acacias and minor annoyances
It is such a long trip to Nairobi, but I made it.
Here are my thoughts on overnight flight etiquette:
- It is the height of rudeness to put your seatback all the way down the minute the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off. Wait until after dinner so the person behind you can actually move her knees from time to time.
- When they dim the cabin lights after dinner, that is your sign to shut up. It is not okay (even if you are two perky teenage girls) to chit-chat at top volume all the way from Heathrow to Nairobi. People need to sleep. Badly.
Otherwise, the flights were fine. In the "it's a small world after all" category, I said beside someone whose boss is a friend from church in Connecticut (they now live in Austin), on the flight to New York. Then it was a long layover at JFK and overnight to London. I had lunch in Leicester Square with my friend Chris, whom I had not seen since our last Bible study before graduating from Yale. We had a great time chatting about faith and scholarship, and catching up on what all of our mutual friends are up to.
Then I raced back to Heathrow, checked in for my next flight, and had a nasty argument with the head of security at Terminal 3. I fought to keep my juice boxes to treat low blood sugar. He didn't want to let me take all of my insulin on the flight, insisting that I didn't need that much for the flight (Him: "Why do you need this in your carry-on?" Me: "Because I want to still have it when I get there?"). I won the argument (it helps if you nearly burst into tears), but by the time it was over, they were announcing that my flight was closing (which was totally not true; it had another 45 minutes before take-off). Several other passengers and myself raced down the concourse and of course arrived only to sit on the plane for half an hour before they even started pre-flight procedures.
Virgin Atlantic's brand spankin' new service from London to Nairobi is nice (save the above-mentioned ill-mannered girls). The flights aren't full yet, so there was some room. I sat behind a pastor who was reading a John Piper book who still allowed his son to watch Blood Diamond. (Here's hoping it won't take his mom too long to get the kid over those nightmares.) VA hasn't quite figured out the timing on the flights yet. I wish that the flight could have arrived a bit later. 5:55am is awfully early to show up anywhere. But I got lucky in that immigration gave me a transit visa (only $20 as opposed to $50 for a regular one), and I got a decent deal on a taxi ride into town with a driver who loves him some Christian radio. I love the area around the airport - it is flat with a huge sky like West Texas. But I have to say that driving into Nairobi's hills and buildings while listening to a song from the Passion One Day Live cd was a little surreal.
Luckily, my room at the Methodist Guest House was already available by the time we got into town (around 7:50), so I checked in, took a nap, slept through two alarms, and woke up in time to only need to delay lunch with Melody by 30 minutes. We went to Le Rustique, a cute place in the Westlands, and had a great time catching up on she and her husband's work as CBF missionaries. Sam is with a group from Mercer in the Rift Valley; hopefully I'll get to catch up with him as well in August.
Anyway, that's all to say that I'm seriously jet-lagged, but otherwise fine. It's cold in Nairobi, even though it should be the dry season by now. It will be warmer soon, I'm sure. I fly to Kigali tomorrow and head to Goma on Saturday. Then the real fun begins.