When the time to depart finally arrived, I was quite nervous. After so many blips, changes and uncertainties (see previous post), we were finally airborne. Changing our arrival in Africa from Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam meant an extra flight, but leaving from Burbank Airport (to Seattle) is so swift and hassle free that it was worth it. Best news is no touching our bags until the “final destination” — which is such a creepy saying. Need to think of an alternative. Suggestions?
The hubby and I like to think it was an auspicious start to the trip to have the Bruin track team on the flight. I asked if we should start an “8 clap” and that got everyone’s attention. We chatted about the epic Final Four and in particular our allegiance to the blue & gold. My goodness, they were so young!
For the next leg, 14 hours from Seattle to Doha (via the north pole) is daunting, but this was a pleasure. With a half-full cabin, the staff were even more attentive. And how can one not love an airplane bathroom where you can actually turn around (and change clothes comfortably). Highly recommend Qatar Airways, especially if you are part of the One World Alliance (American and British Air, etc.)
The eight-hour Doha layover was limited to the airport per covid restrictions. But Hamad International rivals Singapore’s Changi in facilities, albeit on a smaller scale. The endless stream of green-jacket-wearing assistants provided carts and guidance throughout the transfer process. Maybe it is due to my Platinum status on American or they mistook us for foreign royals, but honestly we just went with the flow. Except when they kept offering us wheelchairs for some reason. I later found out American thought I had requested this, which I did not. At least it wasn’t due to assumed gimpyness of us.
We finally arrived in Dar es Salaam, but for just two hours. A short flight to Kilaminjaro Airport in Arusha followed with zero view of the iconic mountain due to clouds. The flight departed as soon as everyone was on board, a good 15 minutes early. No “we are cleared for takeoff” or “we are fifth in line for departure.” Rev up those propellers and take off, with the Arusha arrival 25 minutes early.
Rivertrees Country Inn provided a perfect overnight to get our sea legs. We loved a long chat with fellow guest Melvin from the UK. When I asked about his itinerary, he said “I left for three weeks and that was five months ago.” Can you imagine? He had one small bag while buying and discarding clothes as needed per weather requirements. Interesting way to travel, to say the least. He traveled to Arusha from Dar es Salaam via train. What took us just over an hour took him 22 hours with no stops in between. We’ll stick with the planes, thank you very much.
Next stop: safari in Central Serengeti.