I have been back in the UK for 2 weeks now and I finally feel like I am human again and able to put pen to paper about my time climbing Kilimanjaro. The biggest problem I have is knowing where to begin. It’s probably simpler for everyone (myself included) if I take it day by day…
The plan was to travel to my mums on Thursday night, spend a bit of the day with the family on Friday and then travel down to London at 9pm that evening to catch the 6am flight to Nairobi. But that was all waaaay too simple… and the God’s, well, they do not like simple.
To be fair, things were going great until about 6pm that Friday evening. I was in Nando’s enjoying a butterfly chicken with spicy rice and garlic bread (yum!) when my sister called to say Heathrow had been shut due to a plane fire. From this point onwards chaos ensued. Yes, Heathrow opened shortly after but the flight I was supposed to be on was cancelled and nobody seemed to know what was going on. Thankfully some phone calls and panic later, we found out that we would be on the same flight the following day – so I had another 24 hours to wait. Problem was, now I had no one to take me to London and so more chaos ensued, with my beloved husband stepping in and saving the day by cancelling his plans to drive me down to the good ol’ capital city. There was one condition though; we had to stop in Birmingham for a steak and the Branded Bull. DONE.
On the hottest day of the year, after a few hours of driving and one 3 hour stand still on the M6 later, we arrived in Birmingham for our steak. Firstly, the starters and main meals were served at the same time, now I like my food, but even I think that’s a little excessive! Thankfully the kind waiter sent our mains back. Unfortunately what he didn’t do was make sure they were re-fired (Gordon would not be happy!) so Steve’s steak was well, well done, hard and cold; and my ribs, well they were pretty much the same. £68 lighter, we left Birmingham and continued our journey south.
Skipping a few hours, I finally arrived at Heathrow at 3am ready for the big adventure. After nervously kissing Steve goodbye I introduced myself to the group and plonk myself on the floor to wait for the others to arrive and the check in desk to open. Just after 4am it finally opened and we started to check in…or so we thought.
To cut a looooooong story short, what actually happened was 9 people checked in and the remaining 8 didn’t – as we weren’t on the flight! Many phone calls, shouts and negotiations later, 4 of us were on a flight with Brussels Air and 4 with BA. We parted ways at the bag drop and I continued my adventure with 3 others, via Brussels.
Approximately 12 hours later, after a change in Brussels, 3 movies, a jumbled conversation with a French guy, a stop in a place now known as Bujumbura, and a fight with the man at customs to not rip me off on my visa fee – we finally arrived in Nairobi. We had made it to Africa!!!
All I could think was, technically getting to Nairobi wasn’t part of the challenge, so what on earth did the next 10 days have in store, and what the hell am I doing here!!!