Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kenya, East Africa Day 2: By way of Air

This kind of traveling is not without it's share of anxiousness and anxiety. Anxious to get there but worried if all is going to unfold according to plan. So far so good I shall say!

As soon as I sat in my aisle seat of the Boeing 747 in Montreal, it dawned on me: I'm too big for those seats hence the word "economy class". If you save financially you have to suffer the consequences of the discomfort. As I got used to my tight quarters and the view of the head rest of the seat in front, the discomfort made room to excitement... which lead to discomfort again a short while after!

Finally I reached Amsterdam's Schipol Airport to find out my next flight was on time and so I proceeded to the gate and waited the scheduled 2 hours that were separating the two flights. As I looked around me I realized that fewer white people were of the trip to Nairobi. The flight, also covered by KLM, went really well, maybe I was getting accustomed to such tight places for long periods of time? Or was it the fact that one of the flight attendant realized the over-proportioned size of my body in relation to the narrow space of the seating area which was further restricted by the fact that the woman in front of me decided to lean her seat, and so the attendant relocated me to an emergency exit where I had plenty of leg room? Whatever it was the flight went by pretty fast.

The anxiety kicked in once more when time came to pick up my luggage, was it going to be there? Would the person I was supposed to meet at the airport also be there regardless of the fact it took me 45 minutes to go through customs? Like Tom Petty said: "...things we worry about, never happen anyways..." And so he was right for all went according to plan again. I never thought I would be so happy to see someone I didn't know at all come pick me up at the airport with a big sign that said:" Allanah's Group".

Abdul was wearing a tuque and a winter coat of some sort of pro sports team I cannot remember. For the Kenyans it is winter in July yet I was very comfortable with my shorts and t-shirt and thought the 14 degrees celcius temperature to be quite comfortable. Abdul took me in the heart of Nairobi, which I saw nothing of because it was already dark, to the Dowtown Hotel. First realization you are somewhere else is when you see the hotel room! I then had to eat something and crossed the street to the karaoke/restaurant/bar place.

I was sitting there with all the local people yet I could not help but to feel completely alone. I think it was the first time in my life I could really say that I knew what it meant to be a minority, and it's not a good feeling! Now I understand much more...


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