*Originally posted on facebook* Read part one here
I can’t exactly remember everything that happened on the flight to Dubai.
I remember paying more attention to the safety instructions than I have anything in my life.
I remember being very excited to use the flight mode setting in my phone for it’s intended purpose.
I remember pinching myself literally to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
I remember looking out and seeing lake Victoria grow tinier and tinier until it disappeared.
I remember seeing the clouds and taking a picture.
I remember being shocked and disappointed that the windows don’t exactly open for me to put my head out.
I remember being handed a menu for dinner and not knowing what to pick.
I remember regretting my choice in food because I couldn’t taste it.
I remember taking a lot of black tea.
I remember starting a number of movies and not finishing them.
6 hours later, we landed at the Dubai airport.
I was mesmerized to say the least.
Everything from the size of it to the washrooms was nothing like I have ever seen in my life.
First of all as I got off the plane I bumped into a friend of mine from way back Lillian Mugasa.
Our mothers used to hustle together in Mpanga market in Fort Portal to send us to Buhinga Primary school.
I did a ululation, a jump and a victory dance.
Speaking rutooro that many miles from home was comforting and exciting.
She was going to New York where she lives and I was so glad to have a personal tour guide in the monster city that is Dubai International airport.
I had four hours to kill before my connection flight to “Amelika”.
But first things first, we had to find food.
It was a whole other issue.
Too many restaurants I have seen on TV and not enough tummy space.
We settled on Burger King.
My friend took the lead.
After food fest, I launched into my trip around the airport.
I visited the waterfall on the wall,some may call it a fountain but it’s all a matter of perspective.
I took a few pictures because now the excitement was fully loading.
I stared at mountains of chocolate and heaps of perfume.
My eyes hurt from looking at jewellery.
I traversed the place all the while paying keen attention not to miss the flight.
After walking around for about 2 hours, exhaustion kicked in.
I escorted my friend to her gate and I got back to mine.
The long awaited flight to Washington was about an hour and a half a way.
Everyone at the gate was either sleeping or dosing so I willed the sleep to no avail.
I remembered my notebook and nice clear pen.
I got them out and I started writing.
The pages kept turning and the words kept spewing out.
It’s like every buried feeling since the World Bank had told me, I was going for this trip was coming to life.
I thought about every moment leading up to me sitting in that place.
I thought about Mother Dearest and how she was probably awake praying for me.
I felt like my emotions were raging faster than the speed of my pen.
I cried and laughed and smiled and shook my head and sighed and said a prayer of thanks giving
And when I was done I repeated the process until I was called to board.
By the time I got to my seat, I was ready to drop.
This time I didn’t have a window seat, frankly I didn’t care.
It was 2am the sky was very dark and I promised myself, I would sleep every minute of the 13hours on that flight.
Again I paid close attention to the safety instructions before take off.
Maybe this time with less interest.
I wore two pairs of socks and got two blankets because I have a bad relationship with coldness.
I was advised to wear my seat belt over the blanket so I am not disturbed when I am asleep.
I slept for what felt like eternity only to wake up and find I was only out for 3 hours.
I had 10 more hours.
Sleep had eluded me.
So I decided to track the flight.
I watched on the screen the different places we passed.
I tried to calculate what time it was at home, depending on the different times.
My head hurt from it.
I watched what felt like an entire season of Mike and Molly.
I watched world news ,music videos and maybe even soccer.
I stared at the flight crew.
They looked so perfect.
Every inch of hair in place and the uniform so well fit.
I admired the color of their lipstick.
I was tempted to asked what shade and brand it was for my sister Patience Karungi ‘s sake, but I resisted the devil and he fled from me.
I wondered if they loved their job or if their lives were nearly as perfect as their appearances.
6 hours to Washington I was officially over the flight.
Every minute felt like an hour.
I was afraid to stand up, but considering the amount of tea I took I had to pee at some point.
I made my way to the bathroom.
It was so tiny.
I had so many follow up questions about it!
Like I am peeing on someone’s head on the ground or the aeroplane has a septic tank?
Of course logic says there must be a septic tank!
I started an official count down to DC when it was about 3 hours to go.
I was sooooo tired.
My head had a funny feeling that wasn’t a headache.
Finally we got to Dullis (I still refuse to pronounce it as Dallas) international airport in Washington.
I was officially in Amelika.
It was 25 hours after I had left home.
What a Wow!
I had village excitement.
All my 30 plus teeth were out.
The queues to clearance were very long.
There was one for American citizens and another for us.
You can guess which one was longer but luckily no one was skipping it.
The people in the queue all seemed exhausted and laden with stories.
I had a Homeland Security agent to explain to what I was doing in the land of the free.
He asked me so many questions that I thought were obvious from my visa but I answered them because I had gone too far to be deported.
He begged my pardon a lot because the accent.
Finally he said,
“Welcome to the United States Ms Fionah, enjoy your stay ”
Hehehehehehe I had arrived people!
This was it, I was outside countries, overseas in fact.
I patiently waited for my luggage and I strolled out of the airport like a movie star.
I wasn’t ready for the cold that hit my face all the way to my brain, spine and toes when I walked into the parking lot.
I was naaaaaaatt!
I froze, literally.
I felt naked, yet I had to use my now iced brain to get a cab to the hotel.
I had the address on a piece of paper in my hands.
It was around midday, “Amelikan” time.
I got into a cab sprinting to OR for warmth.
The driver was a nice Ethiopian old man.
He asked me so many questions which I answered.
He told me his story of how he went to Amelika and his hustle.
He was so excited to drive me because apparently Uganda is neighbors with Ethiopia, so I reminded him of home 😂
I wondered how many times he modified that line depending on who he was driving.
He asked where I was going and I told him I was going to the Reinassance hotel.
As I attempted to hand him the proper address, he assured me that he knew the place and engaged me in a conversation.
I made a few ‘hmm’ sounds to let him know I was listening.
My body was officially ready to let go, but I stared out the window.
Lawd Jesus the roads.
It was really Amelika.
The office buildings..
The Potomac bridge!
The White House.
I Fionah Komusana from Ngombe B Village, Busoro sub county, Burahya County Fort Portal town, Kabarole District was in the Washington District of Colombia!
We got to the hotel.
I parted with about 70 dollars for the ride.
The driver got out, opened the door for me, took my luggage out and wished me a nice stay in Amelika.
I forgot to ask him for a receipt.
One of the hotel staff came and helped me move my luggage to reception so I could check in.
At this point I really needed a shower, very nice katogo and a bed.
The nice lady at the reception shocked me with information.
I was at the wrong Reinassance hotel people!!
There were two of them and had I made a better effort to convince my cab driver to look at the address, I wouldn’t have ended up there.
I chose to think of it as a part of my Amelikan experience.
I left, got another cab that was called for me by a nice hotel staffer and this time made sure I handed the address to the driver.
He was young ,black and really handsome but I was to exhausted to engage.
The ride to the right Reinassance hotel was 20 dollars long.
It was about 2pm.
When I got to the reception.
I was told that I was two hours earlier than my hotel booking information indicated so my room wasn’t ready.
Lord Jesus Christ whhhhhhhhhyyy!!!
I took a seat in the lobby and contemplated how I was going to spend the next two hours.
I asked to make a call to the person who was going to be my contact in DC.
The phone went to voicemail, so I did the American thing and left her a message.
I went back and sat but only for a few minutes.
I remembered how mother dearest always refers to me as her child with numerous alternatives.
I walked back to reception with a solution.
I explained that I had been traveling for almost 30 hours, so if there was any room available even though it’s not the one the World Bank had booked, I would gladly take it.
I had them at 30 hours and World Bank (I should have thrown that name around earlier)
They were so sorry to have kept me waiting.
I was told in the next few minutes that, there was a room on the 9th floor.
Originally I was supposed to sleep on the 3rd floor.
I said I didn’t care.
They handed me my key, someone offered to help me with my small suitcase and I declined by the shaking of my head left and right.
I didn’t have any more conversation in me, emotionally or physically.
I disappeared into the elevator, pressed the number 9 and closed my eyes.
I opened my room very sure I was about to experience my first black out but I neither slept nor blacked out.
First thing I noticed was Amelikan sockets were too small for my phone’s charger!