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Welcome to Africa

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

We left Rome on not the most direct route you could take to get to Africa. We Went Rome-Milan-Dubai-Nairobi. In Dubai we had a 10 hour layover and best of all we arrived there at midnight so it was a night of no sleep. Dubai Airport however is one of the nicest airports I have ever seen. There is a shopping mall  and even at 2am was packed with people shopping. I guess Dubai has a lot of long layovers because there were people sleeping all over the place, hundreds of people. Add the muslim women walking around totally covered up except there eyes and you have plenty of people watching for one night.  We also got a free breakfast compliments of our airline because we had such a long lay-over…sweet!!!

At 10am we flew to Nairobi for the final 5 hour leg of our journey. Luckily, Emerites Airlines is one of the nicest airlines I have ever flown so we spent our time watching movies and eating great airplane food. Little did we know the fun hadnt even begun when we landed and exited the plane. The first thing we needed to do was get Kenyan shillings from the ATM. Well, in Africa everything doesn’t quite work all the time and the ATM in the terminal wasn’t working. So without U.S currency we had no way to pay the $100 fee for our visas so we could exit the airport. With thoughts of the movie “the Terminal” creeping into our minds, I began to get frazzled trying to figure out a way to get money. We approached the Customs guy and told him our dilema and luckily they are much more laid back here and he told us, no problem, theres an ATM outside, go get your money, I’ll hold the passports and your wife as ransom. So I ran out the airport to the ATM and took out my wallet to get my ATM card. My heart sank when I realized I somehow either dropped the card in the terminal or left it in the machine that didn’t work. I ran back to the airport and then I had to explain to the security guy why I had no passport, no money and why I had to go back into the airport. Again, thank god things are more laid back here and he let me in. Then I had to tell Christy what a moron I was and that we may never see our way out of this airport again. I ran back to the ATM that didn’t work and of course the card was gone. So then I pictured some guy buying thousands of dollars worth of stuff on my card. More horror, I quickly found a phone and called home to my mom where it was 4am and sure enough she thought it would be me and something terrible happened. So I got her to cancel my card as I ran back to the customs guy who by now thought I was a crazed American and wasn’t sure I should enter his country regardless. With more persuasion he let me go outside the airport again using Christy’s ATM card this time and finally we got money and got through customs. Oh, but the stories not over yet.

So we go to baggage claim and there are no bags to be seen and everyone from our flight it long gone. We ask the lady in charge and she just kind of shrugs her shoulders and tells us to go talk to someone else. We find the lost baggage department which is a lady in a desk with a computer from the 80’s. She enters our tag numbers and says the computer isn’t working right now and to give us her name and number and she’ll call us when she finds out something. Which in Africa translates to, I will do nothing as soon as you walk out of this airport and you will never see your bags again. So right when all hope is lost a worker comes up to us and asks if were missing 3 bags. It’s still up for debate, but Christy swears that I kissed the guy, I dont think I did though.  He said our bags were on the wrong turn-style.  Anyway, we were soooo happy as we grabbed our bags and headed for the taxi stand. Welcom to Africa!