Saturday, March 21, 2020

Escape from Nairobi

Well as we had already done some exploration in Nairobi and we were now tuckered from all of our safari time and hotel drama, we decided to just laze around at the hotel until it was time to head to the airport.

We were the only guests in the building and so some of the hallways were pitch black to save electricity.

There was a helpful flight status screen in the hotel lobby that we could nervously watch. Only 25% canceled!

A great way to kill time was to order some Kenya Domino's and have a couple brewskis.

We stayed holed up in our hotel room the entire day, except to take an Uber to a hardware store to pick up some masks. They ended up being pretty terrible quality. I had brought some surgical masks with me but I was hoping to find some of the gold standard N95 masks that filter out all of the bad particles. I googled around a bit and found like a Kenya Craigslist that had a bunch of people that seemed like they were hoarding the masks. 

I tried to do some business with some of the hoarders but it didn't go well. For example this guy would only sell a minimum of 20 masks and he wanted the equivalent of $145 for them. I definitely deliberated the decision even at that high of a price. I wasn't sure how much the fancy mask would even help, but if it would help how can I put a price on my health?

I think they gave us a suite since we were the only human customers in the building.

The airport was a madhouse. The line to check in and give them our bags took forever because it was clogged with people whose flights had been canceled or otherwise unfavorable mangled.

I had actually been excited about maybe attending EXPO 2020 in Dubai but... I don't know if that's going to happen now that the world is ending.

Dubai airport was completely packed full of humanity. It was one of the few hubs that seemed to still be allowing air traffic, so it had become a shanty town, with people sleeping in the hallways.

I suspect that an aggravating factor to this airport cluster is that the UAE airlines often offer free stay-overs, where you can spend a night or two in Dubai on your way to your final destination as a way to encourage Emirati tourism. Well anyone that had signed up for that situation was now not allowed into the country and was likely going to spend those magical nights sleeping on the cold floor of an airport. 

Our current ritual each time we sit in a new plane is to wipe everything down with alcohol wipes. I remember seeing other people do this on the way back from Brunei and thinking they were nutjobs. We're all nutjobs now. Since the seat back is cloth it is lava as far as I’m concerned. I’ll just have to imagine the inflight magazine's crossword puzzle in my mind.

I thought it was fun that they gave little amenity kits even to us poor folk back in economy class.

Our Kenya trip in two pictures.

I've been to a couple world's fairs now. We went to the previous one in Milan and I went to the one in Aichi, Japan in 2005. It's crazy that they are once every 5 years. A lot can change in that amount of time.

Our plane was full of elderly Indian bank robbers.

On arrival in Chicago I got another hero's welcome. 

Since we had a connecting flight in Germany on the way over here, and Europe was now virustown, we were shunted off into a plastic walled area of the airport and had our temperature taken and a health question interrogation by a bunch of firefighters. 

Chicago was doing pretty bad so I was not super enthused to be here in the first place. I felt lucky to have made it to North America at this point so I wasn't exactly complaining.

In a cruel twist of fate I had been redirected to an airport featuring a Nintendo Switch On The Go pop-up airport lounge but that same situation caused it to be closed.

A silver lining was that with everyone staying at home due to the virus, they weren't out shooting each other.

The plane from Chicago to St. Louis was flying light. We pretty much showed up, the flight attendant said "they're here", and we left. I will give Air Canada some credit, because I think that they booked us on airlines that weren't even in their alliance in order to get us home. It was the least they could do after effectively forcing us to go to Kenya in the first place.

Lambert was a ghost town.

And I never went on another trip again. The end.

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