Tanzania Blog Start
Whether it was nervous energy or something, I got up early again and finished my packing for home. Basically between the safari and Zanzibar segments, I had stuff spread out over several bags and totally unorganized. Hate to talk so much about packing but while I’d gotten rid of some stuff (like the two point and shoot cameras I brought over), I’d also acquired stuff on the trip to bring home. Anyway, I got it all organized and packed away. I had an late morning flight out of Moshi and had scheduled a 9:30 car back to Kilimanjaro airport. Around 7am I was sitting alone at our tables working on my laptop when Nancy brought out breakfast for just me. Seemed strange to be alone at that table when just a few days ago our TGL team would have been trickling in chatting about the day before or what was to come that day. I really started feeling sad. I expected Sara to show up and was kind of looking for her to arrive when to my surprise Fatuma – the other half of the EEF team showed up. As she had been mostly away on personal business during our intervals at Twiga House, I really hadn’t had time to get to know her. We talked for an hour and covered a lot of topics. She had lost a family member as we were arriving a week ago in Tanzania, I expressed my condolences to her and explained that I too had lost my son this year. At that point I felt my heart sink once again with the memories now compounded by the growing sadness I felt with my leaving Tanzania today. It really got too me and I teared up more than a little at this point. But too soon the driver arrived and I was on my way for the last time back to the airport.
The flight to Dar Es Salam was uneventful. Arriving there, I now had to go through passport control to leave the country. I had thought I’d figured out the airport on the flight back from Zanzibar but the international side was chaotic. My bags got scanned no less than 6 times at the airport passing through ridiculous layers of security. Made me glad I had no film on this trip. After a few hours I was once again in the air on Emirates headed for Dubai. Five hours later in what was now the evening, we arrived in the enormous Dubai airport. I had something like 9 or 10 hours layover there basically through there night for an 8am or so flight back to SFO. I got confused as to what meals were what at that point. I remember, having dinner several times, lunch on the flight, some snacks, and ??? more. At least my previous pass through on the airport had gotten me orientated to the airport. I walked through the duty free shopping so many times I finally bought some small items. Anyway, around 4amish I remember that the airport was finally quiet for a time and then the first Islamic call to parer range through the airport. Was kinda cool and made me remember where I was now. Finally around 6am or so, I went through boarding then yet another security check in a lower level lounge. The view from there in the early morning light was interesting and I got this shot of the view of the terminal wall there.
The curves fascinated my photographer eye. From there too, I could see my waiting Airbus A380 ready to take me home for good this time.
Finally around 7amish we began the long boarding process to the airplane and after awhile were on our way home. We flew over Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, the North Pole, and Canada on the long flight. Not much to say about it except that I got very little sleep on this 15-16 hour trip. Watched about 5 movies though. Tired of flying and the long trip, it was so good to see the familiar terrain of the Bay Area. Took a while to get through USA customs but finally I found myself at the Sonoma County Airport Express stop with the bus waiting there for me! I let Sharon know I’d be getting in to Rohnert Park around 6pm. I had nothing to do but settle back for the long bus ride home.
In all my travels, one thing I’ve never forgotten and always enjoyed is arriving at SFO. It’s the smell of the fog you see. I know I’m home when I see it. Today was no exception as the afternoon fog was shrouding the San Bruno hills.
Finally, finally, finally, the bus pulled up to the Double Tree and there was Sharon waiting at the curb for me, just like when I left 20 days before. So tired but so great to be home.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my trip. I learned so much and I will return sometime again.