Travel Day Saga: From Asia to Africa

In true World Race fashion, my first travel day as a Logistics Leader proved to be an initiation on many different levels. Here’s how it all went down.

Friday, January 25

  • Leave ministry location to head into Phnom Penh. Goal: to obtain yellow fever certificates for 2 of our girls who had theirs lost or stolen in Thailand, since they might be needed to cross borders in Africa.
  • Noonish: Arrive at hotel in Phnom Penh.
  • 2:00pm: Watch squad leader Becky eat a fried tarantula.
  • 6:00pm: Eat at Mike’s Place, an awesome American burger joint.

Saturday, January 26

  • 7:00am: Head to clinic to get yellow fever certificates
  • 10:00am: Yellow fever certificates obtained. Ready for some coffee, free WiFi and relaxation at The Blue Pumpkin, one of the best places in Phnom Penh.
  • 2:00pm: Head back to hotel to meet up with the rest of our team who has just arrived.
  • 5:00pm: Head to the ghetto mall for dinner/stock up on snacks and groceries for the impending travel day.
  • 8:00pm: Take advantage of a hot shower (rare on the Race!) 🙂
  • 10:00pm: Skype with Mom for 2 hours 🙂
  • 12:30am: It’s after midnight, and travel starts in about 6 hours, so it’s off to bed I go!

Sunday, January 27

  • 6:00am: 5-minute tuk tuk ride from hotel in Phnom Penh to sketchy bus station on street corner.
  • Wait for other teams to arrive.
  • 7:30am: Board bus, only to discover there are not enough seats for everyone, and definitely not enough room for our huge packs. First logistical challenge: get all of the people who are not supposed to be on this bus off of the bus, get J Squad on the bus, stuff our backpacks into the aisles, and off to Siem Reap we go!
  • 12:30pm: Arrive at bus station in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • 12:45pm: Stuff our big packs onto tuk tuks and walk the rest of the way to our hostel
  • 1:00pm – ? Get settled into our rooms, grab an early Mexican dinner (yay for touristy places!), check out the night market, and crash into our beds, exhausted. 🙂

Monday, January 28

  • 5:00am: Wake up to visit Angkor Wat!
  • 7:30am: A little upset that our sunset visit to this Wonder of the World was cloudy, and a little less than desirable. Nonetheless, we’re off to explore and get attacked by monkeys!
  • Noon: Arrive back at the hostel. Find out there’s a bunch of last minute, unexpected logistics details to take care of.
  • 8:00pm: J Squad worship time.
  • 9:30pm: Announcement time, we leave bright and early at 6am for Tanzania!

Tuesday, January 29

  • 6:15am: J Squad departs from hostel in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • 6:30am: Tuk tuks carry our huge backpacks from the hostel to the bus stop, where we’re to be picked up at 7:00am.
  • 7:30am: No buses in sight.
  • 7:45am: Bus shows up, but our big backpacks yet again prove to be too much for it to handle—into the aisles they go again!
  • 10:30am: Arrive at the Cambodia/Thailand border.
  • 10:35am: Begin standing in line to leave Cambodia and cross into no-man’s land. We are nowhere. We are in 2 places at once. This is confusing. Where am I again?
  • 11:30am: Everyone makes it through the line. We now walk quite a ways to find ourselves in yet another line…the line to cross back into Thailand.
  • 12:00pm: Discover that the only way through the line fast is through bribes, which The World Race can’t afford, so we wait.
  • 1:00pm: Still waiting.
  • 2:30pm: Yep, still waiting.
  • 3:00pm:Find myself enjoying a nice conversation with a couple from the Netherlands.
  • 3:30pm: Finally make it inside the doors, into air-conditioning. My passport receives a stamp, and at last, I’m through! 🙂
  • 4:00pm: The last J Squaders make their way into Thailand. Yep, that was a LONG line.
  • 4:30pm: We board another bus that will take us to the Bangkok airport.
  • 9:30pm: Arrive at Bangkok International Airport.
  • 10:00pm: Discover that our airline has not opened yet, so we plop our bags into a big pile and rush to find some Starbucks.
  • 11:00pm: Check-in to Kenya Airways.
  • 11:30pm: Bags checked, through security, on our way to the gate.
  • 11:40pm: Enjoy Burger King.
  • 11:45pm: Discover that the gate closes in 30 minutes.
  • 11:50pm: One of our girls realizes she lost her passport.
  • 11:55pm: 2 of our girls are still not at the gate.
  • 12:05am: The passport is found!
  • 12:10am: Our girls show up. We all make it to the gate in time. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, January 30

  • 12:40am: Plane departs Bangkok, Thailand, for Nairobi, Kenya.

We board the plane, and it’s instant culture shock. After being around Asians for 3 months, we’re suddenly surrounded by lots of Africans, and it’s a little overwhelming.

  • 6:10am: Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • 8:05am: Group 1 (1st half of the squad) departs for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • 9:20am: Group 1 arrives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • 9:30am: Get into line to receive our VISAs.
  • 10:30am: We all make it through. We are now in Tanzania!
  • 10:40am: Find a place outside to land and figure out who is picking us up, where we are staying, etc.
  • 12:40pm: Group 2 (2nd half of the squad) departs for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • 2:00pm: Group 2 arrives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  • 2:30pm: We expected 3 buses, but only 2 arrive. So, we improvise.
  • 3:30pm: Half of the squad is stuck in African traffic, while the rest wait patiently at the airport.
  • 4:30pm: Arrive at the hotel where we’ve been told details have been arranged for us to stay there.
  • 4:40pm: We discover there has been confusion about the agreed upon price. Thus begins an hour-long negotiation.
  • 6:00pm: One of the buses heads back to the airport to pick up the rest of the squad, while everyone prays, since it’s not safe to be driving in Dar es Salaam after dark. (None of this was a part of the plan, but alas, this is the World Race!)
  • 8:00pm: Everyone arrives to the hotel safely and settles into the rooms for 1 night of exhausted, air-conditioned sleep.

Thursday, January 31

  • 5:15am: Ready in the hotel lobby to walk to the bus station.
  • 5:30am: It is CRAZY at the bus station.
  • 5:45am: Realize not everyone is with us. Wait and wait for them to show up.
  • 6:15am: Pray like crazy, because we still haven’t found them and our bus leave at 6:30am.
  • 6:20am: One of the team leaders whips out Jesus Calling, which pretty much makes all of us start crying.
  • 6:25am: We find our people!
  • 6:30am: Arrive at bus and find it not ready to leave yet, praise the Lord (This Is Africa!)
  • 6:40am: Cram into bus. Keep an eye on bags. It’s crazy out here.
  • 7:00am: Still haven’t moved.
  • 7:15am: The bus starts rolling out of the bus station. Goodbye, Dar es Salaam!
  • 7:45am: Bus pulls over. Looks like engine trouble.
  • 11:00am: Problem fixed, bus starts moving.
  • 7:00pm: Arrive in Singida, Tanzania.

All in all, after days upon days and hours upon hours in tuk tuks, taxis, vans, buses and planes, we’ve finally made it from Asia to Africa. This is just the beginning of our African tale. Stay tuned! Xoxo 🙂

Your thoughts would look GOOD here :)