Craig read an article about Wildland Adventures, which offers a Maasailand Safari. Wildland works in conjunction with the Maasai Environmental Resource Coalition (MERC) to provide socially and environmentally responsible trips to Kenya and Tanzania that benefit the Maasai tribes who are often marginalized by tourism. As we are especially interested in the culture of the Maasai, whom we have seen on travel programs on TV, we decided that this was the trip for us. We wanted to take advantage of it while it was still available and before it could change. We booked the trip to Kenya and Tanzania, which would allow us to visit Maasai villages and schools, and learn from them about their way of life. We decided that we wanted to extend the trip by a few days, and decided on Wildland's Rwanda gorilla trekking extension. We would get permits for two days of gorilla trekking, and would get to see the endangered mountain gorilla in the same mountains where Dian Fossey did her research.

We went to our beloved Lahey Travel and Tropical Medicine Clinic and got our typhoid and polio shots. Our other shots (yellow fever, tetanus, and hepatitis) were still valid. We also received a prescription for 45 days worth of Doxycycline for malaria as well a prescription for Cipro in case of the dreaded travellers diahrrea. Wildland recommended that we get our Kenya and Tanzania visas ahead of time through Generations Visa Service (Rwanda doesn't require a visa for U.S. citizens). Having never had to get a visa before, we decided to do this. It involved sending our passports away (a very stress-inducing situation before a trip) and spending over $200 per person. The passports and visas came back in plenty of time, but we later realized that we could just as easily have gotten them at the airport for about half the cost. Oh well, at least we knew ahead of time that we were approved and had no issues.

Kenya 6/16/06 - Departure from Boston

I worked half a day and Craig worked from home. At 3:00 pm we headed over to Craig's parents to say goodbye. At 3:30 we headed into Logan Airport. I got off to a good start by smashing my head on the roof of my mother-in-law's car as I got in to the back seat. My head was killing me. There was a lot of traffic and we saw the Logan Express bus stuck in said traffic trying to get out of the city. That was another option for getting us to the airport, and, given the traffic, we were glad we hadn't chosen that option. We got to the airport around 4:00 and waited in line for about 40 minutes to check in. Our bags were checked all the way to Nairobi. The airport had changed around a bit since our last visit and we got food at our Burger King: double bacon cheeseburgers and fries. We only ever manage to eat this type food when we travel, and somehow it has become part of our exit routine. At around 5:05 we headed to the gate. It was very crowded and we luckily found 2 seats together. After waiting a while, I went to Dunkies and bought Craig a bagel with cream cheese and I got a coffee cake muffin. The pickings were really slim. There were two posters hung outside of the Starbucks at our gate heralding the coffee origins they sell. One was Panama and one was of Kenya with an elephant. Although being strict Dunkies fans and not fond of Starbucks coffee at all, I got a picture of it and we took it as an auspicious sign for the start of our trip. We saw a guy with a huge handlebar moustache, and suddenly Craig panicked. This made him realize he had forgotten to trim his moustache before leaving home. That one last thing he really didn't want to forget as it grows quite a bit over a two and a half week trip. He knew that it would bother him for the duration of the trip.

We boarded the plane at 6:20. It was a 2-5-2 configuration, and we were in the 2 seats on the left side. We saw some boats out the plane window and Craig got a couple photos as the sun was going down. We were happy to be getting out of town, as a heat wave was predicted for the weekend. We had no idea what to expect in terms of weather in Africa, but we knew we could stand to escape the heat and humidity here. We took off at around 7:45. We had seatback TV's and earbud earphones. We got Cranapple juice and then we ate dinner while watching "Vincent", a short movie (TV show?) about a private investigator. It was quirky and entertaining enough to pass some time. Dinner was beef lasagna, green beans, a roll and butter, and salad with dressing. We then watched an old episode of "King of the Hill" where a woman in town tries to ban Halloween. The plane stats showed our altitude as 37,000 feet and the outside temperature as -63 degrees F at 3:30 in the morning. We both slept a little, and the flight went by very quickly. Before we knew it the sun was showing itself. We got a picture of the sunrise as we were served a nice breakfast of croissant, jelly, orange juice, and tea. We watched a few short TV programs about FIFA soccer (it being World Cup time and all) and hotels. A woman sitting near us was spraying an excessive amount of perfume onto herself. Quickly it spread through and fumigated the entire plane. Craig, who is quite susceptible to smells, was thrilled. Yuck! What do some people think when they are in an airplane anyway?
Kenya poster in Logan Airport

Sun setting over Logan airport

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