Heading Home (8/7-8/8)
I flew Northwest and KLM airlines home. Here was my flight schedule.
Total Flight Time: 21 hours 44 min
At 6:00 pm a driver from Bushbuck picked me up. We drove to the airport. Today was market day. Near the main road it was packed with people. We could barely drive through. People were selling all kinds of stuff. Everything from food to everyday essential items. According to my driver, the market was not as packed as usual today. There was some big festival in Arusha.
Down the main road we passed a field with lots of people. There were some rally cars there also. It turns out there is a big rally in the area on Sunday. They would be cool to watch.
On the drive we also had an exceptional view of Kilimanjaro. There were no clouds around it. It just rose up in front of us. What a send off!
At the airport I went through all of the screening and checking in processes. The waiting area was pretty small. There were several stores there. I checked out a few of them. I bought a few t-shirts at one store. One was a cool design of Kilimanjaro with the altitude on it. It wasn't until I got home I realized they had the wrong height for Kilimanjaro. They had 19,934 ft. Oh well, it's still a cool shirt. I also got a Kilimanjaro beer shirt.
Finally the plane arrived. They really hustle to turn it around. About 45 min or so after it landed we were boarding. The guy at the gate made a bunch of announcements. The trouble was no on could understand him. So chaos ensued and everyone just headed to the plane. We crossed the tarmac and loaded up. The plane was about 30 per cent full.
So we took off for an hour flight to Dar es Salaam. Here we landed and stayed on the plane. They serviced the plane some more. Then the crowd came on. The plane was totally filled. Oh well, so much for some extra space.
It was a long, long flight to Amsterdam. I slept some and watched a bunch of movies. Some I had seen on my flights over. We landed in Amsterdam and I had a little time to kill. I headed to the food area and bought a couple of pastries and a coke for a mere $8. I checked out the shops, but didn't find anything that seemed worth buying. I must give a big thumbs up to their bathrooms. They were clean and very nice. The stall had color pictures of Holland on them and there was a janitor constantly cleaning the place.
I then headed to the gate to get ready for the flight to Minneapolis. You had to go through a pretty intense screening process. First they scan your passport and pull up information on you. Then you get questioned by security officer for 3 or 4 minutes. Then we got to hang in a lounge area until the plane was ready. Well it arrived a little late, so we were slightly delayed in taking off. Of course this flight was all jam packed. No personal video systems for the poor people in coach this time. So more movies to watch. I read some and was able to sleep a little.
We arrived in Minneapolis and had to go through US Customs. Why are the lines for U.S. citizens longer then the lines for visitors? Oh well, I have 6 or more hours to kill here. Once through customs, I checked out the airport. It's quite nice. They have a big shopping area and lots of places to eat. I needed an American hamburger, so I had lunch at Burger King. I was going to go the the Mall of America which is near by, but I just didn't have the energy to go through the entire screening process again. I hung out at the airport and read the Sunday paper.
Of course my last connection home was delayed over an hour. We finally boarded, then we had to wait to get pushed back, then we had to wait to get on the runway, then we had to wait to take off. It must have been over an hour before we were actually airborne.
At last, the plane landed at RDU. I made my way downstairs and found Karen and Wyatt. It was great to see them. Wyatt looked like he had grown some over the past two weeks. We waited forever for our luggage. Finally the luggage showed up. We headed to the car and home.