Horseshoeing the world

Chicago Travel Blog

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I got up at 5:30 for my 8:05 flight from Cabo to Dallas.  I made sure I took a shower since I would be sitting in either a car, plane or airport terminal for next 30 to 54 hours.  Due to the stress of missing my flight the day before, the sheer shock that it happened, and the anxiety of whether my luggage or myself not making it to Kenya, I probably slept 30 minutes the night before.  Well I loaded up the car and Sasha met me there.  We drove uneventfully to the airport, said our goodbyes, I said my goodbyes to Cabo, and I headed into terminal 1 for the final time.  I after about a half hour wait in line, I made to the counter and all my worries were put to rest.  They were able to send my luggage directly to Nairobi, meaning I wouldn’t have to get it out of baggage claim in Chicago and recheck them for London, where I only had an hour and forty minute layover.  This relieved a lot of the stress of missing my London flight.  From there, my first flight to Dallas was uneventful, but the second I landed in the United States and walked out of the catwalk I felt this weird catharsis.  That I was in a place where things worked, or at the very least I could understand why things work the way they do.  I stopped to get something to eat and the service was great, everyone could answer my questions, and were fast and efficient.  It felt great.  But that feeling was soon shattered when I sat down at my terminal 15min before my flight was suppose to load and there was no plane at the end of the catwalk.  The sign originally said the plane was 15 minutes delayed…then 30…then an hour.  I was freaking out!  I sat there constantly refreshing the flight status on my iPhone as put my hands over my face and through my hair.  I was sure I was going to miss my flight.  I originally had and hour and 40 minutes to make my flight and now my flight was an hour late.  We finally loaded on the plane. I sat down and got ready to trying to calm myself with every passing minute.  We sat there on the tar mat for at least another forty minutes.  I was sure I was going to miss my plane to Britain.  Finally we took off and I eagerly watched the flight progress screen to see if we were making up anytime.  I flipped through the Delta World Travels Magazine, which I knew had a map of O’Hare, and plotted my route to the next gate.  I probably checked that map about every 15 minutes in order to prevent my dyslexia from spoiling my chances of making my next flight.  We did land about 20 minutes early, meaning if everything left on time, I had five minutes to get to my next flight.  The second the seatbelt light turned off, I leapt out of my seat, removed my large backpack for the overhead compartment and sprinted about three feet until I was stuck in the gridlock of an airplane unloading.  Needless to say this was another tension filled fifteen minutes, but as soon as I glimpsed the open space of the segway, I shot out of the gate like a starved greyhound after a field of grazing rabbits.  Luckily I had just come from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where the only footwear is flip flops, so as I ran unapologetically through the crowded terminal those ahead of me could hear the clopping of my shoes against the marble floor and make the appropriate accommodations to get out of my way.   This certainly helped improve my time.  I must admit I started getting a bit winded as I made the turn from Terminal G to Terminal F, but then I remembered that this was a $1,500 non-refundable ticket, and picked up a second wind.  After about 30 more seconds of running, I could finally see my gate.  The waiting area was already deserted, but the Delta staff, alerted to my approach by my flip flops, was ready and at attention.  “Chris Nagel?” the man behind the desk inquired as I was still weaving through rows of unmovable waiting room furniture.  I replied, “Christian Nagel.”  The man nodded, and pointed to the gate. I had made it.  I cannot describe the catharsis that washed over my body at this point.  The weight of my backpack was gone; the butterflies in my stomach had dispersed.  I confidently handed my boarding pass to the woman, gave her a friendly nod and made my way down the segway, trying to take my time so as to cool off in brisk Chicago air.  I found my seat in the very back, but was still to winded to sit down.  I stood in the aisle attempting to catch my breath and cool off.  One of the Stewardesses asked me if there was a problem.  I said “Oh no. I’m just cooling down after a quick sprint.  After that massive energy expenditure on my part, the plane sat at the gate for the next 30minutes as my luggage leisurely made it over to our flight.   I used the time to make some phone calls to some concerned parties, and then proceeded to sit and relax; I had made it.  Everything should be easy sailing from here on out, and it was.  Made it to London no problem, Terminal 5 is Huge!!! You have to take a 10 minute bus rides just to get to different parts of the same terminal.  Stayed there for about a six hours then flew 7 hours to get to Nairobi.  Apparently it is farther from London to Nairobi than from Chicago to London.  Huh. Watched “Slum Dog Millionaire.”  It was alright.  I arrived in Nairobi at about 10pm.  So did my luggage, which was nice.  The visa fee had been cut in half recently, which was also nice.  Saved $25.   My ride was waiting for me at the terminal, also nice.  We weaved our way through a very dark Nairobi as I learned about all the positive aspects of the Kikuyu tribe, my driver’s tribe of course. As we approached my housing in the Kawangaree slum, it began to rain.  The car pulled up to a large green gate, it was pitch black with the only light around coming from the headlights.  Suddenly the gatekeeper, who is dressed in a slicker, like the killer from “I know what you did last Summer” steps into the light.  It was a tad freaky, but he seemed nice and let us in.  We made it through another gate and finally into the house thanks to volunteer from Boston named Joe.  He showed a few of the ropes such as how to use the toilet or the shower but I was tired at this point so I simply erected my mosquito net and fell asleep.  An exciting two days.

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photo by: mahoney