Monday, October 06, 2008

Day Two

Day Two starts in the Amsterdam Airport (AMS). Teri and I have agreed to meet at the gate for our flight to Kilimanjaro (JRO). When Teri arrives, she expects me to be eagerly waiting but nope, I’ve made myself as comfortable as possible as you can on airport chairs and am fast asleep. We’ve got some time in AMS so we wander. There’s a casino in the airport. I love Amsterdam. Maybe Teri can win back the cost of the trip with some Blackjack. We pass on the casino and Teri ends up spending $10.00 on a croissant instead.

In preparation for the trip I have put together a PDF with all key documents. I’ve already been teased about it but it turns out to be quite handy when Teri realizes she doesn’t have pictures for her VISA. The backup plan is to use the pictures from the color copies on the PDF. I knew the PDF would come in handy – and right away – I am delighted.

We get on the plane to JRO and I am thrilled to see that I have my own video screen with on demand entertainment. I love KLM. And, the flight attendant uniforms are quite sharp, indeed. I watch a really boring Parker Posey movie and then start in on Sex and The City. It’s very strange to be watching a movie about urban life in New York when I’m on my way to hike in Africa. Teri is only ten rows behind me but she doesn’t visit me once during the flight claiming that it’s just too far to travel. From the woman who is coming to Africa from Seattle. Silly Teri.

We finally arrive at JRO. It’s a teeny tiny airport and we’re in a huge plane. It's quite a ladder we descend to the tarmac. We get in line for Visa and Customs. I am armed with my photos, paperwork already filled out and ready to go. Turns out I need none of it. This is a very casual airport. I can see Baggage Claim through Customs and keep peering through the booths to check for my luggage. It seems like it was ages ago that I checked my bags in Raleigh. The guard actually ends up letting me skip past customs to check my luggage. Given how casual this seems to be, I wonder if I just could have landed and left. The only thing that stopped me from trying was a concern about being able to leave the country without the proper entry paperwork. And yeah, International crime - not really my thing.

Our Team Kilimanjaro driver is there. One of the passengers goes for the front seat. He’s surprised to open the door to a steering wheel. Yep, they drive on the left side of the road here. The first thing we see when we leave the airport is a Pepsi billboard. Ah, advertising. Never too far from my heart.

We arrive at our hotel and are greeted with dinner. It’s fish. From this moment on I decide I’m allergic to fish. Even though I’m not I feel much less guilty not eating fish if people think I’m allergic versus the fact that I just don’t like it. So, the chef, Axle, brings out Quail. And from this moment on, I’m also a Vegetarian. The thing on my plate looks a little too much like a bird. I tell the Chef I’m not hungry. And then he brings out dessert. It looks delicious but then I remember that I’m not hungry. Damn, I’m caught. I don’t eat my dessert. But Teri does.

We get to our room and I unearth my Peanut Butter M-n-M’s and have those for dinner. And, a York Peppermint Patty. I think back to the Kroger in Durham where I got the candy and wow – it feels far away already.

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