It was a strange feeling having to rely on a taxi to the airport given my mum usually does the trip for me at record pace. The driver was 5 minutes late and definitely resorted in a few tense moments. He eventually turned up and we were off – mother and daughter trip to Kenya for safari and beach, what more could you really want?? When deciding on the company to fly with I chose KLM mainly due to positive previous experiences and reasonable price so I was met with dismay when we arrived at the airport to be met with a queue of at least 100 people snaking out of the set up barriers and along the departure hall. Not what I expected. I had only left us an hour and a half so it was just not going to happen with queues like this. I waited 5 minutes before heading to the front to scope out our options. A tiny bit of flirting with Julian left us second from the front and he even came over to send our bags down a quick baggage drop shoot since you print your labels at the check-in kiosks. We flew through security (or at least I did, my mum of course got body scanned) and even managed a quick stop at EAT for a chai latte and avocado sourdough before we were off to Amsterdam. Or at least we thought so. We were all loaded ready to taxi when the captain informed us there was an issue with cargo – ie. it didn’t all fit and the groundstaff were going to have to repack the plane. Come on Edinburgh Airport – I expect better!!
After a 50 minute delay we were off. I had not had the sense of forethought to check us in ahead of time and so we weren’t sitting together but behind each other on the aisle in the extra legroom seats – win! I was next to a lovely older couple – Sybil and Ian from Anstruther and we had the perfect amount of chat, allowing me to partake in my usual sleepathon. Ian was a skipper of a boat and so was very interested in my diving and Sybil was a train lover and so wanted all of the train low down. They were lovely company and it was nice to offer some friendly advice (like when Ian spilt his cola because he didn’t realise you have to put it in the circle cup holders on your tray or it slides off). When we got off and finally found a transfer board, around a 10 minute walk from the gate we disembarked at, I made sure to check their onward flight details and sort them out with directions. A very sweet couple. We headed over to the F section of the terminal and unfortunately were yet again delayed. In the 10 flights I have taken so far in 2017 all 10 have been delayed, you just couldn’t make that up.
We finally boarded and were seated next to a nice local Kenyan lady. I had some initial technical issues with my entertainment but it was fixed within the hour and I managed to fit in Hacksaw Ridge and Pete’s Dragon between my many meals of (1) coleslaw salad, chicken rice, cheese and crackers and profiteroles; (2) ice-cream and juices; (3) tomato, mozzarella and pesto, pizza and panna cotta. I was absolutely stuffed all washed down with wine and G&Ts. The pros of long haul flights. We had some gorgeous mountain views over the Alps in Italy and then the deserts of Egypt before a gorgeous sunset and of course me sleeping for a few hours. What else are flights for? We landed after 7 and a half hours and unfortunately had to wait in a very slow and long queue to be stamped into Kenya despite ordering our visa online in advance. Those that had not whizzed through immigration. Luckily our cases were waiting for us, despite the carousel stopping due to a power-cut – what better sign to tell us we were in Africa. Our driver was waiting outside and in under 20 minutes we were being welcomed with hot towels and mango juice to the Saab Royale. It was a lovely modern hotel close to the airport and the attractions we wanted to visit the following day. We settled in for the night, almost too excited to sleep. Hello Africa, it’s been a while.