Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crossing the Pond

Bonjour!! Just arrived in France! My travel started today at 5am as I left my parent’s house in Connecticut en route to the Hartford/Springfield Airport. As always, I found myself rushing more than what was probably necessary and arrived at the check-in gate in a sweat to receive my ticket and check luggage. Upon handing my passport to the clerk I could tell by his frustration that he was perplexed by the airline & airport codes that the screen displayed. After informing him that my final destination for the day (24+ hours of travel) was Nairobi and that I would be boarding Kenya Airways for my final leg of the journey he told me that he had never, in his 15+ years of service at BDL, seen those codes. For the first time I think I realized that I will be going somewhere and doing something that very few Americans have had the chance to experience.

3hrs later I arrived in Atlanta with a 5hr layover. As I reached for my pocket to grab my phone to check emails and text messages I remembered that my phone had been packed and left behind, as it would not be necessary in Eldoret. Given that I had a cellphone in my pocket for the last 10+ years it is definitely an insecure yet liberating feeling! Having already grabbed a coffee and a bagel I sat down for the first time in over a year to read a book. I should clarify that I have ready many books over the past year but none that were not a required or suggested reading for my MBA classes. This may seem odd but I always felt that if I had time to read, that reading time would be best spent on class material and studying ( Lame … I know). My first book of the day was “Walking Together, Walking Far” which provided a history on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kenya as well as a biography of AMPATH, the NGO that I will be working with this summer. Given the relevance of the topic and my enthusiasm to learn more about the situation I finished the book within a few hours. This reading only helped to further fuel my excitement for the trip.

The next leg of my journey started at 3:15pm as I departed for Paris. Upon boarding the plane I was relieved to find that I was seated in an Exit row … a little extra leg room on a 9hr flight is always a good thing. We sat on the tarmac for over an hour and half, which in Atlanta makes for a sauna. Luckily, I was sitting next to a gentleman with a good sense of humor and enough stories of traveling the world to fill the time. After a meal and a glass of wine I managed a few hours of sleep before landing in Paris. After collecting my luggage I met up with my friend, classmate and now Kenya travel companion Nick. Having re-checked baggage, received tickets and passed through immigration we are both working on updating our blogs (we’ll see who finishes first!). In a few minutes we’ll be en route to Kenya!

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