Posts Tagged With: amsterdam airport

Journey to America, Part II

Mom declared it a computer-free Christmas so I haven’t been able to finish telling you about my journey until now, so here’s the rest of the story about how I ended up in the frozen tundra of Upstate New York.

Here’s what my looooong trip looked like from Nairobi to Amsterdam to Detroit to Syracuse to Seneca Castle:

NBO to AMS to DTW to SYR to COLD

NBO to AMS to DTW to SYR to COLD

We spent the day of December 19th hanging out in Nairobi.  I want to re-iterate how super awesome the people are at the Nairobi Hilton!  Every single person knew my name and loved on me like you wouldn’t believe.  To all my East African canine travelers, stay there next time you’re in town!

Throughout the day I alternated between walks around the city (to a chorus of “he’s so cute”) and napping on the couch until it was time to get back in the car and head to the airport.

Napping

Napping

Nairobi

Nairobi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:05 pm

We’re in the car headed to the airport in Nairobi.  I can hear mom’s heart beating and because I’m her therapist I know she’s nervous.  I’m pretty sure it’s my fault.  We’ve got a really long trip ahead of us and I know she’s nervous that something will go wrong with me.  I try to reassure her.  I know that I’ll bark and bite (just kidding, I don’t bite) my way through any problem and that eventually we’ll get to where we need to be.

Mom’s carrying me in my custom-made African dog sling so we’re looking super stylish when we arrive at the airport.

Slinging around

Slinging around

 

8:04 pm

We enter the airport and go through the first of many “security checks”.  The people want to know what I’m doing there, but mom just ignores them because she knows they won’t understand.  At the check-in counter we’re told that we have to go see the manager even though mom confirmed me on the flight months ago with Delta.  Oh Africa, when will you ever understand the awesomeness of the dog?

We spent almost 45 minutes with the manager explaining what I do and showing him all my paperwork.  When he was finally satisfied, we were released and allowed to check our bags.  We still had more than 2 hours before the flight so mom wanted to take me outside for a potty-break since I’d be forced to hold it for a really long time once we were inside.

As we tried to leave the airport the Security man asked if there was a problem and mom told him she was taking me to the bathroom.  The man said, “but there’s a bathroom just over there” and pointed to the human women’s bathroom.  What a dummy!  First, I’m not a human and second, I’m not a woman.  Mom laughed and explained that I didn’t use a toilet, and that I needed to be OUTSIDE to do my business.  I guess I should come with a sheet of instructions to hand out to people in Africa!

10:34 pm

We’re finally on the plane!  When our seat-mate came, mom said, “I hope you don’t mind dogs” to which he replied, “They’re not my favorite”.  But let me tell you, I won that man over like nobody’s business and had my head in his lap by the end of the trip.  In fact, mom asked him if he was now a dog lover and he said that yes, he was, as long as they were all like me!

Also, a big shout-out to the KLM flight crew.  They were so nice and made sure that I had lots of water so I wouldn’t get dehydrated on the 9 hour flight from Nairobi to Amsterdam.

On the KLM plane to Amsterdam with my new friend in the background

On the KLM plane to Amsterdam with my new friend in the background

 

6:19 am

We’re in Amsterdam!  We don’t have much time here so we go straight to the gate for our flight to Detroit  I’m a little embarrassed to say that I had to go potty so bad that I tinkled on the floor and they made mom clean it up with the only thing she had available: her scarf.  Sorry mom!

In Amsterdam. More waiting.

In Amsterdam. More waiting.

 

8:35 am

And we’re on yet another plane. Our seat-mate this time is a dog-lover and he’s also from Upstate New York just like mom and me.  He doesn’t mind when I snuggle up against him and sleep the 9 hours between Amsterdam and Detroit.

AMS to DTW on Delta

On the Delta plane to Detroit

 

11:03 am

We’re back in America!  We have to wait in a long line to actually get into the country.  Lucky for me theres’s a rug that looks like gravel so when I stealth-pee no one can tell and I don’t get in trouble.  (And even if someone did see, I dare them to hold all that fluid in for more than 9 hours.  Humans are lucky because they can get up and go to the bathroom anytime they want on an airplane, but us dogs, we’ve got to be strong!)

After getting through customs, we get our bags and a nice man looks at my papers and writes DOG OK on a form and we’re off to yet another gate to wait for yet another plane.

There’s a bit of culture-shock in store for me in this Detroit airport.   First, there are these scary moving stairs thingies so mom puts me in my sling so I don’t have to figure out how they work.

Moving stairs = scary

Moving stairs = scary

Then we enter a colorful hallway with a moving sidewalk!  Can your imagine, Americans are so lazy they need their sidewalks to do the walking for them!  Mom knows I need the exercise so we just walk the normal way that humans and dogs have been walking for centuries, one foot in front of the other.

Avoiding the moving sidewalk

Avoiding the moving sidewalk

Disco Detroit

Disco Detroit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1:31 pm

We’re on a tiny plane this time, headed to Syracuse.  Mom and I are pooped.

2:58 pm

We’ve landed in Syracuse and we’re done with planes for a few weeks, hooray!  Uncle Ben and Grandma meet us at the airport for our last leg of the trip, a simple one-hour drive from Syracuse to Seneca Castle.

Uncle Ben has brought me a big puffy coat to wear and I quickly realize it’s because it’s FREEZING in America.  Seriously mom, after all this travel (66 hours to be exact) we’re in an inhospitable ice land.  WHY?

New coat

New coat

Also, while I appreciate the new coat, it makes me look fat.

TAKE ME BACK TO TANZANIA!!

TAKE ME BACK TO TANZANIA!!

 

 

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Shipping Cats

I don’t think I ever properly introduced you to my friends and (former) housemates: BlackCat and WhiteCat.  BlackCat and WhiteCat belong to mom and Aunt Amanda’s friend Jilli.  When Jilli moved from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam she needed some animal lovers to watch her cats and everyone knows that Mwanza’s animal sanctuary is located right here at my house! BlackCat and WhiteCat quickly integrated into our household and we all became good friends.

BlackCat, WhiteCat, and me

BlackCat, WhiteCat, and me

Well, I knew there was trouble brewing when Jilli showed up on Friday night with a big cage.  Mom used to put me in a cage when she left for work, but I hated that darn thing and I can’t stand the site of these animal torture boxes.  The cage sat around the house for the whole weekend so I kind of forgot about it, but a few hours ago everything changed.

Jilli put a Maasai blanket in the cage and then mom put me inside to see how I liked it.  Even though this cage is WAY bigger than the one I used to have, I still didn’t like it.  I believe it’s for unmannered dogs and therefore I clearly do not need to be in one ever again.

Nope! Not for me

Nope! Not for me

First Jilli captured BlackCat and put him inside and LOCKED THE DOOR.  This is when I realized that this was no joke.  Jilli was actually preparing to take her cats somewhere.

Stuck inside

Stuck inside

Poor BlackCat

Poor BlackCat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WhiteCat was smart and hid in a suitcase in Aunt Amanda’s room, but eventually he was found and then placed in the cage with BlackCat too.

At least they have each other

At least they have each other

WhiteCat goes in

WhiteCat goes in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as my kitty friends were in the cage, Jilli and the Maasai carried the cage up the driveway, out through the gate, and then into the back of a waiting car.  Where the heck were they taking BlackCat and WhiteCat?

Stop! Bring them back!

Stop! Bring them back!

Where are you taking my friends?

Where are you taking my friends?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started freaking out so mom explained that Jilli was taking the cats in an airplane to Dar es Salaam.  I bet it must be scary for a kitty to be in a cage in an airplane without his mom.  But I suppose BlackCat and WhiteCat will be ok because they have each other for comfort.  BlackCat and WhiteCat will stay in Dar es Salaam for a week with Jilli and then they will do the long flight like I did a year ago.  Mom says that I shouldn’t worry because BlackCat and WhiteCat are very lucky that they are moving to America, especially since WhiteCat was just a Tanzanian street cat that never could have dreamed of such a good life.  Apparently they even get to go to a special kitty hotel in the Amsterdam airport between their flights.

I wish mom had let me know a little sooner that BlackCat and WhiteCate would be making the trip to America.  I could have given them some pointers and told them what it’s like to go on an airplane for many, many hours.  Except that when I went I got to sit with my mom (lucky me)!

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

I’ll miss my kitty friends, but in the end I’m happy for them and excited for their adventure.  Jilli better let them e-mail me from time to time and perhaps I can even visit when I’m back in America too!

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The Journey

My mom is going to Nairobi today and it’ll be the first time I’ve ever spent a night without her. Good thing I have Aunt Amanda to take care of me! Speaking of Nairobi, that’s where my African adventure began. Here’s the beginning of the story of my 5 day trip from Stanley, NY to Mwanza, Tanzania:

On December 30th, 2011, my grandparents drove me and mom to the Syracuse airport. Mom had 180 lbs of luggage, including lots of food, toys, and goodies for me! Luckily, mom’s doctor had written her a note certifying that I am an emotional support animal, because let’s face it, my mom is a little crazy! Because I’m considered a service animal, I was able to ride in the cabin with my mom all the way to Nairobi, thanks Delta and KLM!!

The first leg of our trip was easy, we got to sit in the first row and I chewed my bone on mom’s lap all the way from Syracuse to Detroit.

Mom and I at the Syracuse airport

We had a few hours to kill once we landed in Detroit, while we waited for dad to arrive from St. Louis. I was on my best behavior, I peed in the handicapped bathroom and did my best loose-leash walking. I was SUPER excited when my dad arrived!

Hanging out in the Detroit airport

My first transatlantic flight was from Detroit to Amsterdam. I had no idea I would be on an airplane for so long! My mom gave me some medicine so that I could sleep and boy did it make me feel silly. I slept for most of the flight and all the flight attendants came to see what a good puppy I was. In my opinion, I was much better behaved than all those babies and toddlers!

My first international destination was Amsterdam, although I never got to leave the airport. KLM was nice enough to give us Economy Extra, so mom, dad, and I all got our own seats! At first, the flight attendants didn’t think I was allowed to go to Kenya, but mom promptly showed them my import permit and health documents and everything was fine.

I got another sleeping pill for the 8 hour flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi. I don’t like to drink water from a bowl in moving vehicles, so I ended up getting really dehydrated. My body temperature went up and mom got super worried about me. Luckily dad came up with a solution. They fed me water from a syringe and I bounced back as soon as I got rehydrated.

When we landed in Nairobi, mom was worried that the customs officials might give us problems, but they only glanced at my paperwork and sent us on our way. We were officially in Africa!

As soon as I got outside and found some grass, I had a much-needed potty break and then we were on our way to the Hilton Hotel. The weather was awesome and I couldn’t be happier spending New Year’s Eve anywhere else.

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