I sit here in the lounge of my parents-in law watching Wimbledon – the Ladies Semi-Finals (Kerber vs Williams). It’s almost like we’ve never been away.
It’s our first day back in England (Blighty is an old-fashioned term for Britain / England). It was a long and somewhat stressful trip back with Turkish Air / Fast Jet.
It all started back in Mwanza with a lengthy conversation with a ‘jobsworth’ Fast Jet official who insisted that although on weight – we were only allowed one bag each on the plane – this was neither on the ticket or clearly described in the small print – we almost missed our flight!
In Dar Es Salaam – we discovered our 3 am flight was delayed by six hours – resulting in a sleepless night in the Airport. The reason for the delay was never fully explained though attributed to technical difficulties. The result of all this delay was that we would miss our connecting flight from Istanbul to London. Thankfully but after a hour long, 1 – 2am wait in the airport we were re-scheduled for a later flight.
The delay was almost 7 hours in the end and got us into Istanbul with a little over an hour to spare before check-in. So a quick taste of European culture (Café Nero) before boarding our Heathrow flight. Arriving back in the UK about 9pm we realised that of our 7 bags, 3 were still in Istanbul. One of the three belonged to Anita who had no clothes, one to me who had no other shoes but sandals, the other to my daughter.
These were subsequently put on another flight – but one bag only has arrived thus far – the others having taken an even later flight back and expected late this evening. Although all these will be couriered across – things are still very frustrating.
I’m told this is the perils of long-haul travel – just hoping our journey back to Mwanza will be less of an ordeal.
One positive of our delayed flight today was the chance to see the Sahara from above. This vast desert stretches from Sudan in the South to the Egyptian shores of the Mediterranean in the North, from the Red Sea in the East to Morocco in the West. We fly over a narrow band to it’s East and flowing through it, the River Nile (a river we last encountered in Uganda). Here the river meanders through the desert providing much needed water and minerals which in turn allow the desert dwellers a chance to farm. Adjacent to the Nile, in the rugged brown ‘sandscape’ we saw strange circular patterns – more signs of irrigation as the farmers turn the desert green.
The desert is far from featureless for the most part with rocky outcrops of brown dispersed amongst the pale yellows, greys, beiges and whites of the ‘sandscape’. Pipelines cross the landscape delivering water or possibly oil. Elsewhere the sands are worn by long gone rivers and streams forming tree-like patterns.
Then out of the window looms as large stretch of water, the reservoir formed by the Aswan Dam, intricate filigree as sand meets water. Resembling the Norwegian coastline, as viewed from space.
Then eventually Cairo and the Mediterranean, the end of the desert and a change to green then bright blue..
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