It’s strange to think that earlier today I was saying goodbye to my friends at Princeton while now I’m sitting in a hotel in Nairobi.
Although I slept intermittently on the plane, it was by no means the type of sleep that separates the days. The trip to Nairobi (NBO) consisted of a 8 hour flight to Amsterdam (AMS), followed by a 7 hour flight to the Kenyan capital. The amenities on the first flight were awesome: lotion in the bathroom for after you wash your hands; TWO meals (dinner followed by breakfast 3 hours later). The suggested strategy to not be jetlagged was sleeping through the first flight and waking up in the morning in Amsterdam, then staying up for the second flight so that arriving in Nairobi at night, you’re body clock would be ready to sleep again. This is what I should’ve done, but it’s not what happened. Firstly, I drank some caffeine before going on the Transatlantic night flight — BAD IDEA. I stayed up to watch The Trouble with the Curve (not a bad movie, definitely a solid renter) then proceeding to think about an idea for a story about the Hong Kong Flu of 1968 (WIKIPEDIA IT!). For about the last hour of that first flight I was in and out of consciousness, not enough sleep to keep me awake for the second flight. Barely enough to keep me awake in the Amsterdam airport…
Amsterdam was interesting. As we were landing (8 AM) it was pitch black outside. I couldn’t believe it was morning, but I guess higher latitudes means later mornings. I wish it stayed dark later in Princeton so the sun wouldn’t wake me up! THIS IS A FUNNY STORY: As people were disembarking from the plane, a elderly woman who was forced to have her carry on placed in an overhead container far behind where she was actually seated because of space constraints decided to stand in the way of everyone trying to get off until someone brought her the suitcase. Well, some Amsterdamian (that’s their demonym, right?) man would NOT tolerate this type of behavior and after verbally telling the old woman to move, he decided to try to bulldozer her out of the way so he could get off. Both of these people were clearly in the wrong and being totally unreasonable. At first, I was afraid for the safety of the old woman. My classmate Rob and I tried to get him to stop (“Sir, do you really think this is necessary?”) as the flight attendants were notified and rushed over. The funny part is, this man was really trying to rip right through this lady, with NO LUCK. Like a grown man couldn’t push through an old woman. Anyway, walking through that airport was hilarious. Firstly, a group of ~12 American college students walking anywhere generally attracts attention. That fact that we were laughing over the antics on the plane right before didn’t help mask our foreign-ess. But I suppose in an airport, most people are foreign, leaving to go home or stopping just to transfer to somewhere else. Secondly, the loudspeaker amplifying messages throughout the airport spoke Dutch so every time there was an announcement it sounded like someone typed alskhdisofueijlkejrelwjhermsnmnclhsaosidhosureiuelkekansd into Google Translate and had it speak out loud. Again, an impetus to laugh. Caroline and I filled out water bottles earlier and unfortunately had to go through security again to get to our specific gate (why, I have no idea), so we did a water chug. Luckily, I only had 1 L, she had 2.
We were in the Amsterdam airport for about two hours. I never saw Amsterdam. But on the flight to Nairobi from Amsterdam (operated by KLM) I was on the first double decker plane I’ve ever flown (I’m pretty sure). It was AWESOME! Obviously I was not on the second decker because we were flying economy, but just knowing there was more up there was cool. The food was weirder than the previous plane (operated by Delta) and the bathroom had NO LOTION for dry hands. However, their soap dispenser was kind of funny. While sitting on the toilette, you become eye level with the soap dispenser, which happened to have written on it, something like this (paraphrasing): “This is a mandala. It shows us the complexity of the world and reminds us to… RELAX.” HOW APPROPRIATE FOR A BATHROOM! There really wasn’t much to say about this second flight because I was in and out of consciousness for basically all of it. Even some of the meals I half ate because I was starting to pass out. I guess that’s why I’m not tired now (12:30 AM in Kenya). Oh well. Tomorrow we will be up early to go to orientation. In this luxury hotel (actually luxurious, not being sarcastic this time), there’s internet so I’m able to post this blog and check Facebook and Viber people (GOOGLE IT!) I probably won’t be able to do in Mpala (the research centre). Ok… tired now… GOOODNITE.
That’s the summary of my travels to Kenya! Here’s hoping I don’t have DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis; GOOGLE IT!)!