Everyone has arrived. Krista’s sister and her family are here now. They arrived this morning at 3:45 AM just like we did yesterday. Speaking of which, let me give a little more detail to our travels so far while Krista and all the kids are in the pool (it’s cold water – I don’t do cold water!)
We left our apartment in Germany at a decent time and a friend took us to the train station. We didn’t want to take our huge jackets as that’s just another thing to lug around and we knew we wouldn’t need them here in Kenya so we left them but instead wore layers for our trip. That was good cuz we had to wait for our train and it was cold (as in below freezing with some nice wind). Our first train came and we got on with no problems. As we got on our next train we had a little bit of a hard time finding our seats and so by the time we figured it out, people had already assumed that we were “no shows” and taken the seats. They were kind and easily moved when we showed our seat reservations. We had an early lunch on the train ride and played Uno. In the fourth seat was a lady who was rather amused by Alex’s enthuiasm. We transferred to our third train in Mannheim, Germany. This town is special as we can trace our Roes lineage to Mannheim in the 1880’s. We know they had moved to the US from here by 1890 but some time after 1880. So it was a special 12 minutes that we had to change trains there.On our third train, we found our seats just fine (we’d figured out how the numbers worked and changed now) and the a young woman was seated with us. She was reading a book in German but it was obvious that she knew English as there were a couple of times Alex said something funny and she laughed with us.
When we got to airport, we immediately made our way to the checkin counter for EgyptAir and there was a huge line. Before leaving, we had carefully weighed our baggage to make sure we were under the 20 kg weight limit but it was obvious there were many in line who were unaware of that restriction or were willing to pay for the extra weight as they had suitcases that we could fit 2 or 3 Alex’s in. The line went quickly enough however one thing that took me a little by shock was a boy running around as his family was checking in with a toy gun. Now this toy gun was very realistic looking and didn’t have any of the orange stuff on it like in the US and he was just running around pulling the trigger and you’d hear “click, click”. I wonder if that made it through security? Anyway, we were able to check it but the lady helping us was not able to print out the boarding tickets for our second leg of the trip for Alex and I. Krista’s went through just fine and so thankfully, the counter lady assigned all of our luggage to her tickets. By this time, we didn’t need to run but we needed to hurry to our gate and so off we went.
As we waited in the security line, Krista looked at me and said “I give you 2:1 odds of being stopped.” You see, for some reason I get searched more than just a few times when going through security. I remember to take everything metal off but for some reason they frequently still want to wave that wand over me. However, I thought this was uncalled for as this time I didn’t even have my computer with me. I am proud to say I wasn’t searched however my bag was retained. When they asked whose it was, I said mine and they said “Come with me!” Turns out all they wanted to do was do that bomb sniffing thing with the small patch that they rub over it and all but I’m still glad I didn’t take Krista up on the bet.
We got to the gate right at the time for boarding but that wasn’t happening. As we looked out the window, Krista went “Is that fog?”. As I looked, I figured out that it wasn’t fog but snow. Heavy snow at that and for a few minutes the windows went pure white. So after an hour and half “weather delay” and the de-icing of the plane, we were off on our first flight. A problem started stirring in my head. We were an hour and half late and our layover in Cairo was only scheduled for an hour and half. Sure enough we landed at the time our flight was to be departing and we were in the back of the plane just waiting to get out and we still needed to Alex’s and mine boarding passes.
I have to say the Cairo airport is much nicer than I thought it would be – well as much as I saw as we ran through it. Sure enough there as a long line at the “Connecting Passengers Checkin” desk and so we began waiting. Almost immediately, they began calling for people going to Nairobi and we said we were it and got to skip the line. The printed boarding tickets for us and then we raced to the gate. There were figured out that we were all seated in different places on the plane. Not good when you have a 9 year old.
We were second to last to board the flight but we still had to work on getting things arranged so that at least one of us was seated next to Alex. Some people were really nice and moved around so that Krista and Alex were seated on the back row while I had an aisle seat about 7 rows in front of them. None of us got any sleep on that plane but I got to have a nice conversation with a young German fellow (in German) who was headed with some friends to Kenya for a vacation. Something of interest was that he would speak to me in German (I’m a native English speaker) but he would converse with the Egyptian guy next to him in English (their common language). I found that a little humorous.
Well we finally arrived in Kenya, at about 3:45 AM – purchased visas and our bags quickly arrived (a miracle in itself and thankful the lady had put them all under Krista’s name) and were greeted by Krista’s parents. They then took us to the place where we’ve been sleeping and let us get a few hours of sleep.
We woke up Saturday at about 10:15 AM and got our bearings a little bit. We’re staying in this Korean Mission compound but just for a few nights. My in-laws then picked us up and took us to their place for a brunch of sorts. Alex was a little tired and not really hungary and really not used to the types of food offered. So we went shopping. We got to go to several different shopping centers (Alex had ice cream). It was amazing the stuff they can get here as Nairobi is a central hub for products that then get sent out to other areas of Africa. Krista and I were going through there with big eyes as there were a lot of American products that aren’t readily sold in Germany. Later that day, we hung out at my in-laws place and Krista and Alex played in the pool and later we ate dinner and watched a movie. Finally it was time to go to sleep and we did.
We woke up to Alex wondering where his cousins are. Krista’s sister has three girls and he is so exicted to have playmates. Soon enough, we heard Krista’s sister and her oldest outside and Alex went out to meet them. They had arrived this morning and gotten a little bit more sleep than us. At the compound, they have a huge grassy yard that all the kids went out and played in while we adults did a bunch of catching up. After a while we made our way back to my in-laws apartment and had lunch and now everyone is finishing up their time at the pool. So now I gotta go but I hope I can have other opportunities to blog on this trip. Tomorrow we’re driving to Mombasa (sp?) on the beach and will stay there through Christmas. Its a 600 km drive (about 8 hours if traffic is good). The rest of the day will be getting things ready for the trip and just catching up with each other. It’s been two years since we’ve all been together.
Ciao for now.