smallplaneI’m not quite sure how long we’ve been traveling. We’ve crossed so many time zones, had so many flights and so many layovers that we could have been on our journey for days. I’m guessing we were traveling for at least 36 hours. Face it, there is no easy way to get to East Africa from San Francisco. Perhaps if we could bore straight through the earth on an angle that would streamline the process. Because to get here, we’ve had to cross into a different hemisphere and the complete opposite in latitude. Let me just tell you the itinerary and you tell me how long our “travel day” has been.

The plane left San Francisco Thanksgiving day at 7:45 PM. Ten and a half hours later, we landed in London where it was 2 PM the next day. After a five hour layover, we boarded an eight and a half hour flight to Nairobi where it was 6:30 Saturday morning.

Once we hit Africa, the real work of traveling began, usually punctuated in tiny airports with no air conditioning. We wandered around during a two and half hour layover in Nairobi, then boarded a one hour flight to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. We cooled our heels on a two hour layover then jumped into a crop duster for a one hour flight for Lake Manyara. That one flight actually involved several ascents and descents as we dropped off at various small airstrips to refuel and change pilots.

african airport

Sometimes I think they touched down just to give us a few minutes to enjoy waiting rooms such as this one.

Finally, after two wildly bumpy small plane flights — if you count the end of a flight as any time when you have to disembark from a plane — we were done with air travel. But we still had a one and a half hour drive up to the Lodge which is on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. Too bad that by this time, we didn’t even know our own names. Because it suddenly got very civilized.

tea in Africa

Our excellent driver had set up a table with tea, beer, water and curried chicken sandwiches. We were starting to feel a little more like Hemingway.

Barack Obama gift shop

There was no time or energy for shopping or stopping, but I did snap this picture of a Democratically targeted “shopping mall” in Kitale.

Finally, we were at the closest point I got to the Crater on my last trip to Africa.

Finally, we were at the closest point I got to the Crater on my last trip to Africa.

You may remember from my postings on that trip I had been getting progressively sicker through the night and into the morning, I seem to remember stumbling through this small museum before continuing to projectile vomit on the side of the parking lot. Shortly after, I was rushed to a clinic for IV rehydration. I’m hoping for a better experience this trip.

Our driver was in constant radio communication with the lodge. He must have told them what a state we were in.

When we arrived, a bath was drawn and fresh flowers were in the room.

When we arrived, a bath was drawn and fresh flowers were in the room.

I think I counted more than 36 hours of travel. But the time changes are confusing me. And at this point I barely cared — even in the interest of detailed blogging. I had every intention of walking around the compound and taking photographs. But we just showered, bathed, collapsed on the bed and completely missed dinner. Tomorrow, we’ll be in the Land Rover at 6 AM for our ride into the Crater.

ngorongoro crater

About all I could do was snap a shot of the Crater from our balcony.

I suppose I should have used all that layover time to craft a better blog post. But running around snapping pictures in the Business Class lounges marks you as the kind of rube who only gets to go to these places when her husband cashes in all his frequent flyer miles. It’s apparently frowned on to take pictures of the bars, food spreads and bathroom facilities. So I used my travel time differently. I caught up on my tabloids, and took advantage of all the freebies being offered such as showers and 20 minute facials at the Clarins spa.

However, I did not neglect my duty to report on Creative Use of Terrier Motifs in Retail.

leather terrier

I’m pleased to note that the MCM store at Heathrow is accessorizing with leather Smooth Fox Terriers adorned with Louis Vuitton logos.