Thursday, February 25, 2010

Traveling to Kenya

Once again I’ve made it safely across the ocean, over Europe, and south to Nairobi, Kenya. This being my third trip, there’s a sense in which it feels like a normal thing to do. For instance, I realized yesterday I have a routine for Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Double check the connecting flight and gate number and actually walk there. The lounge area on the second floor is quietest and the lighting is dim. Go there for a nap. If the layover is too short for a nap, go to the art gallery and gallery gift shop. Then walk, walk, walk, because the next flight is just as long as the last one, and if your legs are tired you’ll look forward to a long sit.

The layovers were just right this time – about three hours in Detroit and three in Amsterdam. No rush even if the plane arrives late (everything was on time), but not a long wait either.

First thing upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, all visitors must apply for Single Journey Visas. The lines are slow and long and in a part of the airport that has low ceilings, no ventilation, no windows, and somewhat poor lighting, making for a shocking introduction to the warm climate. The pilot had told us that the temperature was 75 outside, and I couldn’t wait to get out of the airport and breathe the night air.

Once through the visa line, which includes a $25 fee and getting my picture taken, I was free to get my luggage. One more inspection, and free to go. I was asked questions, but as far as I know, my suitcases were never opened.

Pr. Isaiah Obare and James, the driver, were waiting to greet me, and I spent the first night at the Obare’s home, because the Luther Guest House was fully booked.

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