August 1, 2010
After 20+ hours of flying I am here! I am very very sleep deprived and my body is freaking out because it doesn’t know what time it is or when it is allowed to sleep. My goal is to stay up until my parents get to the hotel. I don’t really know what picture I had in my minds eye for what it would feel like to land in Africa, but I don’t think this was it.
The Johannesburg airport was stupidly confusing. There were conflicting signs, information desks with conflicting information, and my flight never showed up on the departures board so I had to run around like a chicken with no head trying to figure out if a) my luggage would in fact check through to Nairobi, and b) where was my gate?! I eventually had to use a phone at an information desk to call airport official information and ask where my gate was and then when I found it, there was absolutely no markings showing that my flight was indeed supposed to leave from the gate. But I made my plane and it was relatively smooth sailing (well flying really) to Kenya. My bag was marked priority so I was hoping it would come out quickly. I got off the plane very fast because I was sitting at the front of the plane so I was able to reach baggage claim pretty quickly after going through customs. (Did you know they take your finger prints- weird right)? Then I got to baggage claim and watched all the priority sticker-ed bags come round the carousel and mine was no where to be found. I had horrible visions of my bag sitting by itself like a lonely puppy at the Johannesburg airport thinking it had been abandoned and whimpering for its mommy (although I was the one doing the whimpering not the bag). After 15 heart-pounding minutes where I swear I looked like one of those cartoons where you can actually see the heart pounding out of the chest, my bag arrived in one piece! South African Airways has a notorious reputation for lost (stolen) luggage. I’m pretty prepared to realize anything can happen, but my camera chargers were in my packed ergo the freak out.
I also had a scary moment of not being able to find my driver and people coming up to me saying they were my driver and I could go with them. I’ve actually heard about this scam before that robbers will hold up signs from tour companies or hotels with made up names in the hopes that you ask them where the guy with your name is and they say “oh I’ll just take you” and next thing you know you are in a ditch with all your luggage gone, so I was a bit wary. Eventually with a quick call to the tour operator I found my ride on the other side of the room and set off for the hotel. This is now where I an comfortably ensconced.
I got to the House of Waine around 5pm and was greeted you with a delicious fruity drink, which always helps to put me in the vacation mood and put airport drama behind me.
I spent the rest of the day wandering around the small hotel grounds looking at birds and then taking a wonderful luxurious bath in their gigantic bath tubs.
The hotel is very small and quaint, but quite nice and very safe (there is an electric fence surrounding the property always manned by a guard). If you need a night in Nairobi and don’t want to be in the downtown area I highly recommend it here. Each room has a different name and theme, I am in Safari, which has some cute touches of animal print and a funny safari hat hanging on my headboard.
I leave early tomorrow morning for the Masai Mara and promise some awesome animal photos to come your way shortly!