Welcome to Belle and Steve's Excellent Adventure!
We are pleased to announce that since both Steve and I will be contributing to this blog, we will write in two different colors. I will write in violet and Steve will write in blue. Hope this works out and doesn't entirely confuse everyone. Anyway, let's get this party started!
Steve and I started our trip at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, September 17th at EconoLodge in Dar es Salaam. Our bags were packed and under the weight limit, and we got in our taxi to the airport at 1:30 a.m. It was quiet on the road, not a single other car in sight, and the air was cool - not AT ALL what anyone would say to describe Dar on a normal day. Then again, this was very late at night and it was getting to be at the tail end of winter in Tanzania. We arrived at the airport at 1:45 a.m. and the waiting began.
Our flight wasn't until 5:10 a.m., but we wanted to be at the airport early for check-in (3 hours prior to departure time for international flights) and I had not anticipated it taking only 15 minutes to get there. Oh well, what's a few minutes of waiting in a nice cool airport with electricity and easily accessible bathrooms. It was better than our normal mode of transport in Tanzania - hot, crowded buses with no bathrooms. We checked in at around 2:30 a.m., bummed around for a couple hours and boarded our plane right on time. The flight path was Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, a three hour layover and a short flight from Nairobi to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, our first destination. We were tired and excited to start our trip so we didn't get any sleep before our flight, but we had high spirits once our bellies were full of fresh-ish croissants and rolls lathered in butter and jam. Little did we know that our excellent attitudes would be dampened shortly.
Once we landed in Nairobi, the nightmare started...
It wasn't the 42 consecutive hours without sleep. It wasn't the additional 5 1/2 hour layover in Nairobi. It wasn't the superfluous evening excursion to Djibouti. Heck, it wasn't even the fact that we had lost one of our precious seven days in Ethiopia to the joys of airport waiting areas and stationary plane cabins. No, in spite of all of these "highly regretted" inconveniences, the thing that really caused my first emotion carried into Ethiopia to be one of anger was the fact that there wasn't a single Kenya Airways employee at the service desk in Addis to and from whom I could complain and demand free stuff, respectively.
Anyone who's served two (or three) years in the Peace Corps can tell you that their experience has given them a heightened sense of patience and greater tolerance when dealing with adverse situations. Some of them may also tell you that while that's happening, you can still get really, really, really frustrated and annoyed at said situations. Granted, in this case sleep deprivation was a key player, and, in truth, there were some positives to be taken from the whole experience, such as:
1. An opportunity to use the 5-Hour Energy I'd been sitting on for nearly two years;
2. A chance to begin our trip-long, first-to-10,000 game of Rummy;
3. An unexpected excuse to rip off lame Djibouti puns ("There sure is a lot going on in Djibouti at this hour." ...);
4. And let's not forget our amusement of watching non-PCV foreigners getting vehemently vocal towards everyone around them.
So as we ventured out of the airport into the darkened city of Addis Ababa, I decided to check my negativity at the gate and once again open myself up to the excitement of beginning our excellent adventure.
And the crazy part of it all, as I was thinking about how we would write our first blog post, was that I couldn't help but think how strange that all of this was happening with Kenya Airways seeing as their logo is a CIRCLE K. I wish I was making this up.
For those of you who are not familiar with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, go watch it and you will understand.