It’s Saturday, and I can finally enjoy this hotel, now that the phone isn’t glued to my ear. I think everyone is overjoyed at the opportunity to finally relax. It’s the first sunny day we’ve had since arriving in Nairobi, and I spend most of it roasting by the pool. I will probably regret that burn later.
This is the first time I have felt at peace since Wednesday. We have an answer. We have an end-date. We will be home on Monday at 3:50 pm.
On Sunday – departure day – we have an early check out, so we pass the time at the Capital Center, a mall just within walking distance from the hotel. We use a driver, of course, because the traffic is nearly impenetrable and certainly dangerous. It’s a small venue, and we walk through the entire building in under 10 minutes. We grab a casual lunch at a cafe, then wait for the driver to return. JD finds that a bungee jump company has set up just outside in the parking lot, so naturally, he convinces the operators to let him try. When we leave for the hotel an hour later, they are still trying to repair the damage.
Back at the hotel, we have hours to spare before our driver is due at the hotel, so exhausted, we collapse on the sofas in the cocktail lounge and sleep the afternoon away. We leave for the airport at 6 pm.
After unloading our bags and saying goodbye to John – the owner of the company that has been our transportation for these two weeks – we move towards the domestic terminal where temporary arrivals and departures are scheduled. Before us looms the burnt remains of what was the international terminal.
To think that just two weeks ago, we were standing there, in the middle of that building, waiting for our luggage to appear on the conveyor belt. It’s about a five-hour wait from this point. Passengers wait inside the terminal for their gates to be announced, and are then escorted to a tent outside. It is here that many have made their temporary home. There are chairs and bedrolls spread on the tarmac. The duty-free shop is a fold-up table. And flights are announced by a man in a reflective vest with a microphone.
I am pleasantly shocked by how little chaos there actually is. I don’t know what I expected – people sleeping on the sidewalk, panicked passengers running amok, sleep-deprived agents with voices hoarse from yelling. It certainly wasn’t organization and relatively quiet calm.
When the man in the vest announces our flight, we cross the tarmac, climb the stairs and settle in for a long flight. Only when the wheels are up am I able to kick off my sandals and shake the dust of Africa from my feet.