We are getting there everyone! The day flight from Heathrow to Nairobi was right on schedule and we slipped over the equator and slid into Nairobi under a crescent moon for an on-time arrival. Very uneventful for those wanting a drama blog post. However, there is still fun stuff below, so keep reading. And for my AbFab followers is this the best safety announcement or what video.https://followthezebras.com/wp-content/uploads/img_8006.mov
I always enjoy walking off the plane straight into the ambient atmosphere of the new location- as opposed to immediately scurrying through rabbit warren hallways and immense immigration halls ending in the baggage claim catacombs that so many airports have today. Nairobi delighted me from the outset.
The BA flight opened its doors and out we went, down the steps, under the sky of the southern hemisphere, and onto the waiting bus for a quick journey to the immigration hall. I was struck by the modern and utilitarian design of the hall – uncomplicated cement floors, clean off-white steel trusses, wires tucked neatly into grey conduit, and very useful canvas placards hung from the trusses directing us into the proper chute. I later learned it was actually a pre-fab German building installed a few years ago. Well, all I can say is it was the BEST immigration experience I have had, in say, 264,000 frequent flyer miles. And a huge nod to the E-visa system I managed from the comfort of my office a world away that plopped me into a once-in -a-lifetime fastest moving line.
The drama continued as the immigration officer smiled and was very patient with my seeming inability to figure my left from my right hand when scanning my fingerprints! (Although I attribute this to a bit of excitement and exhaustion, I have just read that a professor at Drexel University has data that suggest one in five people have a problem in identifying left from right, who knew?). And just like that I wandered into the baggage hall, acquired a free push-cart, picked up my waiting bag, and exited into the typical throng of people waiting for freshly arrived passengers.
The morning light popped into the hotel room and I was off for the last ‘business’ of the trip before my toe-to-hoof with the zebras would officially begin. I had the pleasure and privilege to spend some time listening and conversing with the next gen of Kenyan leaders. Thoughtful, emotive, practical, creative – you name it – I was impressed. It is surely an exciting time to be working and growing in East Africa! And remember, I will be back 😉
The afternoon saw me back at the Airport and headed to the next country – Tanzania. And, for those worried about my possible latent left-right dilemma, rest assured I mastered the learning curve because one must present your hand again for scanning upon exit – immigration officer said right hand and BINGO I was off to the departure lounges.
Over the decades of travel I have catalogued a few observations as one leaves the more heavily populated areas and heads towards remote locations. The two basic ones are the electric poles and lines have a smaller diameter and fewer cables and the airplane engines start to look suspiciously close to VW beetle engines. As we walked along the tarmac to the PrecisionAir flight I spied a twin turbo-prop. Not the RR of BA, but good enough for the 45 minute flight over the boarder and around Mt. Kilimanjaro.
And so, another uneventful flight customer service wise… however, seeing the sliver of the highest peak of Kilimanjaro escape the clouds for a few seconds, and it was even with my shoulder was pretty cool. You will have to zoom, but here is your peek peak.
As we banked southwest and came in on final, it was my first Tanzanian, ‘Haven’t seen that before’ moment. Typical approaches to airports are over water, sand, commercial buildings, not something that really catches your eye- or lodges in your memory. However, as I was wondering what crops and livestock were below I noticed some thatched roofs apart from the metal clad ones we had just passed over. And then, just like that, I saw a brightly colored robe draped over the shoulders and flowing behind the speedy herder. I am pretty sure it was the Shuka of the Maasai that caught my eye. And then more cattle caught my eye, and a stack of kindling wood perched atop a woman’s head. And then we were on the ground. It finally dawned on me that this was going to be one cool spot and why in the world people were reading my blog instead of being with me I would never know 😉 Oh, here is a shot of the sign that greeted me while my ear temperature and health card was being checked…
Once again immigration, baggage claim, and transport to the hotel was suspiciously easy. And I am now 2 for 3 with getting my left and right, well, right! It is a touch after 10pm and apparently there is a lake outside my room… so I will wait for O’dark thirty and see what drama i can stir up on my first morning in Tanzania… and the final leg to trot with the Zebras!
PS I noticed on arrival at the hotel many options for activities – birdwatching, hiking, boating, orphanage, and Polish graveyard. The last one was a brow furrower for me. So check out this amazing bit of history about Poland’s ties to this little piece of Tanzania. I wish I had time to stop by… next trip. The words marking the spot seem so relevant in today’s world, a quote by Polish author Adam Mickiewicz reads: “If I forget about them — you, God in heaven, forget about me,” . Polish Graveyard.