Day 1 – August 28th and 29th, 2006
My wife Allyson and and 12 year old son Clark take me to the airport for the beginning of my "adventure for a cause", as my friend Michael Farley calls it. Saying goodbye was difficult as this will be the first time our family has been apart for more than a week, this will be for an entire month. The hugs and kisses were truly heartfelt!
The first leg was a quick trip to Las Vegas to meet up with Steve Randolph who will fly the rest of the way to Nairobi with me. Steve and I met in ’79 and climbed Mt. Kenya together. Although we had not seen each other in over 25 years we recognize each other immediately. Steve was on the last Proper Walk so he has been a valuable resource as I prepared for the 2006 walk.
He was able to get his bags checked all the way to Nairobi while I will have to transfer my bags at JFK. I checked a 50 pound back pack and have a Camel Back I carry with me. I have my Bug II tent and sleeping pad lashed to the bottom of the bag. Hope they travel well. We need to get some sleep on the red eye to New York if we are going to arrive in Nairobi with any semblance of sanity.
I manage to sleep over half way to New York - that will help. Our next flight is on Emirates through Dubai. This will be the longest part of our flights by far. The flight attendants wear red pill box hats with scarves and a circle of red material that a pony tail can be put through. The attendants on our flight are from Sweden, Spain, England, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. As soon as the flight is underway off goes the hats and scarves.
We are provided a wool blanket, a personal packet with blind fold, tooth brush and booties or socks. The food is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed the beef dinner with a personal sized bottle of French cabernet sauvignon. Maybe this flight won’t be so bad after all.
Emirate’s planes have an incredible entertainment center with a screen for each passenger on the seat in front. You can see several hundred movies and TV shows or listen to several hundred music programs. I watch "New World" (not so good), "Memoirs of a Geisha" (very good) and bits and pieces of some older films like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". I like the jazz music programs and the special on Satchmo. Oh yeah.
My perfect flight was momentarily interrupted when the attendant from Spain spilled a full glass of mango juice on me. Just when I was ready to say Emirates is the best airline in the world. The attendants were very nice and helpful. I was wearing a camping shirt from REI so it cleaned up nicely and dried quickly. I ended up getting a very nice glass of white wine, an Emirates wool blanket to take with me, chocolates that only the first class passengers get, and several hugs. I think the hugs were the most valuable.
The flight went way north past Greenland, Iceland, and over Russia’s air space, a very funny flight pattern for going to Dubai. We finally arrive with a two hour lay over so we can do some duty free shopping. I pick up some Cuban hand rolled Havanas and Steve gets a bottle of Scotch. Neither of us slept much on that leg, sleep during the next flight will be important.