ADDENDUM - The Maasai people drink blood mixed with milk, not water. What was I thinking?
AFRICA - November 4th, 2009 – 1ST Day in Africa
Flying to Dubai from JFK took over eleven hours and that did not include the three hours we had to be at the airport prior to departure. Considering I didn’t sleep the night before from just plain anxiety I was tired before I even got to the airport. We met four of the folks that would be on our tour at the gate. There were a total of 16 people in our tour group.
I must tell you about Emirates Airlines. I used to love to fly, but since 9/11 it is a hassle to say the least. By the time you take off your shoes, your belt, your jacket, and put everything into bins you are already exhausted, and that doesn’t include the long line you had to stand on to wait to for the pleasure to get undressed and redressed. It seems I am always the one they want to do an extra check on my luggage. I love getting pulled aside and your luggage ravaged. Gee! I always thought I had an innocent face. Now getting to Emirates – WOW! The Boeing 777 is a state of the arts aircraft, absolutely outstanding. The seats in coach are comfortable and you don’t feel packed in like a sardine. Each seat has it’s own video screen with sports, movies, T.V. shows, and music to select from. The seats actually recline, not like the pretend reclining seats on our domestic flights. They give you blankets, pillows, and earphones – free – imagine that. The service was great; the flight attendants were personable and extremely courteous. They actually smile like they love their job. When the lights go down the ceiling of the aircraft lights up like stars. You can also track your flight from the cockpit on one of the many channels of your very own TV screen. Oh, and all wine and drinks are free for those who like to have a cocktail before dinner, during, or after dinner.
After landing in Dubai we boarded an A20 Airbus to Nairobi. It took another 5 ½ hours until we reached Nairobi. At this point I was so tired all I wanted was to be back home. From the air Nairobi looked very crowded, speckled with green trees. After deplaning the aircraft and looking for our luggage and guide there was mass confusion. We finally found our driver, Samuel, and he had a huge smile on his face and seemed so happy to see us… just like we were old friends.
Driving to our hotel was an adventure in itself. The fumes from the cars made me think of being a kid going through the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City before our country had catalytic converters. I thought I would suffocate before I got to the hotel. It was also rush hour and the traffic was crazy. The hotel was only eleven miles from the airport, but it took us over an hour to get there. Cows and goats were just hanging out on the sides of the road and people would just walk across the road in the middle or in between cars with no regard for life or limb, to cross the street. I have driven in Mexico, but I never feared hitting a cow or a goat. This was insane! MORE TO FOLLOW…