And that really is all there is left of the holiday; we set the alarm function on our mobile phones to wake us for the second day in a row, at 4.15am allowing us just over an hour before the coach arrives to take us to the airport. As we’re not the only guests up at this ungodly hour the hotel have laid on a wider choice of comestibles for breakfast and as the plane doesn’t take off for a four hours I have more than a slice of toast as I did yesterday.
All too soon and the bus, which is twenty minutes late (or not, if you’re using “Kenyan Time”), arrives – our bags are loaded on and we set off, bidding the hotel adieu, not goodbye… we will be back again. The streets are still deserted at this time of the day, part of the reason for setting off so early, and by 7.30am we’re at the airport waiting in line to go through security.. before we’ve even checked in. My hand luggage is given the customary second scan, as the people scanning try and determine what that odd looking shape in the bag is… telescope, lens or spare drain pipe. From that queue we’re join a second, where we are finally confirmed as being on the plane, only to have to then join a third queue to actually check in our luggage and get our tickets. It seems to take an age, again the employee can’t find us on the list – if only it worked like that out in the wild! – but it’s only taken us about twenty minutes so far. We’re not questioned about our hand luggage, and gleefully leave with tickets in hand to join a fourth line, this time for immigration; we’re in line 18 minutes as each person’s fingerprints are scanned, to confirm it’s the same person leaving as entered Kenya and by exactly 8.00am we pass through into the departure lounge.
There are around a dozen shops in the concourse selling the usual airport good – alcohol, sweets, electronics, CDs as well as a number of Kenyan souvenir stores. We look round a couple of them, buying only a bottle of water for the journey home and then spot another queue forming to enter the departure gate. Our bags are scanned again, and we’re given a body search even though we’ve been through a metal detector again.
By 08:27, a queue has formed in front of the gate that leads out to our plane; we join near the front as we want to try and find space on board for our hand luggage to ensure our lenses are safely stowed. Boarding the plane is not as organised as Gatwick where batches of seating were called, the premium class are called first and then it’s a free for all. We’re one of the first on the plane, and head straight to the back, to find that seats 40F and 40G are the very last two seats on the plane which even though we don’t get extra room, it somehow feels more spacious, and is certainly less restrictive than having people behind you as well.
The flight back is certainly less eventful than our journey out, there are a number of movie and tv channels to divert attention away from how long the flight is. Amazingly, I’ve seen most of the films that are showing but there are a couple of fun action movies that keep me occupied until the plane lands at 4.50pm UK time (two hours behind Kenyan time).
If we thought getting out of Kenya was a time consuming process, it’s nothing to getting into the UK, or at least it feels like that, but forty minutes later we’re on the shuttle bus back to the airpark car park. It’s only the M25 and M4 that can halt our progress home, and sure enough listening to the traffic reports, and checking on google maps I can see that there are indeed delays on both these roads. Luckily I know the roads well enough to take an alternate route and finally at 7:18pm we arrive at my front door, having been awake for 17 hours.
So, Dear Reader, I hope you’ve enjoyed this rather detailed account of my trip to Kenya, it’s hard to believe we’ve only been away just over a week, it certainly feels longer.. the mark of a good trip. I’ve managed to use up over 16,400 words in an attempt to describe the sights and sounds of a wildlife safari, and with that many words I’ve decided I’ll try and convert it into a book, and include some photos that haven’t seen the light of day yet… and there are plenty of those!