Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi
When I checked out, the gentleman at the desk asked if my stay was pleasant and when they would see me again. The porter, the concierge all wished me well and asked when I would be returning. They do this for everyone and it is very gracious. I wish I had an answer.
I’ve never used the lobby bathroom. It was immaculate, with a huge bunch of fresh roses in a vase. I took photos of the amazing yellow lily floral arrangements. It is really a very beautiful and gracious hotel.
I left my luggage with the bellman and went outside to walk around, take some photos and then just sit reading, since I was in the room working all day. It was actually quite chilly, with a cool breeze. It has been unseasonably cold here, which I’ve probably mentioned before.
While waiting for James to pick me up, a newly wed couple arrived. She was absolutely exquisite in a white wedding dress with a huge scarlet rose-like decoration and black net small hat over her left forehead. She also wore a black scarf draped around her neck. I didn’t want to be an ugly American and take her photo. Her groom was very dapper in a suite and purple tie.
As we drove toward the airport, I saw these huge birds that I remembered from my last visit. Probably a hundred storks were either flying, in the trees or on the buildings. Pretty spectacular.
A bevy of nuns in white gowns and white headscarves crossed the road.
We had to go through two security checks before we could drive up to the terminal. James grabbed a luggage cart and kindly pushed it to the terminal. There, I had to immediately take out my laptop and put everything on a conveyer belt for screening. Past that, I schlepped the two big suitcases and my carry on back onto the luggage cart. The bags are appreciably lighter (particularly since all of the candy is gone), but they are still heavy.
Next, I tried to check in with my passport at a kiosk. It wouldn’t recognize my passport. They called a security guy over, who tried and failed with the passport. So I entered my ticket number but it wouldn’t give me my boarding pass.
So, on to an airport representative who handled everything. It was certainly less difficult and crazy than my experience at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. However, since they only issue the ticket to Amsterdam, I’ll probably have to go to a transfer station to get my Delta boarding passes and deal with my luggage when I get there.
Next, I had to show my passport again to a woman who clearly doesn’t like her job. No greeting, no words, no acknowledgment. She essentially threw my ticket back to me and then my passport after she stamped it. I thought of saying something that might cheer her up and decided against it. She was definitely in a bad mood.
I’m here, it’s 7:30 p.m. and my flight doesn’t leave until 10:25 p.m. I have no idea why James thought he should pick me up four hours before my flight!! It made for a very leisurely trip through check in, but I think this is really over the top. I’ve brought a banana and orange from the hotel, but I’m sure I’ll have to break down and purchase water and something else to eat. I’m hungry just thinking about it!
You hear every language imaginable and see people in all sorts of native dress. I don’t know what nationality the guys in long white robes are. They must be Arab, I now recall seeing similarly garbed men when I was in Jordan. Their robes go to the floor.
There are some people wearing masks. Some misguided preventative Ebola measure would be my first guess.
Arab, French, American, English, Asian, Indian, African in native dress and in very stylish European dress. Young and old, wheel chaired and ambulatory. All shapes and sizes. International airports are fascinating. You can immediately tell the Americans because many of them are wearing shorts or short shorts (the women, not the men so far). They are the only ones in shorts (unless I’ve mistaken Australians for Americans). Everyone else is dressed much less casually.
Although I sit corrected. A group of young men and women just passed me, all in print harem pants. Is that a new fad? Hmm, I notice young women wearing print pants. Something they picked up shopping here, possibly? Yup, I just saw a young woman wearing the same flowing pants with African symbols and pictures of elephants.
I’m wearing long pants, a sleeveless blouse and a long sleeve blouse over it. I have my hoodie in my carry on. It gets very very cold on these long flights. I can bet I will see these folks bundled in blankets halfway through the flight.
The seats are very very hard. I’ll read and then walk, and alternative those activities until my flight boards.
There are a lot of duty-free shops, mostly selling perfume and small bags of chocolate candy. I’m tempted, having experienced chocolate withdrawal this trip. There is a type of open table restaurant at the very end, but I’m not sure I feel that adventurous.