Into Africa: Day Eight: Heading Home

Friday, September 17

AMSTERDAM – Now that I am out of Africa, the only negative was the airport. I had a little trouble getting out, as I did getting in.

Some people had to have their fingerprints scanned, and mine were done twice. Then the official took an image of my retina. He asked questions, looked me up on a computer, and I knew to keep my natural sarcasm and outrage under wraps.

It’s not only the power trip some people go on as soon as they put on a shirt with a badge, there was something suspicious about me to the officials in the Nairobi airport. I was very relieved to sit down at a restaurant, have a liter of water with the some of the National Geographic Channel folks and the journalists from all over. I was even relieved to board 90 minutes before take-off.

The flight from Nairobi to Amsterdam is over seven hours. Happy to return to the Amsterdam airport. Changed money, and truly the dollar does not go as far as it used to. The man at the info counter advised me to take the train to the hotel, then a taxi, but I was so tired and starting to smell like a wildebeest, so I finally decided on a taxi.

The taxi driver wore a tie. Let me repeat that — the taxi driver wore a tie and a jacket and an ironed shirt! It’s his company’s rules, he explained. The hotel is on a small, winding street. It was dark when I arrived, but this city is clearly all everyone builds it up to be. The innkeeper let me come in hours before check-in, and though my room was not ready, let me stay in another to shower and nap.

I’m just about out of power on my laptop and the adapter I brought with me simply does not work in any country, so this is probably my last installment for now.