Thursday, August 24, 2006

A comedy of errors

My last night in Kenya was spent productively by checking my email and sitting in my hotel room, watching television. Today I slept in, went for breakfast at the Java House (oh yes, there's a Java House, and oh yes, I did buy a t-shirt), checked my email, packed and got a little work done. All of this went all according to plan.

Then I got in a taxi to go to the airport and things slowly began to go a little bit wrong. The first problem was that I took my malaria medication on an empty stomach. This was a Very Bad Idea. I am taking doxycycline this trip to Africa. THe first trip, I took malarone (97% effective, they claim!) and got malaria. So, I figured I might try something different this time. Apparently doxy makes me nauseous when not taken with food. It takes a little while to kick in, so it wasn't until I was standing in the ridiculously long security line to get into the airport that I felt that I could toss my cookies at any moment. I knew instinctively that food would make me feel better, and word on the street was that there in a Java House inside the Nairobi airport.

After clearing security, I made a beeline for this Java House. And, it was while I was walking through the airport that I realized that I forgot my hoodie in the taxi cab. My very favorite Old Navy hoodie is now a permanent resident of Nairobi. It is very, very sad. Even sadder is that I don't have any other long sleeved clothing with me and while Dar will be very warm, Addis Ababa will not.

So, after putting something in my stomach and stopping the huge waves of nausea breaking over me, I began my slow meander through the airport. Airports are truly fascinating places, and airports in Africa are especially interesting. Maybe it's because they are so small that it's easy to see the different groups of people passing through. On the one hand, you have the safari people. These people are easy to pick out as they are dressed head to toe in khaki. The khaki looks suspiciously new, as do their brown hiking boots. THe safari gear still looks new even after the safari, as THEY NEVER STEP OUTSIDE OF THEIR LAND ROVERS. THe second group of people found in most African airports are the backpackers. These people generally look vaguely greasy, as if they haven't bathed in several days. One of the backpackers has been wandering around this particular airport with his shoes in his hand. And while I am sitting on the floor here, I'm not sure I'd want any bare skin to touch it. The third group of people are the missionaries. These people are usually American, and generally from the Midwest or South. They often have a very wholesome look about them. Sometimes the women wear colored long sleeved shirts with a white built in collar. There are also the usual smattering of natives travelling to see other parts of their country. These people are easily distinguished by the fact that they often look generally pissed off at the other three groups. I actually group myself in this fourth cateogry, if only for the pissed off expression on my face.

Regardless, I began my search for a long sleeve garment in the airport. After visiting every store in the airport, I only found two long sleeved garments. The first was a navy blue sweatshirt, with a giraffe and elephant emblazoned on the front and the words "Hakuna Matata" across the top. I briefly considered it, but decided that if my choices were that sweatshirt and freezing, I choose freezing. The other garment was a safari jacket with about fifty pockets in the front and mesh vents in the back.


Yeah, see my previous comment about freezing.

I was a little shocked by the actual plane that I took from Nairobi to Dar. I have been on some pretty tiny aircrafts before in my life, but never ones with propellors instead of jet engines. Yes, that's right, propellers. it was a good little plane if a little noisy and our landing was perfect. We had a quick stop in Zanzibar (the stewardess claimed five minutes and I had visions of flying low and dumping most of the passengers off) and I contemplated getting off there. But no, I was good, and now here I sit in Dar.


  1. Oh yeah, doxy on an empty stomach is the most reliable way to make me puke. Why I kept forgetting that in Indonesia, I'll never know.

    Sorry about the hoodie. :(

  2. This won't keep you warm, but you do get double fashion points for eschewing the "Hakuna Matata" sweatshirt.