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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 0.314269, 32.5729
I woke before 5am to shower and finish packing my bag. After saying goodbye to Chris, I jumped into Eli's car at 5:15 to begin the hour-long journey to the airport. We had another good round of conversation before parting ways at the front door.
I was flying out with an economy ticket but I used my Priority Pass to access the Karibuni lounge. It's not much but it has a good view of the airfield where I watched a couple scheduled UN flights depart for South Sudan. I snagged a bottle of water from the drink cart and made my way to the gate area for the short flight to Nairobi.
The Nairobi airport was a touch confusing as I landed with Kenyan airways at their modern section of the terminal, but had to connect to Etihad which was located in 1960s area of the terminal. A one-way security checkpoint exists going opposite my direction of walking so I was at first a bit confused that I was leaving the secure area, only to realize I was leaving the "nice" secure area. Either way, I walked the airport a bit before landing in the Simba Lounge where I ate
a few nice croissants and charged my phone (and snagged another water).
Departing Nairobi, we flew over the barren landscape of central Somalia. As the sun set, I could see the fires of the bedouin-like residents below. I can understand why Somalia has some troubles. Then I slept, a lot.
I expected a lot from the airports of the gulf region, but found myself exiting the plane onto a bus (at least a special bus just for first class passengers) and whisked around the airport to the terminal entrance. Apparently this is standard for all short and medium haul flights. I only had 90 minutes connecting time, but I managed to make the most of it at the Etihad business class lounge where I had a delicious meal of vegetable korma and steak fries with chocolate mousse for dessert.
I boarded the last flight of the day, an hour-long hope to Bahrain. The flight was uneventful other than getting to see some of the ostentatious gulf real estate deals lit up with nobody home. After a brief delay in immigration (I couldn't get my pre-approved visa payment to process over the Internet), I met my hotel driver who took me to the Rotana
Downtown hotel. As is custom, the place was filled with Saudi's on their weekend break from rigid Islamic rules. I had a nice shower and slept a solid 8 hours in my room on the 16th floor.
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