Karibu (Welcome) from Morogoro, Tanzania!
After a night in DC, 13 hours to Ethiopia, 2 1/2 hours to Tanzania, a night in Dar, a 4ish hour bus ride, I made it to my home for the next few weeks with Patrick! Traveling to and in Africa is never a simple task. However, compared to our trip to Uganda in 2010, the roads and systems in Tanzania are slightly upgraded.
If you ever find yourself needing to travel to Africa, specifically Tanzania, here is some points to take note for a better journey.
I flew into DC on Saturday and stayed the evening at the Westin Washington-Dulles Airport Hotel. Best choice made in my entire trip. The Westin shuttle picks up every 15 and 45 on the hour. Thanks to United, my bags were priority and came up quickly. I shuffled around and made it directly on the 5:15 pm shuttle back to the Westin without any wait. I felt like I had won the lottery considering my bag weighed 41 pounds, plus I had my backpack and swingpack all on me.
Once I got to the Westin, their restaurant had a dinner special- 1/3 pd burger, fries, and a beer for $10. Pretty sure I can’t even get all of that in OK for that price. Done. The staff was family oriented, which I loved. After dinner, several Lifetime movies, a 5 mile run, and a specially made fruit bowl down at the bar, I forced my excitement aside and went to sleep.
Sunday morning I made the 7:30 am shuttle to catch my 10:30 am flight. My luck did not continue on Sunday. I stood in line to check-in at Ethiopian Airlines for an hour. Please note, my 41 pd bag does not roll. Got swell that morning in my arm workout. Security in the DC-Dulles Airport blows. I felt like I was in first grade and if I stepped out of line once, my recess was going to be taken away. Can’t complain too much though, my bags were fine and I wasn’t held. I made it to my gate and Fudruckers was the only option for breakfast. Yea, I didn’t know they served breakfast either…. After ordering a Turkey and Swiss English Muffin, fruit cup, and drink for $12, I realized I should have eaten the breakfast buffet at the hotel for $15. My tummy would have been much more satisfied.
My flight from DC to Ethiopia was actually decent. I had the middle section back row aisle seat. Met a lady working for a health organization traveling to Ethiopia. She was about my age, traveling alone, and seemed knowledgable about what we were doing, so I was immediately comforted. My two row buddies were chill too. Only downside, the bathroom was my neighbor on the right. God was looking out for me though, no crazy smells of diarrhea or throw-up. PLT. After watching Stoker, Trance, an episode of New Girl and How I Met Your Mother, one Cosmo magazine later, we were in Ethiopia. Another note, the Ethiopia airport is probably the scariest airport I have ever been in. I literally stood for a solid 10 minutes staring at people hoping for a sign of what I was supposed to do. Well, fortunately I figured it out.
This is when the tears came. When boarding the flight from Ethiopia to Tanzania, my backpack and water bottle failed me. I was quickly stuffing my backpack in the overhead compartment, when this European man starting yelling at me. Startled, I looked down and saw his pants wet. First thought, he just peed himself. Realization, my water bottle just leaked all over him. I immediately apologized, but he was pissed. Despite that I could not understand what he was saying, “stupid” is a universal term people. I tried to explain it was just water, which didn’t help. Great. My eyes welled up. I hadn’t slept, just got yelled at, full of female emotions and just wanted my husband. Two more hours. Come on Kali, you can do it. THEN, we finally arrived. After literally getting pushed around (FYI, Africans don’t wait for the seatbelt light to go off to get up), I grabbed my belongings and played follow-the-leader until I made it to customs.
This is where it gets fun. Filled out my blue customs form. Realized I needed a white visa form. If you ever travel abroad, you need the address you are staying at, phone number, and your personal information. I write this because I was shocked when I noticed how many people my age had no idea either what their local address was or where they were even staying. So I took my papers, passport, $100 bill, and stood in the first visa line. If you don’t get sassy with people, this is a time that you must learn or you will be in line for the rest of your life. See, many people do not understand what waiting in line is. They only understand cutting in line. So you get sassy and remind them nicely, there is a line. Then, scary part. You hand over your paperwork, passport, and $100 bill to a man in a uniform. After the mom-daughter trapped in Belize situation, this was not something I was fond of doing. Don’t worry though, amongst the mass chaos, your passport and customs form somehow makes it back to you… about 45 minutes later. I had to stand in a new line, and hope that I hear my last name called. Kay-wee Bell was called- that’s me! Jolted through customs, found my bag, skipped declaring any items with a smile, and saw Mr. Patrick Bell waiting for me!
After writing this, I realize how childish I was. All my travels went well and I made it there safely. However, when you have seen Lifetime movies and Taken, bad thoughts consume you. Oh, and flying over 17 hours alone is not ideal. Take a friend if possible.
Patrick hired a driver that took us to our hotel, Safari Inn, in Dar. We offered him some cookies, trying to be nice, when he told us he was fasting because of Ramadan. Patrick forgot. Fail, again. Make sure to do your research before traveling to prevent this. He was able to eat at 6:25 pm that day though, only three more hours for him to wait. He was so kind and forgiving in that moment. If I had been fasting all day, including no water, I would have been beyond hangry if someone offered me cookies.
Our evening in Dar consisted of wandering around, drinking juice by the Indian Ocean, and beef soup and rice for dinner.
Monday morning we made our journey from Dar to Morogoro. After getting settled at the Forestry Guesthouse at Sokoine University of Ag, we walked to town. Patrick swears it’s a little over a mile walk. I beg to differ. My Garmin and I are going to prove him wrong today. I got the biggest avocados I have ever seen at the open market. Stoked about that.
I finally got to meet Claire and Tony, both grad students at The Ohio State and Patrick’s roomies this summer. We had dinner at the Suasa (su-a-sa) Club on-campus. We ordered as if we were at a tapas bar, aka topless bar to Patrick. Chicken pizza, chicken stir-fry, steak stir-fry, and Safari beers filled our table… 45 minutes later. While we waited, I learned the card game, Euchre. Apparently it is THE game you play in Ohio. When you have people over to hang-out, Euchre is the entertainment as long as you only have four people. I loved learning about our hew home and making friends that will help the transition be a tad smoother.
Now, I am spending my first morning as a stay at home wife. TOTALLY loving it. I am sure by day 10 I might be bored, but right now is rocks.
Upcoming blog posts:
Foodie Friday- African Style
Enjoy your day today! Make every second count.