MONDAY, APRIL 13, 2009 – 95/50 – NGORONGORO CRATER TO NAIROBI, KENYA AND ON TO DUBAI, UAE.
It rained hard all night and is still misting as we head for breakfast at 7:30AM. By 8:00AM George is loading the jeep and we are off by 8:15. The rim is fogged in and the road is a bit muddy, but George has no trouble making it down to the paved road. We make one stop on the way to Arusha to look for and buy elephant hair bracelets…Dick has a plan for them.
In Arusha by 11:30, we stop at the Arusha Hotel for lunch. Carolyn does a little shopping; buying the last of the big five wooden animal carvings and a piece of Tanzanite. We get to the airport at 2:00PM for our 3:30PM flight to Nairobi and get checked in. The flight leaves on time and we are in Nairobi by 4:30PM.
Our flight to Dubai does not leave until 7:10PM. We were able to check that small piece of luggage all the way to Dubai this time, but we are still hauling the two small carry-ons, plus the camera and computer case. The Nairobi airport is the absolute worst we have been in of the ten countries we have been in so far. They have skywalks for the planes but we have not used one yet! So it is down from the airplane on the roll up steps then up the narrow, steep, service steps to a skywalk parked somewhere near the plane. We are flying business class on Kenya Air to Dubai.
The airport is hot and sticky (very poor AC if at all) so we definitely want to go to the Business Class lounge since we have a two hour wait until boarding time. Of course, that is on the third floor and there is no elevator! We are worn out after dragging our stuff up there. At least the AC works! Unfortunately, the security system is at the gate so we have to leave the lounge about 30 minutes before boarding. There is a line to check in and go through the X-ray. Once in the waiting area, it is stifling and there is no place to sit so I just collapse on the floor, my knees are killing me!
They finally call the flight about 6:55PM and it is an absolute free for all to go through the door. Then we are led through two waiting areas, out a skywalk and down the service steps and then back the way we came under two skywalks, one empty and another with an India Air plane using it. We then troop out on the active tarmac to walk up the steps to the plane. People are pushing and shoving the whole way. One kind sole finally helps Carolyn with her bag on the steps. We make it to the plane and collapse in our seats. There was no reason for a 767 not to use the skywalk, especially when we walk by two empty ones!
The Kenya Air flight, itself, is one of the nicer ones. The seats are definitely the most comfortable ones so far. We get to Dubai about thirty minutes early, 1:00AM, and have a skywalk, thank goodness! There is an agent from the Dubai International Hotel waiting as we come up the walkway to guide us to the Hotel. We quickly check in and are shown to our room. The desk arranges for our checked bag to be held as we are still in the secure area of the airport.
The day went very smoothly, but we will not go through Nairobi International Airport again. It just killed my knees and the lounge situation is a joke.