Travelers Faux Pas & Blunders...
by, 03-17-2007 at 11:49 AM (36190 Views)
Travel Faux Pas & Blunders.....
Fellow Travelers.weve traveled for years, both domestically and internationally and over that period of time, we are reminded of the many faux pas and blunders we have made.
For the most part, either a please forgive me or shameful smile or as a last resort, a small consideration in the local currency has managed to right the ship!
One such absurdity is still mentioned periodically at our home, especially when packing for a trip to a new destination.
Departing Swala Camp http://www.sanctuarylodges.com/swala.htm in Tarangire, we headed to Kilimanjaro Airport for the flight up to Nairobi-Wilson in Kenya....that flight was a little late in departure (AirKenya shoots for same day delivery rather than an actual time schedule).
Arriving at Nairobi-Wilson, our ground operator had arranged for a meet & greets to expedite the immigration and customs process.
The assistant helped with our duffels and got us to the right gate for the AirKenya flight to the Maasai Mara.our bags were tagged and we were quickly escorted to the waiting aircraft, with the outboard prop still rotating and ready to leave slightly ahead of the published schedule.
In less than 40 minutes we were landing on a freshly mown grass strip in Maasai Mara.
The other passengers disembarked and were having their luggage handed to them by the second officer.
After showing our tickets to the same gentleman, we were told this was also our destination and we were handed our bags.
Within moments, the AirKenya flight had sped down the grass strip and was once again airborne into an almost cloudless and blue sky.
We walked over to the group of parked Land Rovers and looked for one with an Intrepid Mara Explorer door marking http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/explorer_mara.html.
Not seeing one, we asked a driver of one of the other vehicles if he knew when the Mara Explorer vehicle would arrive.
Looking a little puzzled, he responded that guests for the Mara Explorer usually got off at the next airport!
What next airport, we inquired.
We learned that this AirKenya flight stopped at this strip first, then continued to the other Mara strip and then returned to Nairobi.
Yep, we got off at the wrong airport.not just any wrong airport, but one that really wasnt an airportjust a grass strip with a parking area and a small windowless, doorless, metal roofed hut!
When does the next plane arrive?
Two days from now!
Please Oh please, kind Sir could you possibly give us a ride to your lodgeplease!
About an hour later, we were seated in the managers office of the wrong lodge, speaking by radio phone to the ground operator in Nairobi looking for solutions.
He suggested we spend the night there and he would arrange for transportation the following morning.
Not good enough, says my wife!
We paid for the Mara Explorer and we expect to stay there tonight and the next four night!
Of course, Madam, you can drive over this afternoon and early evening, but be prepared for about four or five hours of riding across no paved roads and crossing private Maasai lands in route.
We were told the Maasai would likely try and extract a monetary toll for the privilege of crossing their private land and reentering the National Reserve.
Well, they didwe paid.who cared.we wanted to get to the Mara Explorer!
And so it was..the sunset drive across totally unmarked grasslands began!
Joseph, our new best friend and Maasai driver continually assured us he had lived all of his 40+ years in and around the Maasai Mara.
He knew every Acacia tree and rock between our present location and our destination.
He assured us his Land Rover was regularly serviced and almost never broke down! Our smiles and nodding heads must have given off some concerns to the contrary.
And so it came to pass, Joseph was right!
After five plus hours, one final turn and bladder busting bump and we pulled up to the entrance of the Mara Explorer.
We were greeted by the manager and six staff members with warm Jambos and a cold bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
We have waited all day for your arrival, Bwana and now we wish you Karibu to your home in the Mara!
After a huge hug for both us from Jospeh and a smile, he bid us Kwaheri and drove back into the darkness of the Mara!
Of course, we laugh now.it was just one of those things that happens to travelers (not so often to tourists) and really assembles the mosic of the total experience!
Message Edited by omegaet on 03-17-2007 09:35 PM