Kenya and Tanzania, February 2014 Part 1

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So to add a chaotic mess to this blog, I writing about previous trips but I will be adding new trips in as well. So I’ve added the month/year to the title of each post.

My first trip to Africa was in May,2013 and I feel in love. I was actually quite surprised that I enjoyed safari as much as I did. So when exploring warm weather vacation options for February, Tanzania come up on my radar.  To fly to Tanzania, the plane stops in Kenya. When I started looking into the different safari options, Amboseli in Kenya seem to fit the bill. So I flew into Nairobi and out of Dar Es Salaam.

United does not fly to East Africa, so I booked United to Zurich via Newark and then Swiss down to Nairobi. I had a  tight connection in Zurich, 45 minutes, so I starting watching the Newark-Zurich flight to see if had any issues.  I was scheduled to fly on Thursday evening, arriving in Nairobi on Friday night. On Tuesday I noticed a nasty line of winter storms were scheduled to hit the New York area, so I called and got rerouted thru Dulles ( Washington D.C. area).  Ok until Wednesday morning, I got notification that my flight had cancelled, that’s OK, I can go earlier, maybe bring my laptop and do a little work during my 4 hour layover in Dulles. I did not like my seat (bulkhead) so I keep checking to see if something else opened up. Around 11AM, eureka, flight’s wide open now, hmmm, sure is because it CANCELLED. I’ve been rebooked for 8am into Dulles. Well now that’s a really long day in the airport.  Around 3pm, I get another notification, CANCELLED. Ok no problem, let me call the UAL and figure out my option. The first lady, I get you on a flight to Dulles tonight, I said who’s going to Dulles? I am trying to get to Nairobi. Well we don’t fly there. Yes but your part of this group called Star Alliance and Swiss flies there. Well let’s see, I can get you to Newark, ok yes, I am have to go. Hung up and called again. This time the agent says to me, How quickly can you get to the airport? Can you make a 6:00 pm departure to Europe? It’s now 3.30pm, I still had to go home to get my suitcase. I said if you want to send a helicopter, since United is into jets that option did not really work.  So finally I got rebooked to go Wednesday night on Lufthansa to Munich and connect to Zurich, where I would have to spend the night and pick up my original itinerary. So made dash home, finish packing and head to the airport.

I had always planned on doing Pack for Purpose. But due to my itinerary change (no tight connection), I was able to check in a bag. So I ended up running over to Walgreens and buying a whole bunch of toiletries that the Day Care had requested. I had found an old suitcase in the garage that was perfect to just give with the donations.

So I had made arrangements for a taxi to pick me up at 7.15 pm. I had a 9.20 pm departure, but with having to check bags I wanted to get there with plenty of time. Taxi did not show up until 7.55 pm. To say I was stressed would have been an understatement. I get to the airport and I one to the last to check in the flight. Immediately the gate attendant says to me, I am sorry ma’am we do not have a business class seat for you, you’ve been downgraded. OK. I mean what else could I say? I needed to get Nairobi on Friday night, because I was scheduled to go on Safari on Saturday morning. But then she actually looked at my reservation, oh shoot, picks up the phone and says you have to find her a seat, argue, argue, thank you. Here you go ma’am, we were able to locate a seat for you.  Apparently, the seat I was given had been ” blocked” and they unblocked it for me. So when I got on the plane, my seat mate demanded to see my ticket because he was so convinced that nobody was supposed to be in that seat. Too bad for him.

So I fly to Munich, have time for a pretzel and then connect to Zurich. Have I mentioned how much I love flying Lufthansa?  But they sure do like to make their passengers get their exercise. When it was time to board my flight to Zurich, I was not surprised when we were bused out to the plane, then had to climb up to board. Upon boarding,  they were handing out Toblerone ‘s.  It was a 45 minute flight, they still served full meal. I was not really hungry, but I did not want to be rude. Something I learned in my previous years of working for an airlines, you eat when you are giving food, because you never know when a flight might get delayed, stuck on a runway, holding pattern, etc.

The meal would have been nice, but the flight encounter turbulence.  As a seasoned traveler, I’ve had my fair share of turbulence, but this flight was slowing creeping into my top 5 of bumpy flights.  As soon as the flight attend caught my eye, I gave up my meal, because I was not interested in wearing it.  No sooner did she get the carts locked down, did the pilots tell them to be seated.  I was in the first row, so I was facing the flight attendant jump seat.  She caught my eye and tried to give me a smile. At that point, I just closed my eyes and tried to focus on something positive.  As you know the plane landed safety, or you would heard the story by now. But it was by far the worse flight I’ve ever been on with turbulence.  The pilots were awesome about keeping us informed about what was going on, not that any of understood it, but just hearing from them gave the appearance of calm.  Funny enough, the flight attendant said to me, it was one of the worst for her.  If I recall correctly, the pilot said something about a storm coming out of nowhere when we were trying to land, and it was damned either going up or down, so they just brought us down.  I may have just had a crush before but it was now full on love for Lufthansa after that flight.

I had used my points to book a room at the Hilton Zurich Airport. It was short layover, and I had only packed warm weather clothes, so I pretty much just went from the airport to hotel.

Funny enough,  my original flight from Newark actually departed and my flight to Nairobi was delayed to allow those passengers to make the connection……..

Stay tuned

 

 

 

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