Traveling to Zanzibar

Bill Dennison ·
20 December 2010

Along with Jane Hawkey and Kate Bentsen, we had an Interesting trip from Washington DC. Late leaving Dulles in route to London, slow trip across Atlantic due to head winds, and upon landing, we waited for a long time for buses to shuttle us to a far away terminal. We were met by a British Airlines agent who gave us a red card to display so that we could get to the front of the lines, but when we went to the security check in, they informed us that our flight had closed. As we went through the process of determining alternative flights and checking as to baggage status, we struck up a conversation with a personable fellow in the same predicament. He said that he was traveling to Nairobi where he was living and had been in New York and Washington D.C. on business. He mentioned that he was a water and sanitation specialist working for World Vision. He asked us what we were doing, and I told him that we were from Maryland and were traveling to Zanzibar for a workshop on science communication. He asked if we were anywhere near Chesapeake Bay, and learning that we were, he asked "Have you ever run into a guy called Bill Dennison?" After the shock wore off, I answered "That would be me!"

It turns out that he was Rod Jackson, who had been an engineer with Brisbane City Council when I was involved with the formation of the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay Wastewater Management Study (which evolved into the Healthy Waterways Strategy). Rod was a great help in those early days and had since left Brisbane to work in some very interesting and challenging places in his association with World Vision. Rod went to Indonesia after the tsunami, to Haiti after the earthquake and had been to Darfur, Sudan during the famine/civil war. We were able to secure a flight to Nairobi on Kenya Airlines leaving 10 hours later. Rather than hang around Heathrow all day, we elected to take a cab to Windsor for lunch and a walk around. We found a cozy pub for lunch in Eton which was just across a foot bridge over the River Thames. Crossing the Thames was fitting, as I had recently attended the Riversymposium in Perth, Australia where the Environment Agency Thames Region and the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust were awarded the prestigious International Riverprize.

Bill and Rod
Bill Dennison and Rod Jackson on the Thames River.

After lunch, we went to Windsor Castle and discovered a small parade with a marching brass band playing Christmas carols followed by a sleigh with Father Christmas being pulled by real live reindeer. It was quite an interesting scene.

Christmas parade near Windsor Castle.

After the parade and some window shopping, the British weather began to penetrate our scant clothing and we decided that the smart thing to do was return to the airport and fly to somewhere warm. We said goodbye to Rod in Nairobi and continued onto Zanzibar on a small prop plane. Our trip took us right by some magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro, with very little snow covering the peak. The predictions are that climate change will lead to the "Snows of Kilimanjaro" being gone within a few years, so I was glad so see at least some remaining snow. We arrived in Zanzibar, sans bags, and were taken to the Zanzibar Beach Resort, the site of our workshop.

This is the first post in a series about IAN's participation in the IFS/WIOMSA workshop: "Science outreach: reflections and tools for communication of research results".

Other posts in this series:
2. Notes from Zanzibar; arrival
3. Notes from Zanzibar; Communicating science workshop
4. Zanzibar seems like a dream

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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