Lovely Senga drove me to the airport Wednesday morning. I was packing right up until he arrived. Left the keys with the neighbour for my new tenant. Made it onto the plane for take off at 3PM. Flew forty-five minutes north to Entebbe, sat on the tarmac for an hour, then on to Doha.
They're lakes below, not clouds. Pretty, huh?
Flew Qatar, which is always a pleasure. Their seats are wide, their selection of entertainment good, and their food better than good in comparison to many. Look - fudge!
It was night by the time we came in to land. Doha is so strange - an oasis in the desert. You can see it by day on this video. Arriving by night, there were some really strange lights below. Anyone know what they are?
It's a really impressive city all lit up.
My connection to London was supposed to involve a twelve hour wait, but for £30 they switched me to the next flight, which left in an hour-and-a-half! Thank you Qatar!
Only problem: my family were collecting me at 7PM, but I arrived at 7AM.
So I ended up taking a National Express coach from Heathrow to Northampton, then a taxi to the door.
I was in a bit of a state by the time I got there. After almost a year and a half away from the UK, I had a little trouble adjusting after eighteen hours in transit. I don't know if it's London or airports, but people are fucking rude.
For the past few months I've been daydreaming about how relaxing it will be to get on a plane and head home, only to get here and find it's stressful as all hell. Needed a SIM for my phone, thought I'd just find a phone shop at the airport and buy a package. No such luck. SIMs come out of a vending machine, not branded with any network I've ever heard of. There's a rotund, irritable guy on a phone telling me to 'just put in twenty quid and I'll sort it out for you.' No. If you're going to sell me something, at least tell me what it does!
Gave up. Tried to take out cash. ATM only dispensing in £300 denominations! I only needed fifty quid. Walked around for a while. Eventually found one dispensing sensible money. Needed to use the phone box. In Rwanda we only really use one coin and everything else is done in notes. Gave impatient woman at shop money for water (had to buy a newspaper to get the water - don't ask!), ended up with a pile of 10p, 20p, 50p, and £1. When you haven't seen shrapnel for a while, it takes time to get used to it. Especially with no sleep.
Finally got the pay phone working so called home to tell them of the change of plan.
I was so over-tired and confused, I had a little stress-cry whilst trying to figure out the buses.
It was not the relaxing reintroduction to Blighty I had been anticipating.
Slept the whole two hours on the bus.
Almost got into a fist fight with an arrogant fucker over a taxi (I won!).
Fell through the door and into bed.
I haven't stopped eating since.
There is so much wonderful food here. It's amazing! I'd lost a bit of weight after being sick, but I think I may need BOGOF on elasticated waistbands before the week is out. Food! Everywhere. And every five minutes someone's offering me another cup of tea, a biscuit or a sandwich.
Water comes out of the taps in double time, too. It's not that we don't have taps in Rwanda, it's just there seems to be so much more water in these ones. It comes out really fast. I no longer wash but luxuriate under the shower.
I even had a bath. Mum's bath is a bit special. It's very big, with under-water lighting (blue or red, depending on your mood) and that whole jacuzzi action going on. I almost drowned.
Horrors of the road soon forgotten.