Safari Journal Part 4
9-12-00 I just missed the flight to Kilimanjaro. After an eight hour flight that does not make me feel good. The person who is giving information to travelers is surrounded by passengers, vultures if you will. If they would just let me up there I could find out what to do and I wouldn’t despise them so much. The lady who has magically transformed into an information booth decides to yell out the instructions, probably so that she can breathe.
I look down at my waist to see if udders have grown because I feel an awful lot like cattle right now. I hear transfer desk six. I take off. I’m at least four times faster than any of those people on the flat escalator. Feeling pretty good about my speed and agility (not quite the OJ commercial but close) I see a big yellow sign with T6 on it. Sweet success is mine. After further inspection, I realize that I do have udders and I am one of 600 people waiting to get to the front of the line. If you have never traveled in Europe you don’t know that these people are ruthless. Every time you look up you see a new person in front of you. They don’t care how long you’ve been waiting. They just went to the café, got a cup of espresso and smoked a cigarette and then waited until you looked down at your ticket and poof there they are right in front of you. Is that were the term dirty Europeans came from? Obviously not, judging by the scent coming from my left.
I’m finally at the front of the line. I have to what! I cannot believe what I am hearing. So where is the KLM main office? I just waited in line for an hour. Well, I’m sorry that you can’t help me either. Jesus Christ! Traveling makes you fluent in biblical terms. What you will read next takes about 10 hours but I will shorten it to save you from seeing my hostility. Waiting in another line. No flights to Kilimanjaro. Nairobi is in Kenya I’m going to Tanzania. The best you can do? You don’t have very high standards. How can you smile at me through all of this? Well of course I have eight extra hours to fly into a different country, try and find transportation to cross the border, and then try and find my safari group. No really it’s ok, I think better after experiencing sleep deprivation. Moo.
9-13-00 Africa finally. I’m not in the right country but I’m closer. I wonder where my luggage is because it certainly is not circling around the carousel. I have been bruised about three times from the unappreciative people pulling their bags off the moving attitude adjuster. I call it that because my mood is changing so quickly. Is that a yellow duffel? Hope. Not mine. Depression. I think I see it. Hope again. Not mine either. Depression again. Two weeks camping will be such a lovely experience without my soap, toilet paper and clothes. I shouldn’t have packed anything, live off the land. Why didn’t I think of this before? Nothing to carry around, no decisions about what to wear and no dirty laundry to wash when I return. I guess I should move on to the lost baggage desk. I know that you are reading this thinking what a horrible trip. It gets better. I promise. Or is that the voice of false hope again? I get my claim ticket and walk out to find a driver. A Kenyan named Dave says that for only sixty US dollars he’ll take me to Arusha. Sixty US dollars is a small fortune there if he had only know that at this point I would have paid two hundred. He asks where my bags are. I tell him I am not paying for sarcasm. He doesn’t get it. After the most terrifying drive of my life, we park behind a bus. Here is your ride he informs me. What do you mean? This bus will take you to Arusha. I thought you were taking me to Arusha in this nice little four-seater. He starts to speak in Swahili. Now he doesn’t seem to understand my request. Great. Lucky for me there’s one seat left, he reminds me. One seat left is an overstatement. The bus is crammed with people. The smell is overwhelming. I now think about the warm, bursting water that comes from my showerhead at home. A lot of the people on this bus have never experienced that. I really am a lucky individual, thanks Dave. I am informed that the bus ride will take approximately two to three hours.