Safe Arrival!

It is my first night in Africa. We arrived about 10pm, which is 3pm your time. The trip was incredibly long and I’m so glad to be all settled in.

I started out in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 1:45pm Tuesday May 03, 2011. My wonderful boyfriend brought me to the airport where we checked in without a hitch. Saying goodbye was really hard, but it is ok, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Flew to Detroit. Big news there! Sat around for a while and then boarded for a ridiculously long flight to Amsterdam. I could not for the life of me get to sleep. Each seat has a little screen for your personal entertainment. There’s music, movies, TV shows, games, and an interactive map. I could have sent you all an email for $2.50 from the plane, but I decided to pass on that. The map was really cool because it showed where we were, how much more time we had left, our altitude, speed, and temperature. We got dinner and breakfast served to us on the flight. After about 8 hours of that, we booked it (and I mean booked it) across the airport on Amsterdam to our Tanzania flight. Very similar experience there, only an hour longer. Oh, and I got to get some sleep which was nice.

We flew into Kilimanjaro Airport, which is about an hour away from Arusha, where we’re staying. I’m not going to lie, stepping off the plane into 80 degree weather at 9:00 at night was pretty nice. We were greeted by our incredibly friendly driver and whisked away for our hour long bus ride. Our very terrifying, yet simultaneously wonderful bus ride. From what I’ve gathered speed limits are optional, speed bumps are spontaneous, and honking is required. I saw more stars on my way from the airport than you could ever see in Grand Rapids. The big dipper is upside down! I also smelled more different things than I would have ever imagined. Every couple miles the scent of the air would change. Starting with your typical Africa thought, which was kind of dry and dusty, but then there were wonderful food smells, and some not so wonderful scents, too.

Sitting here in bed I feel like I’m almost at camp. A pretty nice camp, but camp nonetheless. My room is essentially a cabin. Very basic, two beds surrounded by mosquito netting, a bathroom with just enough space, and a skeleton key to lock our doors. The internet has already proven to be pretty picky. I think three or four people were able to log on tonight, so we took turns sending our arrival emails through their computers. I will post this whenever I get the chance.

Tomorrow we have a get accustomed to your new home day. We are going into town and exchanging money, buying phone minutes, etc. We are also having Kangas made! Going to lunch at what’s sure to

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~ by Cassie.Becker on May 5, 2011.

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