|Phoenix to Dar Es Salaam, WW|
|Phoenix to Dar Es Salaam, WW|| |
Phoenix to Dar Es Salaam, WW
|Flying||1,160.00 Miles|| 28 Hrs 25 Mns ||40.82 mph|
|38,400 ft AEG|
||no linked trail guides|
|This is just the beginning of our month-long Africa trip... airline travel from Phoenix to Dar Es Salaam (Haven of Rest) Tanzania.
We left Phoenix Sky Harbor at 11:35 Thursday night, July 16 on South African Airways flight 7373 (Airbus 320 operated by JetBlue), arriving at New York's JFK shortly after 7 am (a few minutes early) Friday, July 17. With a 4 hour layover we had enough time to take the Air Train around the airport to the International Departures Terminal. Good thing we had plenty of time as it was prime time for passengers to pass through the pumpkin TSA 'security' screening, which meant as much time standing in line as we had to sit while waiting for the flight.
(It seems in the US more attention is paid to luggage than the individual, which really doesn't make sense to me... see more about this on our arrival in Dar Es Salaam below)
Next up was South African Airways flight 204 (Airbus 346) leaving JFK at 11:15 am Friday, July 17 and arriving at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa at 8:25 am local time Saturday, July 18.
For those into stats (like me) this leg of the flight we reached an altitude of 38,400 feet, hit a top speed of 576 mph with a low temp of -62° F.
With over an hour to change planes in the same part of the terminal we figured all would be fine. However... with the connecting flight being changed to another terminal we would have to leave, then enter back through security screening again.
By time we got through the screening we still had no idea how to get to the correct gate for the flight to Dar Es Salaam... There is no way we would have made the flight if not for an unpaid porter working solely for tips in the airport. He asked what flight we had to catch, and the moment we replied, he grabbed Tracey's carry-on bag and said Quickly, run with me! not sure if he was stealing her bag or actually helping us, we had no choice but to run along with him. Now as we are running he is first says five dollars US... then moments later it has risen to ten dollars US, then twenty dollars US and finally when we see the gate being closed a few hundred feet away he says forty dollars US and I go home today.
The moment the attendant saw us coming and opened the gate all I could say to the porter was Sorry pal, you won't be going home early today... thanks for the help but since you can't take a credit card and all the cash I have is two $5 bills, it's all you get. If I had more, it would still have been worth it because we made the flight!
Next up, SAA flight 186 leaving Johannesburg at 9:30 am Saturday, July 18 and arriving at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam Tanzania at 1:55 pm. Fun times there as it was raining and with no covered ramps it was a 75 yard walk across the pavement into the terminal. We were being expected by our Global Volunteers driver Mohammed, but with him not able to enter the airport (no ticket, no entry) so we were left to our own devices as to how to get through customs. We began with the obvious route to the 'International Passengers' kiosks, waiting in line for some time, and when it was our turn we were informed we need to go back to a counter marked 'Tanzanian Citizens' and fill out an entry form.
Of course there were no pens so Tracey began to fill hers out with the only pen we had, which was already failing. Just as she was about to finish, I noticed a number of partially filled forms laying all over. Upon closer inspection I found they were discarded because they weren't filled out in ALL CAPS! Which is also when I noticed Tracey doing the same thing... ok, start with a new form again. By time it was my time to use the pen all caps was ingrained into my mind and soon we were ready to stand in line again.
Now here is where it became interesting, in Tanzania, customs makes use of fingerprint and retina scanners. The scans are now tied to your Passport/Visa so when we will leave Tanzania in three weeks, they will compare Passport/Visa, fingerprints and retina scan with the incoming ones. Who'd a thunk a 'backward' country in Africa has more sense than the US? Where a quick glance at passport and face are all the security, while our bags our x-rayed, scanned, sniffed and in our case both our suitcases had been opened and thrashed through by TSA. (The main reason my carry on was loaded for bear with ALL my electronics, cameras, GPS, chargers... so I wouldn't lose them.)
As it was, with all the school supply donations, toothbrushes and toothpaste for 75 children our suitcase weighed 49.5 and 50 pounds... right on the airlines weight limit.
But... since we arrived safe and sound and with all our luggage intact (we would check it thoroughly later to be sure) we figured we were well ahead of the game.
One last thing... Tracey and I agreed we had not flown with any airline which treated us better than South African Airlines. The people were fabulous, very professional in dress as well as actions, the best airline food ever (albeit not a large sampling) and they offered much more than either JetBlue (flight from PHX to JFK) and Delta (last flight from JFK home to PHX)... Delta charged for EVERYTHING and even then things didn't work. But that's another story.
Outside the airport we finally met up with our driver Mohammed, who had taken the 30 minute drive to and from the airport the night before and 3 am early this morning, only to return again and wait for one more volunteer whose flight was a few hours after ours. One other volunteer missed a connecting flight back in the US and so Mohammed would make ANOTHER run back to the airport to pick the last one up at 4 am Sunday morning. If that wasn't enough to lose sleep over, at 7:30 am we will set off on the 300-mile 10-hour drive to Iringa... with Mohammed at the wheel the whole time!
We all had to give full credit to Mohammed as an absolutely unflappable and very safe driver... as bad as the traffic and drivers are in Tanzania, once we saw how easily he handled the chaos it was nothing to take a nap without fear of an accident. Oh yeah, one thing to note... while there are stoplights in Dar Es Salaam, they are simply suggestions... if you don't want to stop for a red, you just keep on going. As long as someone doesn't plan on beating you at a dangerous game of 'chicken' just keep the pedal to the metal.
We would pass through a city with a population of 3.5 million and another with 1.7 million and neither has ANY stoplights! I'll be posting that triplog soon.
BTW, the mileage listed on the triplog is off by more than a factor of 10... a triplog will not save with 11,600+ miles.