My friend Andy is kind enough to drive me to the Sarasota Airport. When I show the Delta agent my reservation number he found it but said that I had no ticket, that it had been cancelled. He could not clarify who had cancelled it, and I am forced to buy a new last minute ticket. My ticket price jumps from $268 to over $1100. But what can I do?
Furthermore I can not get my orignally booked flights and so am scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia at midnight instead of 4:30PM. Thankkfully, by flying standby, I make it at 4:30pm. I find Sage, my cycling partner, repairing her damaged bike box at carousel one.
Sage at the Philly Airport
Shawn at the Philly Airport
The flight to Dhoa is 12 hours. Economy class has been oversold and Sage and I get bumped to business class- complete with chairs that motor into beds! It is my first time, and I am so comfortable that I do not want to get off the plane. Sage is taking Doxyclcene as a malarial propholactic, and is having minor anxiety issues.
We land in Doha, and must run many blocks to catch the fligt to Dar, which has already boarded. Will our luggage fly over with us? We clear the gate and hop into a waiting bus, and sit there for 15 minutes, because the bus is blocked in. When we land in Dar we clear immigration and confirm that our bikes and luggage have not made it.
We fill out forms and are assured that our luggage will arrive tomorrow and be shipped to our hotel. We leave to look for our cab driver, who is not there. Some negotiation gets our fare down to a fair $15. Away we go.
Impressions- Seas of African faces line the highway, walking in dust and dodging chunks of missing sidewalk. Dust coats everything. Motorscooters risk lives by slipping by in any unused space. Cabs drive as quickly as possbible, ignoring lane lines to pass.
Small shops rest in niches in dusty grey concrete buidlings. Their owners sit listlessly in the heat and wait for business.
Our hotel, the Safari Inn, is thankfully tucked into a small Cul de sac, and has a gate and guard. It is clean, and the workers friendly. Our bikes arrive the next day, but not my panniers, which have have everything in them. Hopefully today.
I must take Dar in small doses. Sage is recovering so I walk alone. The streets are filled with people, cars. The streets are muddy, broken up, the buildings old. it feels like someone tried to squeeze three times as many people as their should be into every small space. I am the only white face in my hour walks. Touts hit me up, but leave me alone after I talk with them.
I hope all my gear gets here.
In front of my hotel is the auto repair street. It is filled with mechanics and broken cars.
I have a hard time taking pictures here, as it feels voyeuristic to take pictures of people struggling, and then there are a lot of places where I am reluctant to pull out my camera.