Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Unleash the Chaos!

My arsenal of postcards
A brave group of us headed into Moshi in two crowded taxis to run some last minute errands in Tanzania. This included the buro de change, bank, supermarket, souvenier shops and the post office for me to post fifteen of my twenty-one postcards. The post office was another reminder of African Time as it took about 10 minutes for anyone to come and see me but that gave me time to practice how to ask for my stamps in Swahilli which made both me and the teller happy. Naturally we all congregated at the Coffee Lounge for the last taste of the wonderful coffee and sweet banana smoothie - we even managed to get the recipe. Our taxi driver back to the hotel was especially cheery ,especially after our tip as we were trying to get rid of Tanzanian Shillings.

We enjoyed the "best breakfast in Moshi" for the last time and headed towards Nairobi with Kilimanjaro sitting high in the back window. At the Tanzanian border we were offered the option to walk across the border which was like a level of Frogger as you tried to dodge trucks coming from what seemed to be nowhere. At the Kenyan border we were greeted by visa forms which was only slightly better than desperately needing the toilet but being denied the use of one without paying 500 Kenyan shillings to a rather unofficial looking toilet attendant.

The Kilimanjaro Coffee Lounge Coffee :D
The drive to Nairobi was very uneventful compared to what happened next. We arrived at Nairobi airport at six o' clock although our flight wasn't until half past eleven that night. All was fine until check-in opened and we discovered the first problem of the night: Kyra wasn't booked onto the flight. Childreach still had her down for a direct return despite having said they had sorted the problem on three separate occasions. Several stressed phonecalls later and not much had been solved and Kyra's parents had to fork out the price of the remaining seat on the plane - in business class.

We hoped that would be the only disaster to strike but hoping only gets you so far. We boarded the plane and got comfy watching films and drifting off to sleep. After falling asleep on my second attempt of watching 21 Jump Street I woke up feeling light headed and dizzy so headed straight for the bathroom where I fainted and then proceeded to be sick in the toilet. Being the hypochondriac that I am I assumed it was malaria and said my kudo's to timing. However on emerging from the bathroom everyone commented on my yellow complexion just as our team leader- Jane- suddenly reached for a sick bag and I realised it was obviously something more contagious. Understandably we barely noticed that we had been stationary for two hours but the pilot announced that there was a problem with the weather radar and after attempts to repair the fault they would have to replace it. This meant our flight was cancelled and we would have to stay in Nairobi for a night as well as missing all of our onward connections. By this point I wasn't 100% aware of what was going on and one by one members of the group were running to the bathroom or finding the nearest bin as they caught the Nairobi Express.

Our hotel room in Nairobi. Even with gastroenteritis I had
blogging on the brain!
We were shepherded through visa control as we got stamped back into Kenya for the third time. Our leader was now in a wheelchair and I was experiencing what I can only imagine was nothing short of contractions so we were rushed to the front of the taxi queue - to the surprising distaste of others in the line. Jane, Keith and Jill headed off in a taxi as Jane needed to go somewhere to lie down straight away but when we got on our dalalala we were taken to a different hotel. We all thought we had checked into this five star hotel but it turned out their wasn't enough room for us - probably to do with acquiring an extra American girl and Swiss man to our group- but I was too busy being a classy bird and throwing up in their garden to notice. The group crashed out in the hotel lounge thinking this was more than suitable accommodation for the night but Dan managed to organise another bus to a new hotel. Dan was our absolute rock for these several blurred hours as he somehow wasn't getting ill and managed to sort everything as well as delivering great hugs to the infected and effected. It was about 6am by now and we were all crashing out on the ground outside and although the bus ride was short I still managed to continually find use for the sick bags from the plane. I was rushed to the bathroom as soon as we arrived and I barely had time to notice we were in the fanciest hotel I have ever seen and it was the same one I had eyed it up when we first arrived in Nairobi. A Swiss airline paying for our accommodation is one of the silver linings of  our flight cancellation - if only I was physically fit to enjoy it!

I got the first glimpse of myself in the mirror and I couldn't work out if it was the artificial lighting or my face giving off the yellowish glow. Kyra and I were still the only ones in this group showing symptoms so we quarantined ourselves in a room. We concluded we couldn't take anything into our bodies as it just came straight back out again. Lets just say that the taste of mango juice has been well and truly ruined. The time in the hotel was a complete blur as we were too ill to enjoy any of the facilities and the paid buffet breakfast was definitely out of bounds so the night was spent moving between the toilet and bed as we caught up on the nights sleep.

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