We arrived at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport literally at the crack of dawn. Even though our arrival gate and the departure gate for our next flight were both in Terminal E, it took some exploring to find a place to get some breakfast.
One noteworthy thing about Schipol airport, things are not laid out very efficiently. The monitors were on one side of the concourse, so people were stopped in the middle of the hallway to look at them, which blocked traffic on both directions.
We had to leave Terminal E entirely to find a place to get breakfast. We went to the omlet and pancake line, only to learn that there were separate lines for omlets and pancakes starting at opposite ends of the counter and coming together in the middle. The people doing the cooking showed no signs of urgency in preparing the food, which is unusual at an airport. I got my food, and then had to figure out the line to pay, as it appeared to just be a mob of people crowded around the cashier. Eventually I paid, sat and ate my pancake before Steph even ordered her omlet. When she finally joined at the table, I considered getting another pancake, but by that time, there was only one person doing both omlets and pancakes, so I passed.
When Steph finished her food, we went back to Terminal E and bought a muffin and some yogurt, which were more filling than our entrees, and then went to our gate. The boarding time was listed as an hour before scheduled departure, and we discovered that this was because we had to go through security again.
Once the plane took off, I utterly passed out. I woke up an hour or so later when they served lunch. I then started watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure until I started nodding off again. When I woke up again, I tried watching some more, but I was getting sore, so I did some laps around the plane. When I sat again, there were still four and a half hours left before arrival. I played a game of Elder Sign on my iPhone, and then listened to Chapter 2 of Warbound again, which I fell asleep listening to on the last flight while playing Catan on my iPhone.
At 7:45 local time, we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. We walked down the steps into the terminal and Cephas was there with an iPad with our name on it. He immediately ushered us to the passport control, where they took electronic fingerprints, before the crowd arrived. After that, we had to watch both baggage carousels for our bags, and the power blinked out a couple of times.
Cephas ushered us to Zal, who gave us a beautiful leather pouch containing our paperwork and drove us to the Arusha Coffee Lodge for the night. The road was very bumpy, in addition to the big speed humps found intermittently. Along the way we had to slalom around slow moving double trailer trucks. Zal said they come from Dar Es Salaam, about 800 kilometers away, and are not allowed into the city of Arusha until after 8PM.
We passed the tanzanite mines, coffee plantations, greenhouses for roses, and banana trees. We also passed groups of men waiting around on motorcycles. Zal said that they were taxis, waiting to ferry people around because there was no mass transit at night. The logic is that they could get around the frequent traffic jams and it was cheaper than a car, but was very dangerous and very few had helmets for the driver or passenger.
It was already dark, but from what I could see, the terrain was a lot like eastern Pennsylvania, with large flat stretches punctuated by deep ravines and high peaks.
As we drove through Arusha town, it reminded me of small town USA, aside from driving on the left. In the center of town there is a roundabout, and off center in that roundabout is a small clock tower that marks the mid point between Cape Town, South Africa and Cairo, Egypt.
We arrived at the Arusha Coffee Lodge around 9:15 and were greeted by several porters and a woman bearing glasses of iced coffee. We signed the signature cards and were shown to bungalow number 9.