Getting Ready May 18 to May 28
18.05.2018 - 26.05.2018
Even before we got back from the Funeral | I was planning this trip
18 May 2018
I am leaving for my last grandchild trip on Saturday the 26th. She's the youngest of my 11 grandchildren. I've taken six of the others on trips. (The other five were unavailable mostly because they were older- when I started this, the oldest ones were 27 and 25)
Schedule is as follows:
I leave here on SouthWest airlines (I hear they have their planes all inspected now) to fly BWI to Houston May 26th - stop over in Atlanta but do not change planes. Arrive Houston (Hobby) 1710
May 29 KLM-Delta Flight to Amsterdam leaving Houston-Bush 1505. Arriving Amsterdam 7:20 May 30
Hotel in Amsterdam: Ibis Amsterdam Centre
Address: Stationsplein 49, 1012 AB
Telephone number: +31 20 721 9172
We have breakfast at the hotel included. I have a scooter to be delivered to the hotel. The lady who has arranged the Amsterdam part of the trip is Desiree van Es with Sage Traveling Tel: 1-888-645-7920 Ext 1 and she actually lives in Houston. She has arranged for us be picked up at the airport, to have a canal boat tour, a walking tour of Amsterdam (well my granddaughter will walk) and we will drive out to Volendam and some outlying villages on the last day (June 1st). Then we will go back to the airport
June 2nd, We leave Amsterdam for a flight to Kilimanjaro airport Dep: 10:25 am Arr: 1950
I have gotten Visas from Tanzania for both of us using a company called CIBT. This was a somewhat expensive process, but when I read the original directions from the tour company they said the visa could be obtained at the airport when we got there and then last night when I went over them again they said that we might be refused entry. So I thought I should go ahead and get the visas. Since I was in a hurry (as I was leaving the following Saturday) I paid to have someone hand carry them to the embassy. I had to FedEx the passports to them with the application and we had to supply photos.
We have a car and driver for the African part of the visit.
Sat 02-Jun-18 Arusha : Rivertrees
Sun 03-Jun-18 Tarangire : Mawe Ninga Camp
Mon 04-Jun-18 Ngorongoro Karatu : Bashay Rift Lodge
Tue 05-Jun-18 Central Serengeti : Ronjo Camp
Wed 06-Jun-18 Central Serengeti : Ronjo Camp
Thu 07-Jun-18 Serengeti Grumeti : Grumeti Hills
Fri 08-Jun-18 Serengeti Grumeti : Grumeti Hills
Sat 09-Jun-18 Southcentral Serengeti : Olduvai Camp
Sun 10-Jun-18 Arusha : Rivertrees
Monday 11 June- we have a day room at Rivertrees because we leave to fly back to Amsterdam 20:55 and arrive Amsterdam 7:25am Tue 12 June after a stop-over (no change of plane) in DAR ES SALAAM (which is a port in Tanzania).
Leave Amsterdam 9:50am arrive HOUSTON-BUSH 1305
I'm starting to pack. I need to get insect repellent I think I have most everything else. I have cameras for both of us and also a passport holder for her
24 May 2018
In the last 6 days things have progressed. Sometimes in a straight line and sometimes in a confusing tangle.
Bob found some OFF in the medicine cabinet but it was a big heavy aerosol can and I didn't want to take that. My daughter has enough for both of us to use I think. He also wanted me to take an alarm clock and I said I would use my phone for that.
Lynde had packed me on Thursday except for my hat, my medicines, and the different plugs for the different kinds of electrical outlets, so I revised my packing list organized by where things were packed rather than by category. I was able to get the suitcase closed when things compressed a little and I also zipped the gusset shut.
Bob was looking for the little binoculars and I told him that he would find them if he cleaned off his dresser so he did that and found a better pair of binoculars that neither of us remember having. I found the little ones that he was actually looking for in my computer bag. I am only taking the better ones. I figure one of us will be taking photos so we only need one pair of binoculars
He asked me if I wanted his passport holder for our granddaughter and it was the one I had been looking for and could not find. I put her passport that was FedEx'ed to me from CIBT with the visa into it and put it into my money belt which I wear under my clothes
Bob complained that he did not have the information on the flights on Southwest to and from BWI so he did not know when I had to be there, so I sent him an email with that information and we discussed it. He thought I could print a boarding pass already, but I can't do that more than 24 hours in advance - SW was wanting me to pay for pre-boarding. Since my plane departs BWI at 1:25, and he wants to be there by 11:30, he wants to leave here at 9. He said he will also be at the baggage claim with my scooter by 2:55 when I get back.
I decided to take a couple of things out of the packed bag and put different things in there. Lynde took out a shirt and my coat, and put in a camera, my hat and some of the medicine in. I put the little bag with the different plugs in it into the computer carry-on bag along with the power strip
Bob weighed the bag on the bathroom scale and said it was 55 lbs. Lynde looked over his shoulder when he did it and said it was only 52 lbs. He complained that it was packed so tightly that the pull out handle did not work. He's been pulling it out and pushing it back to make it work better. (This is a suitcase that was new when I gave it to the baggage people in Ft Lauderdale for a cruise and came to the cabin with one of the two rods completely disconnected and the other one twisted so badly that it could not go back into it. It is the one I shipped to Hawaii for the cruise last year. The safari tour company says that Africa is hard on luggage so I'm not taking a newer bag)
I got my hair cut Tuesday.
I got a voucher for the driving trip from Accessible Travel. So I printed it out. I also got a survey to fill out from them, which I did.
I then asked about whether I needed one for a walking tour as I had one for the canal tour. They did not know anything about a walking tour. I asked Desiree of Sage Traveling whether I needed a voucher for the walking tour and she said I didn't need one for either the walking tour or the driving tour. And I said I had one for the driving tour. She asked where that one was from and it was from Accessible Travel - Oops - I assumed that since they knew about the driving tour it was the same agency and it wasn't. She wanted to know how Accessible Travel got my email and I finally found the relevant emails and I had given it to them when I rented the scooter.
So I got an email from Desiree this morning and she was quite annoyed. Accessible Travel was the agency subcontracted by Sage Traveling for the driving tour. Accessible Travel should not have contacted you about the driving tour and I have already been in contact about that with them as no vendor ever can / should contact our clients directly as then confusion and mistakes can happen and we do not want that to happen.
So that's sorted. I called the credit cards to tell them I was traveling and the debit card place said they didn't need to be notified, but there would be a 2% foreign currency charge (that's new). The guy at the credit union had a hard time with Tanzania - he couldn't find it listed under the country list. He tried under Republic of Tanzania but it wasn't there either. It is the United Republic of Tanzania, so it was listed under U and not R or T
Bob went out and started working on the garage again yesterday. He should have the end painted today.
He had a dental appointment and he was disgusted to find that he had a cavity. He said 9:00 was too early for a dental appointment.
That's progress to date
26 May 2018
Yesterday, I sat on the internet to get the boarding pass at the first possible moment and got B19. And I was trying to figure out how to tell SW that I would need a wheelchair. So I called them, and the hold time was 15 minutes. I stayed on the line and while I was waiting I read about all the things I could not take. My medicines were not in the original pill bottles, but organized by day and I was afraid that would be a problem so I put all of them in the checked bag which I never do, and I also put my other Canon camera and the 100-300 mm lens (which is probably why it is heavy).
I realized that SW would not feed me so I made two sharp-cheese bagel sandwiches and put them in my pocketbook along with the water bottle.
Bob said we probably would not actually need to leave until 9:30 (v.s. 9:00) and that would give him time to feed the cats and have breakfast. So I got up fairly early and finished up on the computer, got dressed and came downstairs at 9. That gave me time to read the Sunday comics before I left. I had decided to put the water in my water bottle into the bottle in the car that was almost empty and that way I wouldn't have a problem at security.
So I did that but it was a little hard to do while Bob was driving as it was bumpy and the first time he put on the brake both bottle tops slid off the arm rest to the floor. I was able to pick one up with my toes, but I had to undo the seat belt to reach my feet and when I did the lens cap of the camera came off and went flying into the back seat.
We had a fairly peaceful drive up to BWI- except that on 381 we began to over take a lot of bicyclists. All the way up Aquasco Road (which was not so bad because there were shoulders), but then on Croom Road (which does not) there were more of them, (and signs saying the cycles could have the 'full lane') and eventually we saw them coming back the other way.
We got to BWI about 11:15, and at first we pulled into the curb for SW but there was no curb check there. So we went a little farther up and there were two guys with wheelchairs there on the median. I flagged one of them down, and got into his wheelchair (after I retrieved the lens cap I had flipped into the back seat), with my pocketbook and carry-on, and he took me and my checked bag into the airport. Bob was pleased that it was so easy.
I told him that the bag might be 5 or so lbs overweight, so he first tried to get me to take stuff out of the bag and then got a baggage tag at a kiosk and took it over and put it on the conveyor. I don't think it was weighed. And then he took me through security. In addition to having to take out the computer, he also wanted all the food separate. Then he found what the gate was and took me there and parked me right in front of the desk. I gave him $5.00.
I sat and read my Kindle until near time to board the plane, and then my cane, my pocket book and my computer bag got on. I picked a window seat, and the flight attendant put the cane and the computer bag in the overhead. A lady named Debbie from Harford County who was going to meet her husband someplace near Lake Charles Louisiana sat in the aisle seat. Then one of the flight attendants came and put a reserved sign on the middle seat. She said no one was to sit there. She gave me a note that said they wanted my flight to be comfortable.
When we got to Atlanta, the flight crew changed to a different flight crew. All of us that were going to Houston used the lav, and when I came out they were asking who had a metal seat in the overhead. When I looked up, it was my cane. I did not recognize the description of a metal seat.
I changed the camera time and my watch time, but I was unsure of the watch time, so I looked at my cell phone and made it an hour earlier than that. (So it was 3:30 instead of 4:30 like it had been before). I checked the camera and it said 6:30. I guess I went the wrong way. Fixed that.
I read some more of the Kindle. When we got to Houston, they got the wheelchair people off the plane and put us in the middle of the concourse to wait for people to push us to our destinations. I waited some time and then a lady took me down the elevator to the baggage claim - my daughter and two granddaughters were there. I forgot to tip the wheelchair lady.
Eventually my bag came along and my daughter went back up the elevator and (after some confusion about what level was 'arrivals') my son-in-law brought the car around.
I gave my granddaughter her passport and carry case in the airport, and I called Bob on the way to my daughter's house. He said he got 56.7 mpg for the trip. He mowed the lawn and then fell asleep and was awakened by the cats who wanted their din-din.
My granddaughter practiced with the various cameras, and we had dinner. I'm in her brother's room as he is doing a summer internship
May 27 Memorial Day Sunday
Had a nice Memorial Day. Clear and sunny. Son-inlaw's parents came over and he BBQ'ed and we had hamburgers and deviled eggs and broccoli salad. Phyllis brought some delicious cupcakes - a lot of frosting like Berger cookies. My granddaughter took some photos with the cameras (I didn't take any) and we looked at the U-tube video of the Netherlands in 1950 of my dad's movies. I reorganized my packing somewhat.
May 28 - One Foot Up
My daughter says we need to leave about 11 tomorrow to get to the airport timely since Bush (airport) is very crowded and the TSA is always backed up. She also says they will not allow you to have anything in your pockets and she does not think they will allow the money belts under your clothes. She got some more OFF wipes and some snacks.
I went on line to check to see if I had a wheelchair for the airport, and had to call and talk to a customer service guy. He said that I had the wheelchair for all the flights, but that our granddaughter's peanut allergy was only on the return flight from Amsterdam to Houston. So he had to go over to the KLM partner area to get it put on the other flights, since KLM is actually doing the flying. He did give me the KLM flight identifier for this flight.
When I went to check in I was on the KLM site, and fortunately I wrote down the KLM reservation number so I could check in. We copied our passports - the passport copy I had was for the passport that expired in 2012. So I did need a new one.
My son-in-law and the two girls are going to see the new Star Wars movie.