Sunday, August 21, 2011

Africa:1, Welcome to Africa

I have about a billion stories to tell, so for the next week: Africa stories! Yaaaaaayyyyyyy.

My plane landed in Nairobi at night time. At least, it was night time in Africa. In my time zone, which I left 28 hours before, it still early enough to have brunch. I was excited, worn out, and a little nervous about being in a brand spankin' new place.
I made it through out last 10 hour flight without peeing, because airplane bathrooms are gross. The minute we exited the airplane, I booked it for a bathroom. I walked out of the stall and realized I was the only white person in the bathroom. It wasn't uncomfortable or scary, I'm sure no one else in the bathroom cared, but I was suddenly acutely aware of the color of my skin. I was different; I was the minority. That's never happened to me before. The stories of those who fought racism in the 50s and 60s and beyond grew all the more richer in that moment.
We got in the long, inefficient line for passport control. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. After about 30 minutes, this man came up and inched his way past us. We looked behind us, and the Canadian behind us said "he just did it to me too". This man wasn't really in front of us so much as next to us. I was determined he was not going to cut me in line. I closed the gap between him and us in the line, and he went to the line next to us. The lady there gave him a piece of her mind. He didn't speak English. He spoke French. So the Frenchman behind us gave him a piece of his mind. He ignored him. We made it through, and last I saw, the 3 of them were still arguing.
All our baggage came (a miracle!), laden with bags, we made our way out to the curb where hopefully someone with a car would be waiting for us. And he was! We followed him to the car. Which had another car parked perpendicularly behind us. Getting out? Apparently not for us.
He found the police after 10 minutes of waiting. They couldn't do anything except wait with us for the owner of the car to return. An hour later, they came. The car was quickly move and we were on our way out. We asked our driver what would happen to the driver. He said, "he will be put in prison, but the police don't want to arrest him in front of American tourists."
Welcome to Africa.

1 comment:

  1. Can't we hear first if you made it to the top of Kilimanjaro? Welcome back.