Safe again, we looked at each other and mouthed the words, “I love you.” We had come so close to disaster. We were lucky to have survived and we knew it, but the experience had left us shaken and exhausted. We had also learned an important lesson; danger could be our traveling companion on future trips as well. It was a possibility we had to face.
After a short layover in Copenhagen, we boarded the next flight to Athens. On landing at Athens Airport, our plane was met by uniformed soldiers armed with machine guns. They quickly took the passengers in tow and escorted us to the terminal where we waited for our flight to Nairobi. Greece was in a state of political unrest at the time, as rival factions vied for control of the government.
We arrived in the Kenyan capital late in the afternoon and checked into the Nairobi Hilton. We were both exhausted. It seemed as through we had been traveling forever. To make matters worse, all those hours in economy class had left two tall people with really bad leg cramps.
The Republic of Kenya is located on the equator, with Ethiopia and The Sudan on the north and Tanzania on the south. To the east of Kenya, lie the Indian Ocean and Somalia. Uganda and Lake Victoria border on the west.
We were surprised to find that the climate in Nairobi was similar to that of San Diego, where we were living at the time. Arid conditions and high altitude have come together in Nairobi to create an equatorial anomaly. Located in the south central highlands, at an elevation of 5,500 feet, Nairobi’s mild weather belies its latitude.
“John fell asleep soon after we checked in,” Laura said. “I was too excited to sleep, so I sat up and read a travel book. As I was dropping off, I heard a loud clicking noise coming from the bathroom. I shook John to wake him up. Tired as he was, he bravely led the charge into the bathroom while I cowered behind him. He flipped on the light and there was the biggest bug either of us had ever seen. It was the size of a 20×15 millimeter oval gemstone. (And that’s BIG, as all gem lovers know.) The behemoth bug was eating the bristles of my toothbrush and smacking whatever it used for lips. I ran out of the room screaming and dived under the bed covers. In true John Ramsey style, my soft-hearted husband caught the creature and put him back outside to rejoin his relatives.”