18 December 2011

"Recapping the Kenya trip..." 18•Dec.•11

Well, I've been home a full week now and I honestly think it took that long to get over another case of serious jet lag. Flying back from East Africa is no joke, and adding another full day to the front end of last weekend's travel itinerary made it all even more difficult. The airline (Turkish Airlines) offers transiting passengers a hotel room if their layovers in Istanbul were more than 12 hours, so it was great to finally put my head down in a nice, comfortable room near Ataturk Airport on Sunday morning. You see flights originating in the East usually depart past midnight, and considering I'd left the coast Friday evening on an overnight bus (below left) back to the capital, Nairobi - which entailed another 8+ hour ride, I was totally beat. (Yea, those are mechanics fixing a flat on my bus at 3AM at the halfway point rest stop!) By the time we'd arrived back in Nairobi on Saturday morning, did some laundry by hand, had a decent lunch and started packing, it was nearly time to head to the airport, for the first of two long haul flights. Not to mention arriving back home into JFK on Monday evening and then right back to work the following evening. It must've taken 4 or 5 days for my body to adjust to the time differences and finally get into a regular sleep routine. Although I'd initially set out to try and get up into the Somali refugee camps in northeast Kenya, as well as search out a few other stories, logistics and scheduling just didn't allow for all I'd hope to accomplish. Tack onto those issues, the price of fuel, finding reliable drivers and secondary fixers, and before I knew it, I was into my second week of the trip. The only thing left to do for my few remaining days in country was to head down to the coast and explore familiar beach towns like Mombasa (above), Malindi, and a very peaceful beachfront area at Watamu Beach in Gede (right) on my last official day in Kenya last Friday. Swimming in the calming, warm waters of the Indian Ocean on that day really took a lot of the stresses away. It was all nearly perfect for those few moments on the white sands of East Africa...

ISTANBUL, TURKEY. Turkish Airlines aircraft are serviced by ground personnel at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey on Monday, December 12, 2011. © me.

By the time I arrived in Istanbul and got over the intense travel schedule I'd imposed on myself for this personal shooting assignment (can this 50+ year old body continue to function like this I silently wondered?), I was completely exhausted and had to abandon any thoughts of touring the city for the afternoon. Fortunately the airline offered it's transiting passengers with extended layovers a hotel room near the airport, so that was a blessing in itself. I've spent more than my share of overnights in airports. The weather was grey and overcast, so any earlier ideas I'd had on making stock images in the Old Town neighborhood of the city faded really fast. In fact, my room was right in the glide path on final approach into Ataturk Airport, so I did manage to make a few generic aircraft images (left), and there were a few Bedouin women (right) roaming along a running stream within sight of my modest room as well. Pop on the 300mm and the 1.4X tele-extender and I was back in business for the afternoon, well at least until I collapsed for the night...

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