Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Under African Skies

I have arrived. And will enjoy my first night under African skies in the Cold War era Jomo Kenyatta international airport. This airport is the 4th busiest airport on the continent of Africa serving 5 million travelers annually. From the looks of this place you would have no idea so many eager and weary travelers pass through the terminals here. There are no more then 10 electrical outlets in this place and the women sitting next to me just blew one of them so now we are down to 9. I feel rude occupying one but in the heart of Africa it is a fight for electronic survival. 

Before arriving I was trying to figure out if going to a hotel was worth the price considering my flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was early the next morning. There was a significant lack of information about the facilities in Jomo and transport alone to hotels in Nairobi (20 kilometers away from NBO) was going to be between $40-80 round trip. For 4 hours of sleep I considered that not worth the price. Not knowing what to expect I have been plesently surprised by the offerings here--even with the musty 1970s smell. 

For those who might be finding themselves overnighting in the Nairobi airport here is some useful information for you (especially since sleepinginairports.com is not accurate):

1. The sleeping rooms have been ripped out. 
2. Ethiopian airlines and its partners have a lounge that you can pay $30 for 3 hours. Booze is included in that price.
3. NBO has FREE wifi. That is more than Ohare and most US airports offer.  
4. If changing airlines they will transfer your bags and so there is no need to go through immigration and purchase a transit visa. ($20 saved)
5. Take the airplane blanket and use it to sleep on. You will be amongst many sprawled across the floors here. 
6. If in dire straights, Johnnie Walker is in abundance at the duty free shops.

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