Since I’ve returned back from Madagascar last Wednesday I’ve had a lot going on. Although I haven’t been out on safari or sightseeing at all I’ve been really preoccupied. First of all, the customs officer at the airport gave me only two days on my transit visa. I’ve been buying seven day transit visas in Kenya because I’ve only been in the country for a short time both times. It was impossible for me to get money, settle in and buy a bus ticket in that amount of time so I spent a little while in the immigrations building downtown pleading for an extention. Like usual, the officer told me “we aren’t supposed to do this” but gave me the full seven days I had paid for.
I managed to take out a good chunk of cash (but not as much as I need) from an ATM here and convert it to US Dollars. I’ll need a lot of dollars to pay for a trip to the gorillas (if I can get a spot) and all of the visas I’ll need. Once again I’m getting fraud notices from my bank. I’m still steaming from the unwarned cancelation of my card in Ethiopia. After that I set about town to find a good deal on a flight back home. I’ve discovered that there really aren’t many good deals to be had. It’s peak season and even on the internet, even with student fares, I’m going to pay a minimum of $1200 for a one-way flight to Chicago (probably through London). To add insult to injury there was a sign exclaiming “Nairobi – Chicago: $790” in one of the offices. Of course, those fares are long sold out, even two months in advance.
To get the cheapest fare available now I’ll have to fly Kenya Airways to London and then Virgin or American on to Chicago. I would prefer not to fly Kenya, not because they just crashed in Cameroon, but because my mom knows they just crashed in Cameroon and will worry more than she should. I’m really more concerned if they have personal screens for the in-flight entertainment.
Even to do that I will have to buy the first leg here in Kenya at the STA representative and then buy the second leg through the UK STA rep over the phone. I could buy a flight through London all the way on British Airways for $1318, but once I add 5% to use a credit card and $30 to stopover the price is right up there with most Airlines. If so, then why not fly Qatar Aiways and take a one day stopover in Doha?
If I wasn’t getting so much pressure from home to return I would just wait until September and continue South to fly out of South Africa. But with each email my mom asks more directly when I’m coming home. Somehow a graduation party for my brother has become a sticking point and everyone’s waiting for me to buy a ticket so the party can be planned and my sister can fly home from Colorado, where she lives.
To make all of this more complicated my iBook just died. If you remember, it’s been having a hard time since Ethiopia and the screen finally went completely black two days ago. I’ve gone as far as to buy the tools to open the bottom case and attempt the suggested fix myself but it didn’t work. The Kenyan hardware stores I visited were well stocked but they still didn’t have a spludger. I think either the logic board connection is totally severed or one of the cables connecting the screen got pinched. The nice people over on the Mac support forums can’t agree on that.
The idea of not having my computer is scary. I’ll have to find more books and other forms of entertainment. I won’t be able to sort my photos or update any of my site besides quick posts like this one. It kills me because I can hear it working and know the drive is still operating, it’s only the screen that’s a problem. Mac has special cables to connect to external monitors so without finding an Apple dealer my computer is unaccessable. I’ve found a “Macintosh Users Group in Nairobi” online and one of the members emailed me back today, saying he forwarded my email to an Apple dealer in Nairobi. I would love to just know where you can buy Apple products here. It probably won’t happen though because not only do I have a bus ticket to Uganda on Tuesday, my new extended visa expires on Tuesday so I have to move on.