I find airports somewhat overwhelming and for as much as I travel I am not the biggest fan of airplanes. Dubai airport is even more so overwhelming with what feels like hundreds of stores and thousands of people in a large but not so large space. Without much thought my feet guided me to my gate, well beyond the core of the airport tucked away on the lower level with only a Costa coffee shop near.
Boarding is a two-step process. As the gate counters open your passport and boarding pass are verified, you are then ushered into a waiting area, almost like a holding cell. From there the plane is boarded in stages. Each time I have been through the Dubai airport I have found this process odd, unique, and different than other airports. But the system works so don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?
This plane I was boarding was taking me to a place that has held a special spot in my heart. I, just over two years since I left, was headed back to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. My time in Dar between 2013 and 2014 had many challenges, many triumphs, I built many relationships, and created connections I think will last a lifetime. Only a handful of individuals knew I was coming while my goal was to “run” into those that I had connected with previously. It did not take long.
A few short hours after landing in the warmth and humidity of Dar, I was back in organized chaotic traffic that takes much too long to commute in, eating a home cooked meal, and preparing for evening prayers. A mere moment past before I ran into the first of many friends. It is the smile of seeing those that have touched your heart once before that makes just appearing in locations the most fun.
My time in Dar will be significantly shorter, not quite two weeks but my time in East Africa will take me to the end of July.