I’m sitting in coach on United Airlines flying to London. I’ve discovered something special. Traveling on Thanksgiving night is very nice. We’re in a 777 and there are about 40 people on the plane. I have an entire row to myself. That’s the good news. The bad news is – there are 10 empty seats in Business class. I just finished my strange (but good) pasta dish and I’m working the last of the Mango Sorbet. It’s actually a nice reminder – the Mango in Africa is good (and very popular). It’s good to remind the pallet of what is to come. Actually, I think I whole row in Economy plus might be as good as Business class (and $800 cheaper). I need that $800 to pay my State Taxes (I think). I am trying to decide how to spend my time on this 10-hour flight to London. Sleep, Eat, Write, Watch “Stranger Things”. I just finished episode 1 and I really want to watch more. As always, when I get on a plane I have the urge to write.
So far, the trip has gone very smoothly. 50 minutes from home to the terminal. 50.4 lbs on the checked bag scale (the agent let it slide). 50 people on the flight.
Goals for the trip:
- Step away from the crazy world. (a bit)
- Chase after some Cheetahs.
- Take a picture of a live elephant to send to Secretary Zinke (I hate these guys)
- Reunite with Albert (Best Safari Guide ever)
- Return to Ndutu lodge. (One of my favorite places in the world)
- Capture and enjoy Anne’s wedding in Kenya (rare chance to shoot an African wedding)
- Write (book2, Book3, letters, blog)
- Win at least one photo competition with Kyle (we have decided to compete on each and every animal). Not sure how we will judge (maybe our collective Facebook audiences).
- Shoot some video
- Listen (brought my sound recorder)
- Piss off another British waitress at London Heathrow.
We’re just crossing the Canadian border. They didn’t build their wall high enough. Northern Lights over Hudson Bay. I had to wake up Kyle to see the awesome green glow.
Arrived in England (Heathrow Airport). Passport check and back through security (no water). Good news for the day – found a Dr. Pepper Zero supply inside security at Heathrow. I wanted to go cold turkey but the temptation is great. Heathrow is a joy (better than Frankfort). Long layover is better than a missed connection but it’s still rough. Ethiopian Airlines window opens about 2 hours after we arrive. We need seat assignments. “Code share partner” does not equal seat assignments when you check in. To make the Heathrow airport into the “Heathrow Experience” Kyle and I got separated in our rush to our gate. Somehow, I started following a guy with a baseball cap (guy looked just like Kyle from the back). This guy was headed somewhere else. After a minute or two heading the wrong direction (like Kevin at the airport in Home Alone 2), I realized I was way off track. Cutting diagonally through the terminal I found Kyle. I was hoping he didn’t realize I was pulling a Kevin but instead he just laughed and called me something. All good.
Also – Sarah started me on “Stranger Things.” So far, I’m two episodes in and I’m hooked. Makes me NOT want to visit the DOE lab in Hawkins Indiana. I’d love to know how they cast those kids.
We just landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The cross section of people has changed very dramatically. Addis is a cross roads in Eastern Africa where Europeans, Americans, Asians and Native Africans come to travel. In my limited experiences, only Istanbul was more multi-cultural. We got off the plane inside the security perimeter and it looks like we will not have to go out and be rescreened. Only downside…nothing to buy on the inside – not even water.
The oddest thing that has happened so far: After going back through security at Heathrow, I heard a strange yet familiar voice in my head. I scrambled around a bit and tried to determine if I was missing something behind me or just hearing voices. It was faint but I could hear some screaming and yelling – in the distance yet strangely close. I finally realized, my iPAD was playing the next episode of “Stranger Things” all on its own, secured inside my backpack. Hawkins, Indiana is a strangely familiar place. Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant made me turn “Stranger Things” off just before we landed and just 10 minutes shy of the end of season 1.