Africa: Part I

***These Africa posts might be short and sweet due to lack of time and infrequency of Internet service.  Hope you understand. ***


We made it.  After 26 hours of travel, we finally arrived in Nairobi. We left LA a little after noon on Friday, which is 3 p.m. E.S.T. and 10 p.m. Kenyan time.  We arrived to our hotel at 2 a.m. Sunday morning (Saturday 7 p.m. E.S.T and 4 p.m. in Los Angeles)—overall, the trip was pretty brutal.

On our first leg, Katherine and I had chosen aisle seats opposite each other, both liking the freedom such positions afford. The plan backfired this time though, as the person sitting next to me was the most asinine person on the planet.  He was literally a destroyer of intellect, and I am now stupider for having to sit next to this fake hip-hop guy, wearing a hat still sporting the size sticker on the brim.  His poser fashion already had my blood boiling as  he then proceeded to talk to the window guy for the whole six hours over to D.C.  When I say talk, I mean scream, like we were at a fucking Formula One racetrack.  All of coach hated him and I hated him even more because I had front row tickets to the bullshit show he was selling.  To hear this guy brag, you would have thought he knew every famous person in the world and had worked in “studios” all over the globe.  That is, until he asked questions like, we have to fly over the ocean to get to D.C. right? or Do they give us water while we are flying?  Obviously, this dick bag had never left his mommy’s teet but, in his mind, he had been everywhere.  Death glares shot at him from the other passengers as he loudly discussed breeding dogs and other gangsta’ hobbies.  Despite the subtle and obvious signs that were sent his way, he just didn’t get it.  I, who believes it is only fair that the middle seat gets both arm rests, swayed from my chivalry and took control of the shared one.  It had to be explained how time zones worked to alleviate his shock that we would not be arriving into Washington until 9 p.m.  At one point, as we flew over the middle of the country in pure bright afternoon light, he asked me, Is it night time down there?  Um, dude, really, I mean, really?

Now I know some of you are thinking, well damn Crowley, give the guy a break, he may of had a hard time coming up and all that good, let’s stand in a circle and hold hands shit.  That is fine and I respect people bettering themselves and exploring this world.  What I do not respect is when people try to be something they’re not.  It grieves me to no end and for some reason I just can’t let it go and have to call them out.  Katherine calls it cruelty and I’m sure some doctors would say it bothers me because I’m not happy with myself and blah, blah, blah.  How about I just call it accountability, and maybe it might be good for our beautiful country to start teaching that shit again?  You are a hip-hop producer that knows all these artists but doesn’t know about time zones or if you have to travel over an ocean to get to the East Coast?  Sounds pretty fishy to me and I call bullshit.

One more thing, No wha Imm sayning is not a fucking proper statement no matter how many times you say it.  And no, no one knows what you’re saying nor do they care, you fucking waste of citizenship.

Our routing was this:  Six hours from LAX to D.C., eleven hours from D.C. to Istanbul, six hours from Istanbul to Nairobi.  As we moved farther east, the dynamics of the plane changed accordingly, from our domestic flight, which consisted of a majority of Americans, to our flight into Europe with a mix of nationalities and onto our flight into Africa with mostly Africans.

Almost there

Leaving Istanbul we were feeling pretty good about the last leg, figured we made it this far, what was another six hours.  We were wrong.  As the movies and meals ended and the new ones began, time seemed to stand still as we headed south over Egypt.  We tried to stay awake so we could sleep as soon as we arrived at our hotel. Katherine and I were delirious by this point and drunk on some good Turkish wine.  The lights were darkened and our minds were held suspended over Northern Africa in between the moving pictures of a film (our fourth) and our expectations for adventure.  Then, silently in the night, as if creeping from the jungles below, I felt something hit my right elbow which had been exposed to the passerbys.  I was nodding off and thought as if it might of been a dream or, better, a Turkish stewardess.  Surely, none of the jungle creatures have come this far to greet my beautiful bride and me?  I slowly slid back into the warm comforts of my dream-like state.  Again, the all-so-subtle scratching at my elbow awakened me.  I looked around, paralyzed in fear; everyone was sleeping.  A mamba?  Slowly, and with my heart beating in my chest, I lifted the blanket to see my aggressor.  To my shock and absolute horror, there, seated on MY arm rest, scratching ever so lightly at my elbow was a big, calloused African foot, bare as the day of birth.  My elbow had been violated.

We landed smoothly and, although dark outside, my eyes strained to pierce the night and get my first view of Africa.  The ground was lush and vast and the plane taxied for a while before we arrived at the lights of the airport.

With uncertainty, we exited the plane and headed towards customs.  The airport was busy, given that it was after 1 a.m., and we rushed to buy our visas and get into our trip.  This was the first time I was to use my new passport and I was extremely excited to have the stamp of Kenya be its first entry.  I laughed and smiled with the customs agent–he did not share my excitement.  It did not matter.  We were in.

We followed the sign to collect our bags as bright white eyes set in the dark faces watched us suspiciously.  Airports are always a little sketchy and Nairobi after midnight is no different.  My senses were on high alert, protection mode; like a soldier, I scanned our surroundings for any potential threats.  Katherine put on lip-gloss.

We collected our bags, thank God they both made it, and headed out into a sea of drivers and cabbies holding up signs and shouting in strange languages.  Shit, I was exhausted and now had to manage this.  Unexpectedly, and to much delight, I quickly found the sign that said Crowley party, Karibu and was greeted by a big wave and even bigger smile by a man name Tom.  Jambo, Jambo, he said, Please come, let me take your bags, Karibu, Karibu. We were whisked out of the airport and directed to a van; Tom smiling and stating his hopes that our trip was pleasant.  Another man, Julius, got out of the van and helped to load the bags.  I did not know this yet, but Julius was to be our driver guide for our whole safari and now, over the course of this last week, has taught me many things about Africa and its tribes. He has also become a good friend.

We were taken from the airport to Nairobi city center, Tom asking about us, telling us about Kenya and our trip ahead.  The ride was about twenty-five minutes and my tired mind was trying to collect it all while really only thinking of a shower.  Just when I was about to finally reach exhaustion, we pulled up to our hotel and a giant in African garb opened the door and said Jambo.

Maurice was a little less intimidating after some sleep

Maurice, the door giant, helped us out of the van as many porters scrambled for our bags and Tom took care of checking us in.  We were greeted by a local girl, given hot towels to clean our faces, and offered a fresh fruit drink.  It all seemed so surreal now due to the fact that we didn’t know what day or what time zone we were in mentally.

We were shown to our rooms after Tom quickly briefed us and said he would return in the morning.  La la salaama, sleep well, he said as he shook our hands one last time. We took hot showers and unpacked.  We were so tired now but our adrenaline of being on a new continent set in.  As we forced ourselves to wind down, I stood out on the balcony overlooking the Nairobian night.  The strange trees and sounds only added to my interest as I anticipated waking to the new day.  We had made the voyage, we had reached Africa.

Our first morning


1 Response to “Africa: Part I”

  1. 1 Brent Kuykendall
    July 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks for the post!! Trip sounds great( except for the d bag on your leg to DC). I hope you have an amazing trip and get back safe.

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