Airplanes – Leg Three

Some planes landed. Other planes took off.  Some were surprisingly large.  It was now approaching noon.  Apart from two chocolate éclair sweets, I had eaten nothing.  I didn’t like the look of anything at the café, so I held on to my hunger.  After about another hour, I heard the word Dar again, and launched forward to the gate, scrambling to get forward.  I was still way back in the queue; a dangerous place to be on an African flight with no seat allocation, but we all grouped together on the tarmac when our tickets had been ripped apart, and I managed to circle to the front.  We headed off towards a couple of brightly painted Air Tanzania aircraft.  Despite the stories I had heard of Air Tanzania, our craft was a rather clean and cheerful one, and despite my worries for a seat, I ended up with three seats to myself.  Once we had taken off, I could take no more of MMBA so settled down to catch up on some sleep.  I occasionally glanced out and saw huge dry tracts pitted with brown coloured lakes.  Later I realised I had crossed the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater, but it was difficult to be oriented from 30,000 ft.  I awoke about an hour later to find the aircraft in a cloud.  When we descended, rather than the Indian Ocean or a huge city, I saw wide plains, some plantations, a few scrubby patches of ground and the bottoms of mountains shrouded in clouds.  I realised I was not in Dar es Salaam at all.  I worked it out eventually, and I think it was the sight of seven-foot Masai herdsmen in their bright red attire, whose height seemed to loom up at us as we came down to land, that did it.  This was Kilimanjaro Airport, serving the resorts of Arusha and Moshi in the north east of Tanzania.  I was still around two hundred miles from Dar es Salaam, and had now been travelling for some seven hours.  I began to think I had got on the wrong flight, but at last I heard an intelligible announcement that told me that passengers for Dar should remain on the aircraft.  A mixed bag of people, tourists, businessmen and women, and travellers with their whole lives wrapped up in string and brought on optimistically as hand luggage boarded.  We were on our way and I managed to keep my eyes open for the last hour.  Once we cleared the clouds around Kilimanjaro, we left the green tea and coffee plantations behind and returned to the more common scrub.

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2 thoughts on “Airplanes – Leg Three

  1. Airplanes – Leg Three – String Knife and Paper

  2. Airplanes – Leg Three – String Knife and Paper

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