Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Only 48 Hours? On The Road To Pemba...The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

After a solid two days of travelling on minimal sleep over three continents with countless plane meals and crying babies, we arrived in Pemba on Saturday night.  To sum up those 48 hours, I flew from Winnipeg to Toronto; met up with Riaz to fly together to London; found Ashlea and spent the afternoon in downtown London; flew to Nairobi and spent a full day in the city; flew to Pemba for a night arrival.  Jet lag is starting to rear its head.


Let me start with the Good…
-Having the bulkhead seats on the two long flights = extra leg room for the woman with the shortest legs on the plane (except for the baby who sat beside Riaz and cried for 7 hours straight).
-Successfully finding Ashlea in Heathrow airport and then being toured through London by Louise for the whole afternoon, including witnessing preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Kenya Airways - Pride of Africa


-Flying on Kenya Airways – forget the French on Air Canada, I will take Kiswahili as the second in-flight language any day plus the boarding playlist of Miriam Makeba, Paul Simon's Graceland, and the Jambo song. 
-Figuring out that lines for Kenyan visa services were more of a “suggestion” than a rule but also recognizing that the people watching and amazingly different outfits made it worth the crowded wait in the mob of travellers.
Nairobi National Park
Watching baboons at a watering hole


-Being met at baggage claim in Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi by Riaz’s friends who hosted us at their lovely home with a full Indian breakfast.  We then moved on to Nairobi National Park where we saw lions climb trees, baboons get territorial, albino zebras and white rhinos, and giant buffalo.  No real fences between us and the animals and as if that was not enough for our layover, we also got up close and personal at a giraffe sanctuary.
Sunset over Kenya
First time on Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique

-Landing in Pemba and walking off the tarmac to beautiful weather and the airport policewoman in a lime green sarong and head wrap.  Then making it through customs with all baggage in hand and finally showering, brushing my teeth, and sleeping horizontally for the first time in too long.
Now the Bad and the Ugly…

-Almost missing 3 of the 4 flights due to
1) A delay in Winnipeg which caused me to sprint in a hot sweat through the Toronto airport while hearing my and Riaz’s name called for final boarding 
2) Spending a little too much time in Piccadilly Circus before getting on an overcrowded and humid tube ride which left us running, action movie style, to the train which took us to our terminal and then sweetly smiling our way into the “invitation only” express line at security
3) Nairobi traffic - apparently it was “good” that day.  I am still unsure as to how sitting in the same spot for 15 minutes, moving a metre, and then stopping again is good.  Nor am I sure of my decision making process when I, with an infamously delicate intestinal system, chose to indulge in a giant Indian breakfast before sitting in said traffic.
-My TV on the London to Nairobi leg did not work.  But who needed official in-flight entertainment when a girl pukes in front of you just before a near brawl between two mothers in the next row about whose fat arm was covering whose TV controls?
-Putting my bag (carrying all of my electronics and medications) at one end of the conveyor belt at security in Nairobi’s airport and then not having it come through to the other side.  This caused a bit of panic as I tried to convey via hand messages (my Kiswahili is rusty) that my bag was stolen.  Who knew an x-ray machine cannot detect when a bag has been put on the belt crookedly and gets stuck in the corner of the machine?  Isn’t that an x-ray’s job?  To know what is inside of something else?  After discovering it (with a few tears and a hug from Riaz), I was on my way again!
Nairobi to Pemba
Sunset and mountain range
It continues to amaze me how I can wake up in Winnipeg one morning, land in London the next, and watch the sunrise in Nairobi before sleeping in Mozambique that night.  On those inevitable days when I wonder why I chose to go so far away, I will just think of what a small world it actually is.

Kenyan  mountains in the sun
Albino zebra

White rhinoceros
Thanks to whoever told me to climb a tree if chased by a lion
(but apparently this is very rare)

Giraffe Sanctuary-cue the "Circle of Life"

Up close and personal
More lounging lions

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