So I’ve just concluded 15 hours of flights and 22 hours of total travel with my OLPC compadres Nia and Reuben that I’d characterize as “harrowing,” *bow*. Thank you. *bow*. No, you’re the best. We’d like to thank Royal Dutch/KLM Airlines and the entire Delta/Northwest Sky Team, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Here’s some highlights:

  • Our flight from Boston to Amsterdam was delayed. First, for a “regular engine check,” then, “it’s on its way to the terminal.” Then, “it’s on its way, but there’s a lot of ground traffic on the way over,” now it’s been two hours. At this point, if we make good flight time, we’ll have an hour buffer to catch our connecting flight to Nairobi. An hour buffer is not really enough to feel comfortable with this kind of long-distance travel-on-a-schedule.
    • My good friend Imran even went so far as to comment from his own experience: “do not miss your connecting flight or get stuck in Europe on the way to Rwanda, you’ll burn up cash, it will be hard to get on subsequent flights if they are overbooked, and you will miss important events if you’re days late.” As luck would have it, missing our connecting flight would have meant missing an event with the President of Rwanda in Kigali the next day.
    • Eventually, the Delta/Northwest people informed us that the flight was boarding and that we would be in Amsterdam with an entire half hour to spare!
  • The 7-hour flight from Boston to Amsterdam is where being sick really kicked in. I’m not sure if I was sick friday prior to my vaccinations – I definitely had a sore throat and was coughing up some lack-of-sleep bile, but I wasn’t “ill” per se. At least that’s what I told the nurse administering the vaccines. Yeah, but after that live yellow fever vaccine on friday, I definitely had a numb arm, a permanent headache/sinusache, and a sore throat that demanded a constant in-flight diet of sprite. Thank goodness for sprite. On the downside: I couldn’t sleep and was sorely lacking rest from my travel-prep week. On the upside: I got to watch “he’s just not that into you.” *Shudder*.
  • After a nimble gate-switch in Amsterdam, we boarded for Kigali, where I underwent the most amazing archetypal in-flight farse. You know that movie where the guys’ traveling, but there’s a baby crying and the seats are more cramped than our protagonist thought possible, and he’s in a middle-seat in a row of four, and all the overhead compartments are full, and and and…? It was incredible. Nia and I joked that, seriously, we had never heard a baby cry continuously for 7 hours before. I mean. Continuously. For 7 hours, kicking my seat any time I thought seriously about sleep.
  • 5 hours in the Nairobi airport wasn’t that bad, but it was a shame that we would have needed visas to step outside and take the city in for a few hours.
  • Rwandan customs didn’t even check my yellow vaccination slip – I could have foregone the live vaccine and saved myself a few days of gross-lungs. On the upside, I have a fun little pamphlet in English regarding Rwanda’s readiness to face swine-flu.
  • Kigali! We’ve just arrived at the OLPC apartment. There’s 4 interns and 6 employees between two apartments and enough beds/couches for everyone. I’m using wifi flitting in and out of range from “Telecom House” (the national telecom department headquarters) across the street. Now it is definitely time to crash. Hard.

Thank goodness I’m here safe. I hope this cold is gone in the morning!