The faithful have seen the photo-blog I did of the Africa trip. Today I thought I’d add some words. Just snippets of this and that. Little things that you might find amusing. Some of these moments were not so amusing as they happened. Others were hysterical.
I packed the night before. I don’t mean I put carefully considered pre-folded and organized things into my rolling duffle. I mean I started from scratch and packed about 10 p.m. for a 6 a.m. airport run. I did have a medical kit ready to go because the travel medicine clinic made sure I had one when I got my shots. What makes this frightening is that unlike other road trips, there is no Target around the corner.
The long flight time is expected. I brought plenty of things to amuse myself: sock knitting, quilting magazines, contracted books to edit, a travel diary, quilting magazines, DVD’s, Angry Birds… But my sister, who is heroically raising her two young grandsons, doesn’t get much adult TV time. Flights this long always have plenty of TV programming. I think she watched every movie and every television show loaded onto the plane’s hard drive. She doesn’t get out much, which explains why I could hear her laughing *through* my headset. Her new nickname is Giddy McGiggles. She woke up people in first class. (Hint: we weren’t IN first class.)
This was a private safari, but some friends of my Uncle’s were accompanying us. I hadn’t met them and Amsterdam was my first chance to meet them. Lovely people. Two “sets” of them. One was a lovely family of five. The dad is an adventure traveler. He had packed the entire family in ONE large rolling duffle. I’m not kidding. That bag will forever be known to me as the clown car of luggage. (clothes just kept coming out it with no end in sight) The other family of three (mom, grown son and fiancee) had an entire Rover of camera equipment. The son and fiancee are now working in Hollywood. Their schedule was: go to Africa, move to LA on March 1st, arrive for interview at the American Film Institute and immediately begin work on big budget movies. Darned if they didn’t do it.
Meanwhile, I have a new camera I’m not entirely sure I know how to work. (If you saw the photo blog, you know that I did manage to read the manual.) Adventure traveler guy is all excited and he whips out his. Camera! Geez, focus. Adventure dude has just bought a camera you put on the windshield of the vehicle to get “the road ahead.” A very adventure thing to do, no?
One of the places you change planes is Amsterdam. Everyone (but me) was very bummed that we didn’t have a three hour lay-over during business hours. You see, that’s the minimum amount of time you need to leave the airport, drive to an establishment serving the “special brownies” and get back to the airport. My sister had a map and directions…just in case.
But the plane took off as scheduled. Didn’t really land as scheduled though. The plane had a mechanical so we spent an extra 8 hours of flight time going from airport to airport. The Kilimanjaro airport is apparently not a hot bed of mechanical help, so we skipped them, landed in Nairobi, then went to Dar es Salem and finally into JAR (Kilimanjaro). At one point, Sis in her bears-no-resemblance-to-an-inside-voice sat bolt upright and said, “OH MY GOD. I’M GOING TO MELT.” She’s very hot natured is my sis. Ever had everyone on a plane stare at you? What really sold her outburst was the way she flapped the front of her shirt up and down. About three minutes later the flight attendants began serving what can only be described as “Placation Ice Cream.” My sister’s container (like you got in school?) was missing its spoon. I tried not to laugh.
Then, once we’d arrived at our destination, we waited in line with 300 other tourists at 4 a.m. in the morning while TWO people processed our visas. You have to buy the VISA in the airport once you get to Africa.
I thought the heat of everyone in a very small room (resembled a sardine can) was making me a little sick. I was glad to get out of there. Then we went to a hotel to change clothes for the half-day DRIVE to the first safari location. *Remember that we’d just been on a plane for 24 hours.) At the “hotel,” I thought the unfamiliar smell of some African flowers was making me queasy. At breakfast, I thought I’d best just push the food around my plate. I picked at an omelet and ate a half a piece of plain bread. About thirty minutes down the road, traveling in our three vehicle caravan, I stopped kidding myself and had the driver pull over. PRONTO. I flung the door open before the jeep had even stopped and proceeded to blow chunks right out the door. I believe I now hold the African velocity and distance records in all bile categories. And I narrowly missed killing a guy on a motorcycle by flinging the door open in front of him just as he tried to cut around our car using the shoulder of the road. (There is some disagreement on whether I actually threw up on him as well.)
What would make this more awesome? We were in jeep/rover # 2. The adventure dude with the high-speed action, forward-facing, windshield-mounted camera was in vehicle # 3. Right behind us.
I threw up for 5 more hours. But safaris wait for no man. Or woman. Drive. Stop. Throw-up. Drive again. Even with being so sick, I missed only the first afternoon’s game drive.
I’m what they call a “trouper.” Are you? Can you tough it out or is that a sure way to keep you sicker longer?