Well, I’m en route to Uganda! Although, actually, I probably won’t be able to post this blog until I get there. So yay! I’m in Uganda! But I’m not going to talk about Uganda just yet. I’m going to talk about my trip TO Uganda, and about the layover in Entebbe, which was…well, you’ll hear about it soon enough.
After a frenzied day of packing and a lovely chicken parm hero dinner in the car, I said goodbye to my family at the airport and met up with all of my friends who will be accompanying me on the trip. Despite what in the end added up to a 2 hour delay, a few crying children and a very temperamental automatically flushing toilet, the wait for the flight was pretty enjoyable. The flight itself wasn’t bad either. For some reason, they didn’t give me the seat I reserved, (probably because they overbooked the flight), so I wasn’t with my friends, but I made a new one named Carla, and squeezed in some quality entertainment. The Emirates line is really nice! They have touch screen TVs on the back of every seat, and you can choose between a pretty wide variety of movies, tv shows, music, etc. to keep you busy. They had Sherlock, which I was pretty psyched about. You should check out the show if you’re not already familiar with it. I did some reading, too! I’ve got a bunch of books that I brought with me (thanks for the recommendations, Vince…you’re probably not reading this, though. I hope your computer gets fixed soon!), which hopefully will last me for most of the summer. On the flight I finished Queen of the Oddballs (thanks again for giving it to me, Nate!), a play called Take Me Out which I’ll probably direct a scene from for my directing class in the fall (heads up Miles and Andreas!), and an incredible new script from one of my favorite playwrights of all time, Sean Michael Welch, called All an Act (for more information and to help Sean and the team take the play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer to receive the credit it deserves, check out http://allanact.weebly.com/index.html !
Now, on to Dubai itself. The group and I had all sorts of grand plans for what we might do during the night we were there. We were going to do a bus tour of the city, go to a nice restaurant, etc. etc. Sounds like fun, right? Well, I’m sure it would have been. But our time in Dubai was riddled with tiny mishaps. Nothing huge—everything important was taken care of. We just had all of these slight, frustrating, misfortunes. Basically, just a lot of bad luck. First off, with the delays, we didn’t arrive until much later than we were originally supposed to. It took us longer to leave the airport, because I was separated from the group for a bit, and we had to locate each other. It was a bit difficult since I didn’t have my phone, and the Dubai airport is enormous. Since we are a fairly large group, we had to take 2 separate cabs to the hotel from the airport, and one of the cabs went to the wrong hotel at first. After checking in, the four other people staying in my suite and I discovered that none of our room keys unlocked the door. And believe me, we ALL tried. Eventually, we were able to get someone from the front desk to fix it for us.
I’ll now take a momentary break from relating this series of unfortunate events to present you with some pictures I took of our hotel, which, by the way, was gorgeous!
Here we all are, in this cool tent thing in the hotel lobby!
Here’s a picture of the hotel lobby that I took as we were all arriving:
Allison and Greg unpack in the suite:
The bathroom (the larger of TWO!)
Ok, so once we got settled, we decided to find some food, because we were really hungry. The restaurant we’d wanted to go to right by the hotel was closed, because it was so late, so we wandered for a bit, trying to find a place to eat.
There didn’t seem to be any other restaurants, unfortunately, within walking distance of the hotel, and we were very hungry. We did, however, come upon a mall, where we figured we’d find a food court. As luck would have it, we arrived just as everything was closing, but we walked through the mall anyway, just in case. We were amused to find that several well-known U.S. chain stores were alive and thriving in Dubai. Here are a few of them:
And, best of all…Borders still exists there!
Tired and hungry, we decided to return to the hotel and order room service. They had pizzas, which we figured we could share easily as a large group. This totally would have worked if anyone we called ever picked up the phone. We couldn’t even reach the front desk or the operator to connect us to room service. We had pretty much given up, but then one of the guys went down to the front desk and ordered for us. And, of course, to add insult to injury, THEY DIDN’T HAVE PIZZA. It ended up being ok, though. We got a platter with a bunch of different Middle Eastern dips, with some bread. They even gave us tiny pastries filled with meat, cheese and vegetables! It was delicious and much needed.
Since I wasn’t able to post this before my flight for Kampala left, I can add a little bit about the second flight, too. It’s been pretty uneventful so far, and it’s much shorter, which is nice. I have been listening to George Carlin’s Napalm and Silly Putty on my ipod, which is every bit as hilarious as you’d imagine it would be. He has a whole section about airplanes, which I was listening to just as we took off, and I’d just experienced pretty much everything he makes fun of, which made it that much better. If you’re someone who gets nervous about flying, you should definitely read or listen to that chapter when you’re on the plane, I bet it will make you feel better. I’ve been finding it so comforting and reassuring to have George Carlin talking to me during this flight. It’s really helping to ease my nerves—and I’ve got a lot of them, now that the reality of arriving in and spending 2 months in Uganda is finally hitting me—hard. I talked to my friend Nick the other day, just a few hours before I left for the airport and he asked me how I was feeling. I told him that I was feeling a big, sloppy dog pile of emotions. Currently, I’m feeling that way multiplied by about a billion…and I’m sure that once I actually set foot in Uganda, these feeling will only be amplified. In the best way. Tonight, we’ll get to explore Kampala and Jinja, and get a bit of an introduction to Uganda and the FSD site team. I can’t wait! I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow (hopefully!)
P.S. I miss you all already! ❤