10.06.2018 - 15.06.2018
We were to meet Jeremiah at 8 so we went down the rocky path in the wheelchair at about 7:15 and I sat in the computer area and sent emails and posted a couple photos.
Then my granddaughter picked up lunch from the lunch buffet for both of us and I had some eggs and toast, and she had watermelon and scrambled eggs.
Loaded everything into the van and started driving. We went out of the Serengeti and up the mountain,
and were out of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area by about 9:40 and after we got down the mountain, we started seeing the regular African life.
They also had signs about blind people but I didn't get a photo of that
About 11, we stopped at a gift shop
and I got some things for the great grandsons and had them shipped to Bob. Jeremiah wanted us to get to Rivertrees before eating lunch so we ate in the room after we got there.
I can get the internet from the porch outside the cabin, but I can't have the wheelchair after tonight, so I will have to walk to breakfast.
I have packed the brown bag, and have arranged the stuff in my pocketbook and computer bag. At 7, I sent my granddaughter down to get someone to push me to dinner and she came back with a waiter. There was a buffet and she got her stuff from the buffet. The waiter gave me a list of what was on the buffet and I got potato salad, BBQ beef and black forest cake which was all very good. My granddaughter got some BBQ beef too and fed some to the cat.
We both were cold so we both got extra blankets and closed all the windows. I got into bed and my granddaughter helpfully arranged the mosquito netting around me. I also showed her how to shut the windows (there was a piece of wood that kept the window screens from sliding and with them fixed in position, you could not reach the window controls).
As soon as I logged on with the computer it came up for us to register and get our boarding passes but it said that we needed to get them printed out.
They didn't come for the wheelchair, so I still have it. I suspect that the person that they thought needed it has her own - this one is quite a cheap one. This morning, I walked to breakfast with my granddaughter following with the wheelchair and I sat down once to get my breath. They had a menu on the chalkboard so I got eggs and I told her that they also had bacon (spelled becans) and she got some of that. After breakfast we went to reception to get the boarding passes printed out. They said to email to firstname.lastname@example.org and she was able to do that with hers, but my cell phone will only get mindspring (not aol) and will not send any messages. So I had to come back to the computer to do that.
On the way to lunch with my granddaughter following me with the wheelchair so I could sit down, I tripped on a shoelace and fell. She thought she had pushed me over. I wasn't hurt at all. The manager came over and two maids and after I managed to get up, the manager pushed me to the restaurant. One foot rest broke off the wheelchair (again) and this time he says it isn't repairable.
We had pizza for lunch (they have their own wood fired pizza oven) and I expect we will leave for the airport about 6 for a flight out at 9 pm
The PTB apparently thought I wanted to be at the airport at 6, so they came at 5:20 when I was just getting ready to leave. So we left about 5:30. The driver stopped on the way so I was able to get some photos of Mt. Kilimanjaro (it was dark when we came and we couldn't see it).
As we got to the airport, the cab driver went in and after some arguing with a lady who was wrangling the luggage carts, got a wheelchair and someone to push. And got our luggage on a cart for my granddaughter to push. He took us through security and they didn't ask me to take off my coat. But when they went to pat me down they found all kinds of stuff in my coat pockets - a camera battery and a flashlight among other things.
THEN to check our bags. At the last minute they asked if we had any electronics in the bags and when we said there were a couple of cameras in there, they said that they might be damaged and we should taken them out. When we didn't, they made us sign the luggage tags. I thought this might alert a thief that there was something in there to steal, but everything came through OK.
We also went through the exit immigration and had the passports stamped. They did not even ask to see the boarding passes that we printed out. They were totally unnecessary. Then, since it was still early for the flight, the wheelchair guy wanted to take us to the lounge. Unfortunately, the lounge was on the second floor and the elevator was broken. So I climbed a spiral staircase. Got up there about 6:45 Tanzanian time.
Up there we could plug our stuff in and I charged my kindle. We also had free drinks and munchies. We had saved the pizza from the day before, but didn't eat it.
When it was time for the plane to start boarding, they came and got me and I went down the staircase. I thought briefly about sliding down the railing -that would have been fun, but I was wearing a skirt, so perhaps too much fun. They had asked me if I could climb the steps to the airplane, and thinking of the plane we had in Grenada, I said I could, but this plane was a 787-200 and there were a LOT of stairs. I came down in the dark when I got here and I didn't really see the stairs in all their glory at that time. I got slower and slower as I got to the top, but I did make it. My granddaughter was in 4D (again) and I was in 4G so we were next to each other in the middle. We were a little late taking off because they had an extra inspection of some kind.
First we went to Dar el Salaam - We took off about 22:15 and the flight took about an hour, and we were there on the ground for about another hour. We watched the cleanup people do the plane and watched some TV on the in-flight entertainment. Then after we took off again they gave us dinner. We slept some. The seats were bigger on this plane but had the disadvantage that I could not reach anything while I had my seat belt on and there was no place to put anything (like my glasses) without the danger of them sliding off the console into the recesses of the seat. I wanted to charge my cell phone, but couldn't find the cord. In the morning, they gave us breakfast.
We landed in Amsterdam about 7 Amsterdam time (it would have been 8 Tanzanian time). The wheelchair person took me off the plane and put me into a four person cart. Then he went back for another couple. While we were waiting (it was about 8:30) a loud siren went off. There was no one around - the terminal in that direction seemed mostly deserted. After we spent some time with our fingers in our ears, the alarm stopped.
There was barely room for the three of us adults and our carry-on luggage. There was no room for my granddaughter, so she had to walk. I think he should have gotten a bigger cart. We had to go through security again and this time instead of checking my granddaughter's inhaler, they picked on my stuff. They also took away the water bottle I got on the plane.
He left us in the elderly and handicapped row at gate E47. There was a couple already there and also a young man who did not appear to be either elderly or handicapped. He had a package on the only other seat, so I said to him "My granddaughter needs a seat" so he took the package off and let her sit down. The wheelchair guy said he would have someone take me down the jetway, but I was not sanguine about how quickly this would occur. So I told her to go ahead and get on when they started Priority boarding. She demurred.
When they started boarding, they called for families with infants under 2 years of age, and I swear there were at least 25 families with all ages of children (some of whom were quite a bit older than 2 and with no apparent younger siblings).
Then they started Priority/Business and there was still no wheelchair. So my granddaughter got on, and texted her mother that she was on but I was still in the airport. She was in seat 4D again - she was in that seat for all 3 flights.
I asked the boarding wrangler for a wheelchair and she said could I walk, and I said I couldn't walk more than about 100 feet and the jetway was at least 3 times that. Someone came in with a stack of two wheelchairs, and a lady came in another wheelchair. Eventually I got my wheelchair and got on. I was in seat 4A across from my granddaughter.
We started to taxi about 10:20 Amsterdam time which would be about 1720 Houston time. I like these seats better, but my hip was hurting me and I just could not get comfortable enough to sleep.
I have concluded that it does absolutely no good to tell an airline that someone has a peanut allergy as I know it was on the manifest for this part of the trip and they still offered my granddaughter actual peanuts.
They gave us a kind of brunch, and then before we got to Houston they gave us another meal. I had the tuna sandwich - the other option was a small hamburger.
My TV controller did not work at all - I had to use the touch screen. And about halfway through the flight my touch screen also stopped working. I wanted to see what the time was in Houston and I would pick the moving plane map and the screen would snap back to the opening screen where you chose your language. Neither the steward nor I could make it work. He offered for me to change seats but I declined as I didn't want to be too far from my granddaughter. Then about a hour before we got to Houston my screen started working again.
I think we got to Houston about 1300 Houston time, which would have been 2100 Tanzania time and 2000 Amsterdam time. When I got off the plane, I got a wheelchair as there were 10 or 15 people lined up with wheelchairs there at the jetway. Then later I passed another 10-15 wheelchair pushers lined up along the terminal wall. I guess that's where they all hang out and that's why you can't get a wheelchair when you arrive at the airport to get to the plane.
The wheelchair lady took us to immigration - the terminal was pretty empty of USA people going through immigration. The man asked where we had come from and I said Amsterdam, as that was technically where we were last. He asked how long we had been there and I said since May 30th. He asked if we were visiting family, and I said no we were just tourists. So he stamped our passports.
We did not have to go through customs - on the plane they said that US citizens or Canadians did not have to fill out the customs form. Then we got our bags, and my granddaughter phoned her mother who was in the cell phone lot. I asked if we were to meet outside or inside and she indicated that her mother would come in. I thought this unlikely so I phoned and we established that we were at Arrivals Terminal E. (The KLM website or the airport website said Terminal D). And we got outside and my daughter was arriving.
So I am here. We had a nice dinner and a quick run-through of the photos.
From June 12 to June 15, I arranged the photos - the best that each of us took, and showed them on the TV to the other grandparents. I repacked my bags and my daughter and son-in-law took me to Hobby airport arriving very early. It was easy to get a wheelchair and I did not even have to take out the computer as they had a dog checking us out before we went through security. I had another one of those Reserved Seat passes but I didn't put it on the seat on the first leg of the trip from Houston to Charlotte. There was a dog on the plane and he howled when we landed so I guess he had trouble clearing his ears.
I put the Reserved Seat pass down for the second leg of the trip and the man in the aisle seat was unhappy about it because they kept saying it was a full flight. So I said - if they pull away from the gate and there is someone still standing, I will pick up the reserved seat sign. And there wasn't, so I didn't.
We got to BWI a little early. The wheelchair lady took me to baggage claim and left me there while she went to get someone else. My bags came while she was gone and another passenger got them for me. Just about that time, Bob arrived with the scooter. He was parked in the garage less than half a hour. We got home about 6 after picking up dinner and getting gas.
My next trip in 2018 was the Howl at the Moon Cruise with my sister to Bermuda