Stepping off the plane into warm air and a new smell was wonderful. It was pitch black so I couldn’t see much other than the lights at the airport. I already had my tourist visa and tried to apply for another stamp I needed, but no one seemed to know about that. I tried asking a few more people and a woman eventually told me to go into town tomorrow and to the immigration office. We’ll see how that goes. It will likely produce a story or two.
I came through customs and quickly found someone holding a sign for the lodge I am staying at. There were two men there – one dressed in traditional Maasai wear, and one in Western street clothes. The man dressed in street clothes took my bag and walked me to the parking lot. He started to put me in a Taxi and suddenly I came out of the fog I was in, and I asked him, are you with Kia Lodge? He said no, that he was a taxi driver and the fare was only a few dollars. I told him thanks but no thanks and that I would wait to go with the official hotel transport. Hauled my bags back to the airport entrance and waited for the other guy – Daniel. Who was very gracious and after getting our bags loaded in the van, and after he tried to start it 4 or 5 times, we were off. It was not a far journey. And it was dark. But he opened up a sunroof/moon roof and there were more stars than I could remember seeing in a long time.
The hotel was about a kilometer or so away. Had the roads been better we would’ve gotten there even faster. I got checked in quickly, shown to my room – I’ve got my own little bungalow type thing for the next few days. I jumped in the shower and then went straight to the bar.
Had a bottle of Kilimanjaro lager, hoping that it would be just enough to put me into a good sleep. Talked with the bartender and another hotel employee – who just relocated back to TZ from Boston, of all places. So we sat and chatted about that for a long time. He seems happy to be back here and away from Boston winters, but also seemed to really enjoy the city. He even pulled out his Massachusetts driver’s license to show me. I could tell by the way he was talking that he had spent some time in America – and he said that he had been there for over 8 years. When talking about the winter at one point, he exclaimed, “Jesus Christ it’s cold!! To which I laughed and agreed.
Then it was my turn on the free internet – there’s one computer here at the lodge that we can use. I hopped on long enough to update my facebook status and send a quick email. My inbox was already looking overwhelming, so I didn’t even start going through it. At that point my brain was fried.
It’s now about 4:30 a.m. I’ve been up for about an hour. I woke up, hopeful that my curtains were blocking out the sunlight. No such luck. And so the battle with jetlag begins. I think my body was so happy to have 5-6 hours of uninterrupted horizontal sleep it figured it didn’t want to take advantage of the situation. So, now I’m up, writing this blog post and yawning a little bit, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get another hour’s sleep or so. I’m excited to see this place in the light of day.