Within Tanzania, we use an airline named “Precision Air.” We call it Approximate Air.
In the two months I was traveling in Tanzania, 3 planes were canceled, and the delay was anywhere between 4 hours to a day and a half. I thought we had it bad till I saw an angry group of Tanzanians who had experienced 3 canceled flights in a row to Tabora, and at the time, it was only flying 3 times a week – so they had been delayed a whole week!
I was of course skeptical about flying from Kilimanjaro to Nairobi on Approximate Air to connect to my flight to London. But it was the only direct flight. All week I was extra careful about everything: I confirmed the flight in person – twice – called again right before the flight, and asked about the flight statistics (they gave me a load of rubbish, but I figured I would try). I told my colleagues, “The LAST thing I want at the end of this trip is to be stranded in Nairobi.”
So here I am, stranded in Nairobi.
…along with a group of angry, obnoxious Americans who had just spent a week hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro. It was a bit shocking to be surrounded by rude Americans again – after my two months among polite Tanzanians. At least there were a few Canadians and a Swiss dude to buffer them.
I missed my connecting flight to London by 10 minutes (the delay ate up the 3.5 hour layover I was supposed to have)… so now I a hoping to get on the flight tonight. It’s a 9-hour overnight, and I will be annoyed if I can’t get a window seat in order to sleep. They won’t allow me to select seats ahead of time.
Nairobi is not on my list of favorite cities. It’s not safe for women, especially at night, and has a large share of East African violence and theft. I’ve had to stay in Nairobi several times in the past for transit reasons, and now I try to avoid it when I can.
I had to cancel my one-day in London, which is a little sad (alas, no fashion month events)- but after two months of travel, I am just eager to go home and see family and friends.
I am trying to practice equanimity and peace with where I am. I know it doesn’t sound like it… but I am still doing morning meditation on this every day. It gets heavily challenged when travel mistakes happen, and I have to change what I want to do and where I have planned to be. It also gets challenged every time I get treated like an alien creature. It’s difficult to feel like a part of a community.
Let me go home!