10 October 2017 Tuesday - Day 1 - Brainerd to Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Nairobi

This is the beginning of our trip to Africa!

There’s nothing much to report today. The whole long tiring, harrowing day was spent traveling from:

I only took two photos: one of Kathy sitting on top a giant stuffed animal in the Amsterdam airport.

The other was a photo of the bathroom sign, which I found amusing. It had arrows pointing to the toilets and the meditation center. I thought to myself, “Eliminate waste from your body, eliminate waste from your mind.”

When we got out of the airport in Nairobi, it was late, like 11:30pm. We were met by a local OAT representative. He told us there was still one more passenger we needed to wait for named Cheung. So we waited. And we waited. And we waited, but Cheung never came out. We waited for more than an hour, getting more and more frustrated. Someone suggested he check the passenger manifest or call the airlines, but the OAT guy said it was impossible. I suggested he call the hotel to see if Cheung was already checked in, but he ignored me and blew me off.

Finally the airport closed and the lights were turned off, so we got on a bus and left. We drove for what seemed like an hour through the (decent) highways of Nairobi to our hotel, the Karen Country Inn. There we found out that Cheung had, in fact, checked in the day before, along with some of our other people on the tour, so we had wasted more than an hour standing at the airport.

Talking to the other people later, it turns out that they had arrived a day earlier and enjoyed a day of leisure exploring Nairobi and visiting the elephant rescue center. Smart. Very smart. But: long before the trip, Kathy specifically asked OAT what flights they recommended, and they did not suggest that. Stupid. Very stupid.

By the time we got checked in to the hotel, Kathy was absolutely screaming furious: Due to OAT’s incompetence, we could have had a nice extra day in Nairobi and spent some time enjoying this stunningly beautiful hotel. Instead, we left on Monday, got to the hotel like 1:30 in the morning, and had to get up at 6:30 or so, with like 5 hours of sleep, and head to the airport. We had zero time to enjoy the hotel.

So why weren’t we told about the option to leave a day earlier?

Why were we paying for a luxurious 5-star hotel for a total of 5 hours of sleep?

Why did OAT burn so much time needlessly at the airport?

Why did the OAT guy blow me off?

Granted, we were tired, sleep-deprived and burned out from a full day of travel, but in 25 years of marriage, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kathy so pissed off.

Despite all that, the rest of the trip was fabulous. That was really our only complaint.