Friday, February 16, 2007

Greetings from Djibouti

Hi everyone. I hope all is well with you.

I have finally arrived in Djibouti!

I forgot that I have to be patient when traveling. It sure seemed to take forever to get here.

Kristin didn't tell me why we were stopping in Paris on the way to Africa. But I learned as soon as I woke up from my trip to the city that Keith and Kristin were waiting to meet someone who is traveling with them to Africa. His name is Malcolm, and he is very nice. Malcolm works for Keith and Kristin's friend Simon in Washington, DC. Guess what? Malcolm is filming parts of the trip to make a television news story. Isn't that cool?! Here I am with my new friend Malcolm.

Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm had to wait for awhile in Paris before we could catch our flight to Ethiopia. Keith and Kristin had important things to talk to Malcolm about, so I kept busy watching the planes take off and land at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Can you see there is a plane about to land in this photo? How cool is that?!

FINALLY, we boarded our plane to Ethiopia. But just as we were getting ready to leave the gate, all of the lights in the plane suddenly went out. The plane was VERY dark. I am not afraid of the dark but I was very scared when the lights went out. I was sure we were going to never make it to Africa. Keith even told me that he was convinced King Tut had placed a curse on Kristin.

The lights came back on after a few minutes (WHEW!). I guess King Tut wasn't too mad at Kristin. In the end, the plane left more than an hour late from Paris. I was so tired from being worried that I slept almost the entire flight.

Because we were late leaving Paris, Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm had to rush to get to the plane in Ethiopia that was taking us to Djibouti. Luckily, the Djibouti flight was also delayed. I'm not sure why the Djibouti flight was late. Kristin says it's because we are now on "Africa time." I'm not sure what that really means, but she didn't seemed worried that the plane was late.

Kristin and I had an entire row to ourselves on the flight to Djibouti and we were only on the plane for an hour. However, it took us almost as long to get through customs once we landed.

Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm had a special paper from the people at the military base. Kristin told me that the paper was supposed to help them get the "visa" or special pass they needed to get into Djibouti. I'm not so sure it helped. Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm had to wait in a special line while a very serious-looking police officer slowly looked at their passports and paperwork. I started to worry that it was my fault that they had to wait so long because I didn't have a special piece of paper. Kristin told me not to worry. She says flat people like me do not need a special piece of paper in Djibouti. Whew!

After several minutes, the police officer unlocked a drawer in his desk and asked Keith to pay him some money. The office then put several stamps in Keith, Kristin, and Malcolm's passports. They were able to leave as soon as they had their stamps. I'm still not sure why it took so long, but I am very glad Kristin had the special paper with her. I'm not sure we would have been allowed to leave the airport without it!

I think I told you that Keith and Kristin are here to visit a US military base. Several people from the base were waiting in the lobby for us when we finally got our luggage. All were dressed in the sand and beige uniforms I see on television. Keith says the uniforms are known as "fatigues" or "camouflage." Who knew?

I was hoping we were going to stay on the military base with the soldiers. But Kristin says there wasn't enough space for all of us. :( She also said we would have to stay in tents. I think that would be so COOL. But I could tell Kristin didn't want to stay in a tent. Instead, we are staying at the new Kempinski Hotel in Djibouti. It is very nice. You can see the Indian Ocean from the hotel lobby. Have you ever heard of the Indian Ocean? I haven't. I thought the Pacific and Atlantic were the only oceans in the world. Kristin says there are many oceans. I guess I had better study my new atlas to learn about all of the other oceans around the world.

The hotel is located near the Djibouti Port. There are HUGE ships and boats in the port and in the ocean near the hotel.

The hotel has a very nice pool (but Kristin says we will not have time to swim). If you look carefully in the photo below, you will see the Indian Ocean behind us.

Can you tell it was very windy when we first arrived at the hotel?

Do you see the flag flying behind us? Kristin says that is the national flag for Djibouti. That's all for now. Kristin says we will visit the military base tomorrow. She also says we will be very busy so I may not have time to write every day.

Until next time....