Nearly there

I had a long drawn out breakfast with my colleague. It was nice not to have to look at my watch. We talked for hours. We were the only ones from our party who had not left. Downstairs in the lobby an unmanned piano played Auld Lang Syne and other seasonal melodies.

I had planned to have a massage in the morning but my Ethiopian friend E said she’s come to pick me up for a coffee at 9. She never came and I never had my massage. Instead I finished some administrative chores and then went to the airport.

The baggage check revealed something metal in my luggage. To the man behind the computer screen this appeared suspicious. I had to unpack my suitcase. I knew what he was looking for, the bronze Nepali temple bells which I use to indicate that time’s up in my workshops. He asked what they were and I told them they were bells for praying. His supervisor was called and this time I told him these were bells I used for praying. He smiled and decided not to confiscate them when I indicated that I really needed them for my religious practice.

In Nairobi I stepped into the wrong bus, the one that went to the terminal. When I was asked to pay 20 dollars for a transit visa I protested. That is 5 dollars per hour for my 4 hour wait, I said. When the immigration official understood that I wasn’t going to leave the airport I was handed over to a nice gentleman who organized a small bus to take me across the airport to the transit hall.

The KLM double-decker Boeing packed us like sardines, and then, 8 hours later, deposited hundreds of us at a drizzly Schiphol airport before 5 AM. Here I am now, waiting for the next and final leg of this long trip. I feasted on beschuit met kaas in the KLM lounge. I didn’t touch the speculaas or the stroopwafels and licorice because I am still on a no-processed-sugar diet, quite successfully I might say. I am experiencing that mental clarity I was promised 6 weeks ago. Indeed!

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