This year we were the first group of students leaving for China in August. .The rest would came a week later. Our trip would end in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province. The group of 4, in which I was amongst, unlike the later groups, we had no one to receive us upon landing in China. This is a fact that we would soon come into terms with when we landed in China. The larger group for Jinan, Shandong Province was leaving in early September. Other students had similar plans around the same time.
Jump to :
- Nairobi – Addis Ababa(Ethiopia)
- Addis Ababa – Guangzhou (China)
- Guangzhou – Nanjing(Jiangsu, China)
- Welcome to Nanjing
The flight was at 3.00AM to China via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines frequently flies to Nairobi, twice a week and this relatively small jet would be our means to the mountainous capital. By 1AM the other students had started arriving with the last arriving by 2AM. Lately, flights require passengers to check-in at least an hour before departure time.
The early morning chill was unforgiving and I wondered what kind of send-off package the weather had decided to give us. After an emotional moment with our relatives at the airport, we proceeded to the check-in gates and bid farewell to them. Security check was normal and within no time we were gazing into mid air in the waiting lounge for at least 45 minutes, candidly looking into the busy ground activity below.
Much excitement could be felt as we engaged into minimal chatter each with mixed emotions and trying to understand how the flight would be like, leave alone the stay in China. The future was great but at the moment, quite puzzling. For some of us it was the first time to board the plane, so we could not help making numerous walks across the room as if counting the jets below.
Finally the kind ladies adorned with the Kenya Airways red uniform gave a call for all to board. To our amazement we were led to the ground level via a flight of steps, a few meters across the busy cargo area and later to the awaiting jet. She looked in good condition although she had some mileage under her belt. The 45 minutes flight started as soon as we found our seats and seatbelts went cluck-cluck.
Nairobi night grew smaller as we gained altitude into the dark misty skies above Kenya. This was the last time we were to cast a glimpse of the East African Republic, also the last time we would speak a language and be understood well, the latter (what latter? You use this word when comparing. I don’t see any comparison) we didn’t really understand. The pilot proved his badges as he guided the aircraft into higher skies despite the rumbling and panting of the Boeing engines just beside me. The other students were equally puzzled as we gained altitude, but the rest of the passengers seemed used to the experience. This was well shown by many who were gazing into magazines.
45 minutes of being stuck into a seat under a tight seatbelt was not the most comfortable experience but with the spectacular view through the window, made me forget my plight altogether. It’s not that I could see anything actually since we took flight at 4.00 AM but as the sun rose in the horizon at 6.00 AM, it was a beautiful view worth taking a shot.