Well the day has finally arrived! I am at YVR airport patiently waiting for my flight to Seattle and then connect on to Amsterdam and finally to Kilimanjaro. Actual flying time is around 19 hours and will arrive at the Kilimanjaro airport Friday night at 8pm – all going well.
The day started early with a 5am wake up call and a very early arrival at the airport . Check-in, security and even US customs were a breeze and I found myself near my gate at 7am, a mere 4 hours before departure!
So what’s a gal to do for 4 hours? You got it, have a leisurely breakfast and some last minute airport shopping! I was told to check out the new Canucks Bar and Grill that just opened. What a treat, the waiter was extremely courteous and attentive and I had the most delicious eggs benedict I have ever had in my life! I chose their version of the West Coast Benny which consisted of in house avocado salsa, grilled prawns and the MOST amazing sauce. If you are flying to the US, you must go early and try it for yourself. My only regret is I rarely fly stateside, but may have to change that – this is the only one of its kind………so far.
Belly pleasantly full , I proceeded to another of my favourite pastimes – buying gifts for my African ‘brother’ Wachira or John as he goes by. I received an email just this morning that he is planning to meet us in Arusha for a day or so and I was ecstatic! The last time I saw both him and Mumbi (Mary) was in 2005 when we climbed Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro. I filled my already bulging backpack with Vancouve t-shirts and hats for his family as well as the good old Canadian traditional gifts of wild smoked salmon, maple syrup and maple cookies. How Canadiana is that!
I arrive at my gate well before departure and thankfully our flight is right on time – connections always make me nervous and with only 2 hours between flights I was very happy to be taking off.
The flight to Seattle was pleasant and I had plenty of time to connect with my flight to Amsterdam. And good thing too as the airport is a labyrinth of trains, departure gates, travellers busily going every which way.
My Delta flight left right on schedule and I settled into my window seat for the 9 hour flight in anticipation of watching as many movies as possible while sipping a nice glass of red wine (ok decent airline wine). Two movies later and still 3 hours left to go, it has actually gone by quite quickly.
A good start which promises a great adventure!