The following is an excerpt from my Kilimanjaro travel journal, written June 4, 2010
Every big international adventure needs to begin by exiting an airplane via a stairwell on the runway, stepping away from the friendly confines of the giant bird and into the great unknown.
That’s how we arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport, shrouded by the darkness of the night sky. From the plane, it was a short walk to the tiny terminal where a disorganized process of going through customs played out. After that, I gathered my luggage — both bags made it! — and found my waiting driver, Moingira. Three other guys doing the trek — Geoff and Peter from England, who will be a part of my group, and David, a man from Wales, who is part of a sister crew on our same itinerary — also hopped into the van for the ride to our hotels.
Moments after leaving the airport, we narrowly missed what surely would have been a windshield-shattering collision with an owl. That was just the beginning of our automobile adventure as we dodged cyclists, speed bumps, slow-moving vehicles and oncoming traffic before arriving safely at The Outpost.
Upon reaching the hotel, Geoff, Peter and I grabbed beers at the bar — Kilimanjaro Lager — to celebrate the end of a long day in transit. Their luggage was left behind by KLM in Amsterdam, including their boots, so hopefully it will turn up tomorrow.
Now I’m off to bed in my tiny cottage. The bed is draped in mosquito netting, which will be a first for me to experience. The sounds that will sing me to sleep tonight will be the crickets chirping, occasional animal cries … and ironically enough, the distant thumping of a techno club where I can distinctly hear people singing the refrain to “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey as I write this. Small world. Halfway around the globe, and some things never change.
Still, I’m sure the adventures tomorrow and in the days that follow will be unlike anything I’ve experienced back home in Kansas.