Nairobi – Day 1
Hello. As you can see, I’m on the road again. This time, I will be piloting ten days of business management training for the owners of private medical practices in Kenya.
I have to say that my travel to Africa this time went exceptionally smoothly. After the experience of paying $1200 to send training materials that could have easily filled one large suitcase- and finding out that I actually could take two bags for free on Delta, I wised up. I’m traveling with two large bags (bright pink and bright blue) that each weighs 50 pounds. In addition, I have my large handbag that could hold a small child (but doesn’t) and my “carry on” with all of the training files, laptop, iPod, camera, iPod station, etc. that probably weighs 40 pounds on its own.
I got expedited treatment at the Madison airport, so I didn’t have to take off my shoes, etc. I just had to put my stuff and my laptop on the conveyer belt. In Detroit, I had no difficulty making my connection to Amsterdam- a 9-hour flight. People are so kind. There is no way that I can lift my carry on over my head to reach the onboard luggage. A young woman actually offered to lift it for me and took it down so many hours later. The same thing happened on the flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi (8 hours).
The woman seated next to me on the first long flight was also going to Nairobi. Her daughter was graduating from her boarding school. Then they would join her husband in the Sudan, where they were building homes.
On the second long flight, I had the window seat in a row of three seats, but there was no one between the gentleman on the aisle and me. It made cramped seats much more comfortable.
It’s interesting how different countries handle security checks. I had to hand over my passport, immunization record- then look into camera, then give them electronic impressions of both of my hands. I kept having to ask the gentleman to repeat what he said because: (1) I have a cold so I’m stuffed up; (2) my ears were still closed from the trip; (3) there was constant loudspeaker voice overs; and (4) I had no idea what he wanted me to do!
I can’t tell you how lucky I am that my dear friend Jerri gave me colorful round happy face tags for my luggage. Standing with hundreds of folks in the Nairobi airport, it made it much easier to find my bags. Again, people were very kind to help me lift the bags.
I was a little nervous going past customs, because they ask if I have anything to declare. I just hope and pray they don’t decide to open up the suitcase filled to the brim with kinesthetic training objects and prizes. I think it might be difficult to persuade them that I’m actually going to use those things with adults in legitimate training sessions- rather than selling them on the black market as children’s toys. But, I think looking old and weary helped- he only asked me if I had anything to declare and I said “no.”
I then pushed the luggage cart outside, where there must have been about 100 people waiting to pick people up, holding up names on signs. At first, I didn’t see my name. But James was there- a young Kenyan born and raised in Nairobi.
Oh, I have to tell you- as we were driving away from the airport, there was a zebra standing on one of the traffic islands! Apparently the game preserve is right next to the airport and some of the animals escape every now and then! What a treat!
James will be my driver for the duration of my stay (2 weeks). He’ll take me anywhere I want to go! I’ve already told him that I’d like to go to an open market for Kenyan crafts and on a safari.
My hotel, the Nairobi Serena Hotel, is 5 star. Fresh fruit in the room, controls that work the lights and thermostat from the bed (!), free Internet, free breakfast, and a huge room. Very nice!
I left Madison at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, November 29tth and arrived at my hotel at 2:30 p.m. CST (11:30 p.m. Kenyan time) on Saturday, November 30th. It’s been a long but not unpleasant haul. I watched movies during the first long flight and read my Nook for the second long flight. I had purchased one of those donut pillows to go around my neck, but it really didn’t do anything for me- and obviously, I didn’t sleep.
I’m looking forward to a long shower and a longer sleep!
More tomorrow, when I’ll find out what my schedule is and where I’ll be training, etc.