Well, it wouldn’t be a trip with Katie involved without some sort of hangup. Anyone who has heard one of my travel stories (especially international travel) from anytime in the past 5 years knows that there is almost always something that goes awry. This time it included an all-expenses paid 27 hour vacation in the Republic of Kenya. This is our story.
For starters, one or both of our flights to Cameroon has changed every two weeks since we booked the tickets. 12 hours here, 20 minutes there. 2 days forward, 2.5 back. The final departure time that was given to us was 1:50am on 1 May with a 1 hour layover in Nairobi. This would have gotten us to Yaounde around 10am today. This was not to be.
Upon arriving at OR Tambo airport in Jo-burg at 11:30 last night and walking halfway across the country of South Africa with our bags to the departure counters, we went to a self-check-in machine and printed out our boarding passes for our two flights. 15 minutes later, after weighing our bags and redistributing our 2kgs of extra weight into our hand luggage, we proceeded to the check-in counter to hand in our bags.
At this counter, we were informed that the airline didn’t know what time our flight to Nairobi was going to leave, since the airplane had not shown up yet. Because of this, they told us that we were going to miss our connection to Yaounde. So, our options were to either come back again today or spend a day of layover in Nairobi and catch the next flight out on 2 May. Not having a way to get back to Urban Life, we chose the latter.
We negotiated our way through security in Jo-burg and found our gate, but still had no idea when our flight was going to be leaving. Now, I had been up since 2:15am already due to an overactive imagination and a severe case of hypochondria, so I was dragging my feet to begin with. Then, we got to the gate and found out that our flight would not be leaving until after the original 2am departure time. At 1:30am they updated our departure time to 3am. So, at about 3:20, we departed for Nairobi.
But wait, there’s more!
Will and I had prepared to spend a day in Nairobi. We threw an extra pair of underwear in our hand luggage and sent an email to our connection in Yaounde informing her that we would be arriving a day later. We were pretty chillax about it all…or super tired. But, when we arrived in Nairobi, prepared to get our hotel voucher and have some downtime in our journey, we were told that we might be able to actually catch our original flight.
What about our baggage that was checked through tomorrow? What about the arrangements for transportation that we had moved to the next day? Never mind that we have these questions, we don’t even know where to go to ask them. So, we muddle our way through the airport in Nairobi, eventually finding the transfer service counter who then tells us that we actually missed the flight to Yaounde anyway. Sigh.
So, we work our way through the terminal again asking our way around until we were directed to get in an airport taxi which took us to the Border control. We filed for a transit visa and got them. Then went to the hotel services counter, then to a bus, then to a hotel that was not our hotel, followed by a hotel that was our hotel.
Tired and hungry at 10am, Will and I arrived at a wonderfully swanky hotel, welcomed with warm smiles. We were fed and shown to our room where we are now taking a nap…well Will is. I’m writing to you all.
Now, we wait. Not a bad way to spend 24 hours! We could use the pool or the spa or eat or any number of other things. For now, we nap. We are hoping to leave Kenya at 11:20 tomorrow morning.
We will keep you updated as things unfold!