So travel. Here I am travelling from one time zone to another. 8 hours ahead or 8 hours behind. Wearing on the body, mind and soul. However as I have already proven on completing marathons with very little sleep beforehand, the body may think it is tired, but the mind is the one that wins to perservere through anything.
My preparation the week before Kilimanjaro saw me jumping time zones. Work and jet lag screwed with my body mechanics, telling it that it should be awake when really the darkness outside meant it should be asleep. Jetlag and marathons, now have taught me the body and mind are not always congruous. However, at some point they will catch up with each other. The week before leaving to Tanzania, I averaged 3 hours sleep each night as my system tried to catch up with flying from LA to UK.
One week later: Packing was done the night before leaving. Thankfully Pete and Tess tell me they managed to get their tyre "Amani" (means Peace in Swahili) through into Tanzania, so I would not have to bring his sister "Upendo" (means Love).
10:15am: "This is your captain speaking, our flight out of Heathrow will be delayed by 1 and a half hours"
Hmm that would mean we would miss our connecting flight to Kilimanjaro Airport. Well am too tired to be worried about it.
My travel buddy (Jess) and I dozed throughout an Air Kenya flight trying to catch up with forgotten sleep. Well after yakking, there was not much to do as our TV screens did not work. Our entertainment would later arrive with the antics of a bunch of "lads" getting drunk on the flight, and as they passed around a bar of chocolate, Jess could not help but drool and "want" the chocolate. Of course a little conversation emerged and we found out these lads were intending to climb Kilimanjaro within in a couple of days. Thankfully not at the same time as us. I could only imagine their dehydration and then AMS (acute mountain sickness) chasing them up the mountain.
Arriving about 1.5 hours late into Nairobi, we found that our next connecting flight, Air Precission, had been delayed for just the two of us!
12th September: Welcome to Tanzania
Midnight: we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport. Coming from Nairobi, we were requested to show our yellow fever vaccination certificates. Jess' certificate was some years out of date, but explaining to the official that we only transited through Nairobi, he let us through. (Note to all: Kenya has a high risk of Yellow Fever and it is a requirement to have a Yellow Fever vaccination plus certificate if you visit the country before Tanzania, otherwise you risk not being allowed into the country. In the UK, prices vary at different clinics from £50 to £80).
00:30am: We paid immigration for our visas (50 USD for British Nationals/100 USD for US Nationals) and picked up our luggage. Outside the baggage area we expected a meet and greet service from TeamKilimanjaro to take us to our final resting place for the night. There were some faces and pieces of paper displayed to us, but none related to us.
So here we were in a little airport, in the dead of night, tired from a 12 hour journey. A couple of "taxi drivers" approached us about using their service. Besides them, there was no-one else around. 1am was looming and with no sign of our meet and greet service, decide to go with a taxi who would charge a set rate of $50USD to the Outpost (our hotel). Jess was unsure, but I figured that if anything happened my aggressive side would put up a good fight! The car was not marked as a "taxi" but my gut feeling assured me all would be good.
01:15am: After a little chat with the taxi driver, Augustine, and finding out he lived 5 minutes from the airport, he became a little distracted but tried to look cool and calm. He turned his car into a petrol station and honked his horn. The roads were quiet, it was a Sunday and it was the early morning. It certainly did not look like there would be a soul around! I looked at the petrol gauge and saw that Augustine's tank was running close to empty. "Hakkana Matata" he responded to allay my concerns. We left the petrol station, and visited 2 more. Third time lucky, his beeping horn at the third petrol station awoke someone who supplied our taxi with a quarter of a tank of petro;, enough petrol for Augustine to drop us off and get back home. (I would later find out it is common practice for vehicles not to fill up with petrol. Perhaps this is precautionary due to petrol being siphoned from vehicles or to reduce the likelihood of vehicles being stolen!).
02:15am: We arrived at our final destination and a receptionist woke up to provide us a room. We were given a pokey little twin bed room. We found there was no running water for a shower or to fill the kettle for a cup of tea - later reading about water rationing in the area! Still our spirits were high and both Jess and I agreed not to wake up early and to sleep into the afternoon. And as I tried to snuggle into bed, I found that the bed was too short for me!! A kid's sized bed......best to laugh about it and do something about it in the later morning. To top it off, the mattress had a "ditch" in it. Great.....great.....great!!!
Next installement will be written up by 9th October.