Oct 20 2007

The final chapter… finally!

Sarah Marttunen

I just realized that we never finished blogging on our Africa trip. For those of you who don’t know, yes, we didn’t actually make it out of Africa.

In the morning after our flight to Jo-burg, we woke up early to get back to the airport as we were heading for Nairobi. At this point we realized that we were going to have to change our tickets leaving Dar es Salaam. We had emailed Jeff’s mom and were hoping that she could arrange with the airline to push our tickets back by 5 days so that we could still do all the things we had planned in Tanzania – the Safari and diving in Zanzibar. When we got to the airport in Jo-burg we went to check our email. The first email was one from Bev saying “DO NOT change anything, the tickets cannot be moved back, you will have to come home as scheduled”. We were instantly deflated. I guess the story was, our flight agent in Canada could not change the tickets as there were no available seats leaving Dar. This meant that we would have to spend the rest of our trip trying to get back to Dar instead of doing anything fun. Remember, it was Sunday morning and our flights left for London on Thursday morning. We didn’t know what we would do. There was no time for the safari, and there was no time to go to Zanzibar as we couldn’t get plane tickets going there at the right times in order to still make our flight in Dar. We got on the plane feeling utterly low. Interestingly, we sat beside a South Africa business man on the plane. He and Jeff got talking and he told us not to be upset about the change of plans as there was lots of neat thing to do in Nairobi and there is even the possibility of doing one day safaris. We were a little bit cheered by that but still determined to figure out a better plan. When we got off the plane we went straight to the Air Emerites office and asked if we could change our tickets. The woman at the desk said she thought it was possible but that we had to go to the office in the city in the morning. So we went and checked in to a hotel and had a delicious Kenyan dinner. The following morning we went to the ticket office and asked to change our flights. The person helping us seemed to think it would work and found us tickets going all the way back to Canada on the following Sunday – which would get us back to Canada by Monday and allow us to go on the Safari. The problem was he had to check with the office in Canada and they were still sleeping! The worst part was the Canadian office opened after the Kenyan office closed. We would be able to know until the next morning. We tried to work around it and had our great friend Steve make some phone calls for us (we couldn’t call from Nairobi and Steve was lovely enough to help us). Unfortunately we didn’t get any concrete answers, but it looked like it was a go. So we called our Safari officer and told him that we would be ready to leave the next day (Tuesday) by noon. Luckily when we went to the ticket office the following morning our tickets had been changed and we were free to go on the safari!

We hurriedly packed up our things and made our way to the bus station where we would catch a coach to Arusha. The coach was pretty miserable, but surprisingly much nicer than the tax-brousse in Madagascar! We were so excited to see some lions. The scenery on the way to Arusha was breath taking. We crossed the boarder with just minor hiccups, they handwrite each visa and there were quite a few foreigners on the bus so it took about 45min for them to issue us all visas. We finally made it to Arusha and spent the night at a nice hotel that served fabulous Tanzanian food. In the morning we met our fellow safariers – Kate from America and Georgie from England. The safari was great. We saw loads of animals, several lions, lots of elephant, millions of zebra and wildebeest, even a leopard! A cirval, jackals, hyenas, and buffalo. We camped each night right in the game parks. It was pretty surreal because we could hear the animals making noise around us, which made getting up to pee in the middle of the probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It was absolutely freezing at night. That one part was miserable, but the rest was great. We were so happy that we got to include that in our Africa adventure. We are most definitely heading back to Tanzania so that we can scuba in Zanzibar though!

Well thanks for tuning in. If you haven’t heard, the latest adventures of Sarah and Jeff is currently taking place in Nottingham, England. Yes, it’s a blast. Stay tuned for more updates!