternoon so you can shower and relax… and it’s all free! I will say I was disappointed to hear the Egyptian hotel pianist playing Celine Dion, but otherwise it was a pretty amazing experience.
I’m heading into Nairobi now, but I’ve put some other pictures up on Flickr. So far the internet access is good, but we’ll see how it is when I get to the village. I’m happy that despite a few bumps, I’ve made it to Kenya without any major problems. I can’t wait to get to Kiminini so I can get to work.