Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Five Flights to Kenya (Long)

June 10, 2011

We got a ride from a friend to the airport and got there at 2 p.m. When we got to the counter we found out the flight was cancelled and they didn’t have another one going to Washington anywhere else that we could make in time. The connecting flight out of Washington to Accra was only an hour and a half after this flight was to land. We spent a little time trying to get United to get us there somehow but they just said we had to go through our travel agent. We sat on the phone for two hours trying to get through to the travel agent and trying to get them to understand what we needed. John finally went back up to the United counter to get them to fix it since they had cancelled the flight. The main problem was our third flight, the one from Accra to Nairobi. It was all booked for the following two days. We told them to please find a way to get us to Nairobi anyway they could. So they came up with a flight from Accra to Dubai and then from Dubai to Nairobi. Yes, that is so crazy. It was WAY out of the way. Accra is in Africa and Dubai is NOT. So we were to fly to Africa, fly out of Africa and then fly BACK to Africa. Jennifer was upset the whole ride to the airport and for two hours after we got there. I am not sure if she was just going to miss her big sister or if the fear of flying got to her or both.

Since we had gotten a ride from a friend with a large truck to bring all of our luggage and ourselves to the airport we really didn’t want to have to go all the way back home and find another ride the next day. United gave us a discount coupon to call a local hotel at a lower rate. They had a shuttle to take us to the hotel and one to bring us back again the next day. We loaded up our stuff on the shuttle and were on our way. As soon as we got there we walked to the Whataburger next door. We had no eaten lunch yet because we were going to eat at the airport as soon as we got checked in, which we never did. Dinner was good. We went swimming for the next three hours and just relaxed for a bit. Sleep didn’t come easy but we all finally did sleep.

June 11, 2011 (Flight from DFW to Dulles. Flight time 6:15 p.m. to 10:05 p.m. Total hours 3, time zone change)

A good breakfast was served downstairs. The kids and John went swimming for an hour while I repacked our bags and made sure we had everything we needed together. We had to check out at noon. We headed back to the airport and checked in only to find out our flight was delayed. Later we found out it was delayed even longer. We ate lunch at Burger King and tried not to be concerned about the delayed flight. When we found out it was delayed an hour and twenty minutes we began to worry we would not make our flight in DC. John tried to talk to the people at the ticket counter but no one would even speak to him. Finally we decided we would get on the plane and deal with it in DC if we missed the flight. We were just so tired to dealing with United at DFW.

The kids were excited to get on the plane and find their seats. Jennifer cried for just a bit at take off. But was soon doing ok. She didn’t like the landing either. At the landing her ears began to hurt very badly (her dad has that same problem) and popping them and chewing gum did not work for her. Jonathan loved taking pictures out the window.

We arrived at Dulles with only about 30 minutes to spare for the flight to Accra. We grabbed our carry-on bags and took off running. John was leading the way and Jonathan was next. Jennifer stayed pretty close to me. I was able to run half of the way but I just couldn’t make it any further running so I urged JC to catch up with his dad as we walked and sometimes ran as fast as we could. The terminals were on opposite sides of the airport, complete opposites. We got there just in time. Since it was an International flight they wanted to know if we had our Visas and we told them no because we were just doing a plane change there. They asked about the Visa for Kenya and we told them we would get it on arrival. So they let us board.

June 11-12, 2011 (Flight from Dulles to Accra. Flight time: Total Hours: )

The flight to Accra was really long but the kids slept a little bit. I was able to catch a couple of small cat naps. When we arrived at the airport in Accra it was raining. We unloaded on the tarmac and got on a bus and were taken to the airport. We knew when we got there we would have to get our luggage and recheck it in. We talked to a very nice lady and man at the counter and they helped us sign in and go find our luggage. When we got our luggage we could not find my suitcase. It wasn’t there. I suppose it didn’t make the fast switch at Dulles. We went to the counter to report lost luggage and they told us we needed to make a report when we got to our final destination because the baggage was checked all the way to there. We headed back around to the flight check in counter by way of the outside of the building; we had to walk all the way around. While we were checking in some ladies that worked there took the bag tags off our luggage (they weren’t supposed to because we had them checked all the way) so when the man that was checking us in saw that we had no tags he asked about them. We told him what happened and he went through the process of making new tags for our three bags we had left. We found a restroom and then headed to our flight area. The man there told us we had to fill out some forms so we stopped and did that. When we go to the spot to turn those forms in they man there said we should not have filled them out and not to do it next time. Too funny! We waited in the terminal for a little while and tried to keep busy. We were so tired at this point that the kids were a little grumpy having to wait. We had used up a lot of time with all the running around that our wait was only about 20 minutes or so.

June 12-13, 2011 (Flight from Accra to Dubai. Flight time:     Total Hours:  time zone change)

I’m so squashed. This is the nicest air plane we have been on but I am so cramped. I would rather have had less fancy and more room. The young man sitting next to me doesn’t seem to have a concept of personal space. He is all in mine. But I have not said anything when he bumps into me and says nothing. I have said noting to him about him putting his legs in front of my seat where my legs are supposed to go. It is hard to put up with for eight hours but I will manage. I’m so proud of Jennifer. She is a real trooper. She has not had any more issues except her ears hurting. She is not scared anymore and loves the fact that she gets to watch movies or play games on the flight. We flew over the Nile River and the Red Sea. I pointed out to Jennifer on the map that we are flying over places we have read about in the Bible. The kids didn’t sleep at all on this flight. They have been too busy playing with video games and movies. I have dozed off here and there but it has been too uncomfortable to really sleep. We were served two meals and what they call a snack but it was more like lunch. It seems like they spend so much time feeding you. Some was good, some not so good. The same movies over and over get old, too.

We landed in the Dubai airport at about 6 a.m. This is a busy place. People from all over the world are here right now. The bathrooms are “holes in the ground” type potties. I was surprised that Jennifer didn’t pitch a big fit. But she just did what she had to do without a fuss. Inside this airport is a lot of shops. They have video games and other electronics and then the more traditional type souvenir shops. We walked through the places and checked things out but didn’t buy anything. I didn’t want to have to exchange our money just to buy something small. Our next flight wasn’t leaving until about 10:45 so we spent time playing Uno after walking around. JC was the champ; he won 3 of the 5 games we played. We girls each won one game. John slept as best he could while we waited.

June 13, 2011 (Flight from Dubai to Nairobi. Flight time: 11:?? a.m. – 3:30 p.m.    Total Hours:  time zone change)

The plane boarded at the correct time but it had some issues plus they had to reroute us a bit because of some bad weather on the route they usually took. That got our plane in an hour later than it was scheduled to arrive. The flight was a little less cramped even though we were on the same type of airlines. I made sure I got an aisle seat this time. This is the first and only flight we sat right next to each other without an aisle between some of us. On the flight before John and Jonathan were two rows ahead of Jennifer and I. That was odd but we were fine. John and the kids slept this whole flight and ate nothing even though they served a meal and some drinks. I tried to sleep but it did not happen. It was odd being awake and plane hopping for that long and changing time zones so many times. On this flight we actually go back over a time zone we crossed before and gain and hour.

When we got to the airport we did found a restroom and we so glad it wasn’t a hole in the ground. We got our luggage, got our Visa’s and then went to the baggage counter to report my lost luggage. It wasn’t in the system at all. I told them what happened with the tags in Accra and that when he redid the tags he must have erased my bag. I had the part of the tag from the other bag so I was able to give that to him. Plus we had our name on the luggage tag. We gave him our team member’s phone number and left the airport to head over across the street to the local airport for our next flight.

June 13, 2011 (Flight from Nairobi to Mombasa. Flight time: 4:40 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. Total hours: 45 minutes)

This flight was a very small plane. It took a very short time to get where we were going. But Jennifer slept the whole way. I fell asleep for a short time while we were waiting on the runway to take off. I am not sure that Jonathan slept on this one. He loved the fact that he got a small can of Fanta. It didn’t take long to get off this plane and find our luggage. As we walked out of the airport we were praying our team members would be there to meet us…they were! YAY! Almost there.
We got in a safari vehicle that they had rented for their time here and drove for about an hour and a half to Kilifi. And not just to Kilifi but way in the bush near the coast. We are staying at a villa that is on a plantation where they raise milk cows. The roads through there are so rough and bumby, it's terrible. The villa is beautiful, especially in the daytime when the mosquitoes aren't out. We had dinner and then went to bed. We were so glad to be in a real bed!

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Welcome to the world of international travel! It’s thrilling, exciting, exhausting, and frustrating all rolled into one! ;) Glad to hear yall made it safely. It’s good to read updates here and on Facebook. Praying!