Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kenya Update 1

Yesterday was a whirlwind.

I woke up at home with Brandi and the kids and enjoyed a semi-relaxed morning with the family. At 9AM we drove into Chappell Hill for their annual 4th of July parade which has become a highlight for my family. This year I was invited to deliver the invocation for the ceremony and to pray for our city. I was honored and gratefully accepted, though I told my host that I would need to leave early to catch a plane to Kenya.

After the parade I met my friend Pete (who went to Africa with me last year) who offered to drive me to the airport (a true friend!). We left Chappell Hill, ran a few errands, and arrived at the airport with hours to enjoy the complements of the President's Lounge at IAH. In fact, from the time that Pete dropped me off to when I was enjoying the free wi-fi and refreshments of the lounge, was only about 10 minutes. I was literally the only one at the security check when I arrived (#winning). The bad news is that I was frisked by a rookie; not wanting to go into the details, I will say I was honestly molested (#tsa #fail).

The flight from Houston to Amsterdam was nice. I booked my seat in the bulkhead and had plenty of legroom. Additionally, the seat next to me was empty so I lifted the arm and enjoyed my own personal film festival (thanks iPad!) with theater seating. Nice.

Coming in to Amsterdam is beautiful. You fly in low over the coast and the city and boats are enchanting. The Schiphol airport is great. Lots of shops and interesting boutiques. Great lounges. Art galleries. And a casino.

The flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi was slightly less enjoyable, but not bad. I was in the second to last row (67D), in the middle section. Thankfully, I had an aisle seat, but that last leg always seems the most dreary. I peered out the window as we flew over the Sahara desert. Endless dunes and nothingness. Breathtaking.

My goal on an international flight to Kenya is to not sleep. I've found that if I can push through during the flights, I'll be exhausted once I arrive (around 10PM local time), but I'll sleep all night. I wake up at 7:30AM the next morning jet-lag free (works every time).

While waiting in line for a visa at Jomo Airport, I met Tim Ferriss. I was talking to a new friend traveling from Austin to Nairobi, and I noticed someone who looked familiar standing behind me. "I have been awake for 30 hours, but I think I know this guy."

I asked him his name.
"Tim Ferriss?"
[... dorky hey-I-love-your-books type of banter ...]

He introduced me to his mates, and I offered to buy them drinks if they made it to Limuru. I gave him my card, the immigration officer called out "Next!", I went to the counter, and told the uninterested Kenyan that I just met Tim Ferriss.

My dear friend Linus picked me up from the airport (our flight was almost an hour late), and we made the drive to Limuru. It was weird being back in Kenya. I was surprised how right it felt to be back. Texas is home, but this place is something special too. Can't explain it yet.


1. My kids just before the parade. Jonas and Betty literally sewed their outfits together themselves (patriotic hippies!). I miss them terribly.
2. My kids playing in the World Famous Marching Kazoo Band in the Chappell Hill 4th of July parade.
3. Plenty of legroom.
4. Read Dave Egger's What is the What on the plane. Great book about the Sundanese Lost Boys. Eggers + Africa = Appropriate for my journey.
5. The casino at Schiphol. I did not partake.
6. Meeting New York Times bestselling author Timothy Ferriss after 30+ hours with no sleep.
7. My cottage at Brackenhurst. So thankful for Anne and the good people of this warm community.
8. The dining hall at Brackenhurst, where I'm writing this post.

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