Greetings from Dar es Salaam, after a long day travelling yesterday (Saturday), starting from Arua at 0845, to the local airport catching a small plane to Entebbe, long wait at Entebbe before catching the evening flight to Nairobi and then on to Dar es Salaam, finally arriving back in my flat at about 1.30am. this morning. This time all travelling went smoothly, knowing in advance about the length of time things will take helps me considerably in getting in the right mental gear. Have Kindle can travel! And my bags stayed with me! In fact mine was one of the first out in Dar es Salaam this tme!
Further to last week's blog, just to let you know that my bags finally caught up with me on Tuesday evening, curiously with no tags at all when they were given to me but everything still in them. When I saw them the relief was similar to stopping bashing my head against a brick wall - I imagine, I've not actually tried this you understand. Would love to know where they had been for those 4 days, probably somewhere between Dar es Salaam / Nairobi / Entebbe / Arua but it's possible they got further afield, Dubai maybe? Johannesburg? Cairo? Anything's possible here!
So, three key messages here, plus one already internalised. Rule number one of living here: assume nothing. And I broke that rule last Friday when I accepted the receipts for my luggage without checking them - needless to say I did not make that mistake yesterday, possibly the ground staff I dealt with thought I was being somewhat neurotic - yes, I know this is difficult to believe!
Rule number two: have in hand luggage bare essentials - small toothpaste tube, tooth brush, small container of shower gel, change of shirt and underwear - to be able to cope if bags get lost until either the bags get delivered or you get a chance to visit the local shops the following day, bearing in mind restrictions on what you can put in hand luggage - fluids up to 50ml (I think) and of course no razor blades.
Rule number three: make friends with a taxi driver in each place you visit regularly. So, on previous visits to Arua I've met Data, it was down to his initiative that I got my bags Tuesday evening rather than sometime on Wednesday. Meanwhile there's Yusuf in Zanzibar (golly he's REALLY good, do ask me for his cell phone number if you're ever visiting), Sam in Entebbe... you get the idea. All cell numbers carefully recorded on my phone.
And the fourth rule which arose from a colleague's experience of an emergency evacuation in pouring rain: when actually in the air keep your passport in a pocket, not in a bag, so that it's still with you in this eventuality, when my colleague and fellow passengers got to the terminal soaking wet and with minor injuries the staff they dealt with were not sympathetic at all.....
Meanwhile the course itself went well, I think, hard work but I think participants appreciated the input. We finished off completing the sentence, "When I go back to school on Monday I will...", it was great hearing the ideas presented which they are hoping now to implement with their pupils and also share with colleagues. Was all the aggravation worth it? Yes, absolutely, no problem in doing it again knowing the risks involved.
So, day off today, hoping to catch up on sleep a bit later, then interviews for next year's masters students starting tomorrow so a busy week ahead. Looking forward to leave in the UK starting September 11th, tickets booked but some work to do before I can go!