Depart Melbourne – arrive Nairobi.

Posted: 23/07/2011 in Africa

I used to love flying but the novelty has well and truly worn off. Mum and Dad drove me in to the airport and of course Mum was there with her camera chasing after Dad and I. She’d make a great paparazzi except she giggles and tells her camera off! I didn’t have my usual pre trip excitement, I think I just wanted to get there. Long flights are horrible, painful occurrences. All I want is some kind of star trek “beam me up to Africa” machine but I’m not sure where to buy one of those. So came boarding and as I walked through first and business class I looked longingly at the big cocoon like seats they get to sit in that also stretch out into mini beds. It would be like sleeping in a giant egg without the squishiness of the yolk. An egg that serves you delicious meals and entertains you with a massive TV. So really I don’t just want a beam me up to Africa machine but also a giant egg to sleep in. Anyway, suffice to say emirates are really nice to fly with. The seats a pretty roomy and comfy and the service good. I’m a seat back girl, except during meals, and the lady behind me wasn’t too happy with that as she wanted to sleep with her head on the table. Every time I went to put it back she would become a little (lot) vocal and give my chair a few good whacks. She spoke no English and I spoke no whatever she spoke so it was an interesting but pointless conversation. In the end the chair went back! The chair will always go back, unless you like sitting in a forwards semi-recumbent, hunchback position which just makes you weird!

24 hours later I arrive at Nairobi, hurrah! And it is warm, even bigger hurrah!! I get through passport control ok, spend a worrying 20 minutes watching bag after bag except mine come through the carousel. Bag finally collected, I head to customs clearance and wonder why we didn’t get any declaration car. Well apparently they do exist. I had wondered why everyone was standing around tables in passport control writing and methinks they were actually filling out declaration forms. Oops, no wonder I didn’t have to queue for long! So Im standing at customs declaration and there is the things to declare line and the nothing to declare line. Im trying to figure out if I have anything to declare but without having filled in a checklist I don’t know what I am supposed to actually declare. This is concerning, after all I’m carrying half a pharmacy! The guy in the things to declare area waves me over and asks me if I have anything to declare, I tell him I don’t know, he asks if I filled in a form, I say what form (that’s when it clicks about the tables and people writing in passport control), he shows me the form and I think well can’t you just give me that form and I’ll fill it out but then he starts asking some other questions. I have a bad record with customs clearance. Last time I came back to oz my suitcase was jammed packed with stuff. I was in the declare line and said to the lady to be careful opening my bag as it might explode, meaning, of course, with clothes. I obviously am an unlikely terrorist because with my extremely quick and apologetic explanation she let it pass with a smile. Sometimes I just need to not speak! So back to Nairobi, the customs guy ended up waving through and wishing me a nice holiday.

I walk into the airport foyer looking for my driver. The hotel specified that he will have a sign that has my hotel written in green on it, my name and he should be wearing a hotel badge. Plus his name should be one of the ones on the email sent by the hotel. Well I see a guy with no badge on, holding a sign with fairveiw hotel written on it but not in green and under it is the name Melissa Sutherland. I ask his name, it’s not on my list. I show him the list and he says one of the guys couldn’t do the job and rang him but the guy who rang him isn’t even on my list. I ask if he has a badge, he says it’s in the car. So he has a badge, but not on him, the hotel is written on the board but not in green, half of my name only is on there and he’s not one of the listed drivers. At what point do you go from caution to paranoia? Silently praying, I feel a peace about it and follow him out to the car where he shows me his badge. In I get…..

The roads are crazy and round abouts should actually be called where ever you want to go abouts. Literally they were driving at right angles in front of each other. It was worse than the arc de Triomphe. Most cars stay in the inner lanes and my guess was It was due to the numerous motorbikes and groups of men standing by the side of the road. Potential carjackers? A nickname given to Nairobi is night robbery and yay, its night! Cars that were broken down, and there were many, just stayed where they broke down, no pushing to the side of the road and no hazard lights. We eventually head off the main road and up these dark, isolated back streets. Breathe, breathe…. It’s about the 20 minute mark which is how long the hotel had said takes to get to them from the airport and out of the blue we arrive at a gate welcoming us to the fairview hotel. I have never loved a sign more! I have to say though, the drive to the hotel was a mix of calm and anxiety. Every time panic surged peace would follow, I could almost hear the words “it’s ok”. I didn’t have that sense of dread one should possibly have and I reckon had he have been dodgy and not the hotel driver I would have felt that dread and not gotten in the car. God looks after me in even the little ways!

It’s a gorgeous hotel with beautiful gardens and my room is spacious and comfy. Shower and bed, after all I’ve been awake for 52 hours. Yep even on the plane I only dozed. I wake this morning at 7am after a decent enough sleep. I don’t feel any tireder than i do working permanent nights which is slightly worrying! The good thing I suppose about shift work is that I don’t feel jet lag, maybe because that’s just a normal feeling for me. Today is just a lazy recovery day before the pre tour meeting tonight and the start of my amazing 55 day adventure!

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mel, so glad you arrived safely! It sounds hilarious already. Miss you Jane T, Al says hi too! xx

  2. jane Thompson says:

    Hi Mel, glad to hear you got their safely, although it doesn’t sound like the experience felt that way. Hope you are feeling better. Thought I had posted you a comment the other day but I obviously didn’t do it right! Al says hi 🙂 We’re all waiting to hear how your going, it sounds hilarious already x

  3. Michelle Harding says:

    Loved reading this,so patsy!!!

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