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Leaving Nairobi

On again, off again, almost on the way. . .

sunny 21 °C
View The World 2007 on lloydthyen's travel map.

Ok – Lloyd’s turn to do a bit of writing. Jacquie is much better and more polished than I am, so I should probably keep it “short and sweet”.

After lions, leopards, cheetah, rhino and water buffaloes the most dangerous part of leaving Kenya was Nairobi. Whether it was the “Death Race 2000” style driving (not quite as bad as Cairo, which shall be covered in a separate blog!) or the general disorder of the city itself, our short time there (a single overnight in an exceptionally safe hotel – see TripAdvisor posting by Jacqiue here-) came to an exciting conclusion with a passenger mutiny on our flight out of Nairobi (luckily on the GROUND!).

To be fair, a bit of concern was in order when we were delayed leaving due to “navigational systems problems” that left us waiting on the plane for an hour or so, prior to pushback. Upon pushback (by a large tractor with the Boeing 767 on external air-conditioning – which means, all the doors open!!) the pilot attempted to go from the external power unit to the plane’s own, which resulted in a difficult to describe crunchy-churning sound. Kind of like my 1983 Ford Escort (that I got from my brother Roger in 1993 when I went to college) when it was near death. Not so good comparing a 1983 Ford to a late model Boeing 767. In any event, the real fun then started with numerous passengers standing, shouting and refusing to allow the plane to taxi, take off or move. It was like nervous Zebra on the plains of the Masai Mara – no sense, no reason, just scared. I’ll admit my concerns, however, I suppose the recent crash of an Kenya Airways flight probably played a role.

After a 10 or 15 minute standoff (during which the crew disappeared for fear of lynching) the pilot announced he needed all aboard to be seated and buckled in to move back to the gate. Again, nobody moved, as they figured it was a trick by the pilot to take-off. Not being such a cunning sort, the pilot did take us back, whereupon, we all disembarked, only to listed to the shortest and quietest ground crew member announce that the plane was serviceable, the flight would go, and anyone not wishing to be on board could stay and take the flight the following day. Of course, a number jumped up, yelled, and demanded an “independent government inspector” to check the plane. The rest of us jumped up, boarding pass in hand and moved to re-board. Which we did, and the fact I am writing this means, well, we landed safely and without catastrophic event.

nairobi-departure.jpg

So . . . 6 hour delay behind us, we had only one piece of the itinerary (tightly scheduled by Jacquie!) that was uncertain – getting from Lusaka, Zambia to Livingstone, Zambia. The only thing we really had was the chance to catch a bus locally, which had long since left before our departure from Nairobi. As luck would have it, we found a very reasonable flight wit Air Zambia on a puddle jumper. The 45 minute flight (better than 6 hours on a bus!) even afforded us a quick view of the falls as we approached Livingstone.

Posted by lloydthyen 17:20 Archived in Kenya Tagged round_the_world

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