Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
129Trip End Ongoing
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We arrived in Nairobi at 6.15 local time and our connecting flight to Kilimanjaro wasn't leaving till 11.00. It was one of those dreadful head lolling times when you're sitting in an uncomfortable chair, absolutely dog tired, drifting in and out of consciousness.
Eventually time came to board the flight to Kili - it was to be a half hour flight and I haven't seen such efficiency in a long time - in that short half an hour we took off, had hot towels come round, hot towels cleared away, we were served with two lots of mixed nuts and a drink of our choice, which was just as promptly cleared away, just in time for our landing to be announced, a few minutes later we were back on the ground and going into the terminal building.
As it turned out, we ended up being in the airport for probably longer than the flight had been - first of all we had to fill out the obligatory landing cards and as we were approaching passport control, I suddenly had a cold feeling come across me, we had our yellow fever injections, but I had forgotten to bring our vaccination certificates to prove it - and it was my responsibility to bring them. I was hoping and praying that we'd just be waved through, but no such luck - Yellow Fever certificate? The lady says - my heart sank - I explained to her that we've had the vaccinations, but had forgotten the certificates and after a long conversation she points me to this small room at the back of the hall.
John and I head towards the room, where there is a man inside dealing with 3 men. As we wait in the doorway I whispered to John, this is gonna cost us, he'll ask for money. After he finished talking to the men in front of us he beckons us in and takes our passports and landing cards - Yellow Fever Certificate? He questions - John tells him that this is our problem, we've had the injections, but we forgot the certificates. "Hmm, you forget certificates" he says rubbing his hand across his chin "This is problem". He then asks us various questions about when we had these injections and how come we forgot the certificates. We tell him that we've come straight from England and didn't leave the airport at Nairobi - he does lots of umming and aahing and more telling us "This is problem" - In the back of my mind, I knew money would exchange hands and we'd be on our way, but I was getting a bit apprehensive as we'd been there for what seemed like ages and no talk of money had been raised - then the key point in the conversation came - "well, I believe you have these injection and am willing to believe on trust that you have them, but they won't let you through gate without certificate, you understand?" ah hah - at last we cut to the chase, how much is this gonna cost us I'm thinking. So we dance around the issue a bit more before he finally says "To have injection cost 50 US Dollar each, but I trust you, so I write out certificate for you, no having injection for half price - 50 US Dollar total". Obviously we agree to this and he says "come through here - someone might be watching" and we go into an even smaller room where he says "You understand if anyone ask you, you tell them I give you shot in top of left arm" as he pats his left shoulder - again we agree, and after he writes out our certificates and gives them the official stamp, we pass over the money, shake hands and walk freely through passport control. The woman on the desk asked how our arms were, but really I'm pretty sure she must know what goes on.
Kinda strange I know, but I actually loved every minute of it in an odd sort of way - I've always wanted to know how these transactions take place, and now I do - first hand!!
The taxi drives us the 45 minutes to our lodge where our safari guide is picking us up from in the morning. By the time we arrive I'd now had one hours sleep in around 34 hours, so we had a quick bite to eat and went to our room to sleep. We had planned on just sleeping for an hour or so and then going to investigate for a few hours before dinner - that didn't happen - we fell asleep, both seemed to wake up at the same time around an hour later, looked at each other across the room, smiled and just turned over and went back to sleep. Got up with enough time to have a shower in the wonderfully hot and powerful shower before making our way to get some dinner.
Tomorrow is more dream fulfilling time. Roll on the morning.