We had never vacationed with a group of people we did not know before let alone through a travel company called Friendly Planet. But we decided to just go for it. The day after Thanksgiving in 2011, we drove to JFK International Airport. That drive alone, especially on the Belt Parkway, was like taking your life in your own hands. Craziness! However, I did snap a lovely photo of the sunset while praying for my life.
We finally arrived, found Turkish Airways and to our delight and confusion we were the first and only people there. Not even a ticket agent from Turkish Airways could be found. So what do we do? We wait. Little by little other travelers began to fill the line and we started seeing other people with the Friendly Planet tag on their luggage. Introductions were made but we still weren't quite sure about everyone. We checked in, found our gate, had a few drinks, something to eat and waited. That was until I found a spa, yes, a spa right there in the airport terminal. I had such a neck ache for whatever reason and decided vacation began NOW. Time for a neck massage. As I was getting myself situated, I noticed and waved to another woman who was traveling with our group. We hadn't formally met yet, but there was something about her I liked. Was it because she was also getting a massage? Who knows...but I liked her.
We boarded the plane and settled in for a very long flight to Istanbul, Turkey. One thing I will say about Turkish Airways, is it was top notch all of the way. Courteous flight attendants, good food (I went vegetarian and it was good) and tons of in-flight entertainment (and free drinks) to keep you occupied and calm.
We arrived in Istanbul sometime in the mid-afternoon. Our next flight to Nairobi, Kenya wasn't even on the departures board yet, so we settled in by the food court and began to meet the people who would be our travel companions for the next 10 days. We met Sue and Tom from Indiana, Curt and Lisa from Texas and Irene, originally from Scotland but living in the Bahamas. While the whole travel group was 16, the 7 of us stuck together like glue. We were so sticky that at one point the others thought we were all related due to how we were carrying on with each other.
|Todd, me, Sue, Tom, Curt, Lisa and Irene at Sopa Lodge in Lake Naivasha|
|Curt, Lisa, Irene, our incredible drive for the week, Simon, Sue, Tom, me and Todd at|
Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya