Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Long, Wonderful Day of Traveling

A Message from Pastor Joe, who has just arrived in Tanzania -

Well...though I've seen nothing of it as yet...I'm in Tanzania. Arrived in the dark (and I mean dark...airport is in the middle of nowhere) then had a shuttle (via personal driver in a truck with no instrument panel, cracked front windshield and over speed bumps that would rattle your teeth). An hour later we arrived in Arusha. The driver beeped, door to back alley was opened, and we pulled into what he said was the nicest hotel in town. There is a goat outside the back window now, laundry handing from the balconies...let's say, "It ain't the Hilton". Eager to see what daylight brings.

Have hooked up with my brother Pete. We rest up tomorrow before starting to hike on Saturday...hopefully. Challenge now is that I took a trial dose of the diamox (altitude medicine) on Sunday afternoon. It had an adverse effect on me, as it does with some...diminishing my breath which has now been shallow all week. Can't see hiking up the mountain on half lung capacity. We'll see. If I can't commune with the mountain I'll commune with the giraffes, I suppose.

Be prepared for bedlam at the airport. The visa process took me an hour, mostly beecause I got in the wrong line (especially humorous after last Sunday's sermon, but not after 23 hours of traveling). If there is any way to have one person check the group in, by all or any means, do it. I paid $200. My brother paid nothing. Person beside me paid $50. Seemed no rhyme or reason. You will receive no forms on the plane, rather as you enter the airport. Be prepared for frustration. The cards are a bit different from the samples we have, but the information is basically the same.

I am not sure of your itinerary, but I had very little time to spare in Amsterdam. No dallying there.

The seat configuration on the KLM flight was different than NW. Anyone with claustrophobia should beward of window seats. They are tight and you have to climb over two other (often sleeping) fellow travelers to reach the aisle.

While you need your passport at every turn, you will not need your vaccination cards.

Well it's after 11 now and the bed (with mosquitto netting around it) is calling rather loudly. A long, wonderful day of traveling.

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