Friday, January 18, 2008

Travel Woes Stymie Would-be Safarians

Can't a girl plan a trip these days?

Here's the story. I was supposed to go on one of those trips of a lifetime: an African safari. The plan was to leave January 15th for 9 days of dancing with the "Big 5". Heck. Wouldn't you know, people started killing each other after a suspicious presidential election in Kenya at the end of December. Both parties say the election was rigged and neither side can agree on how to negotiate. Their constituents decided that pillaging, raping and beating people up with machetes was the next logical step to peace and harmony. Sheesh!

Since the beginning of the year, my friends and I have been on pins and needles trying to figure out what to do. Because my trip was supposed to start and end in Nairobi, all this violence has wreaked havoc on my sense of security. My first trip to Africa and there's political unrest?? The nerve of these people.

Like the traveller newbies that we are, we decided to eschew the trip insurance. What for, we asked. Oh, in case we cancel the trip or something, said the travel agent. (Never mind that Africa as a whole is rife with civil and political turmoil). Imagine our relief when the tour operators decided to change the trip itinerary. We would've had to pay additional moola to change our flights and accomodations and therefore they had to offer us the option to cancel for a refund.

We pounced on that refund! I called up the travel agents and gave them a pitiful sad sack story, because, in truth, I am a pitiful sad sack for having gotten myself into this situation in the first place. But now we have a new problem: we can't get a refund on our airfare. Our options are to eat the cost (which would be a huge mouthful and cause an awful stomachache) or use the flights, somehow, by the end of February.

My friends and I are not exactly what you'd call decisive. We don't want to lose our money but we don't really want to go to Kenya. So we're trying our best to do neither one. Our latest plan is to stop in Amsterdam, since that's a stopover. Amsterdam has a lot going for it except, well, the weather sucks this time of year. It's rainy and cold which is the worst combination of conditions. We are currently looking into making Amsterdam simply our European gateway and travel onward to Paris or somewhere in Italy.

Oh, woe is me. Can't a girl just go somewhere on vacation without worrying about machine guns or being hacked via machetes? [sarcasm!]


Allison said...

Oh no! That must be terribly disappointing! Not that a European vacation would be all bad. Too bad your stop-over wasn't in the Caribbean!

ruth said...

sorry that you missed out on your kenya trip! we were there this past august and flew in and out of nairobi too. the safari we went on was AWESOME. but i agree, it sounds really bad over there, especially in nairobi. =(

Tabitha said...

Hey, was just talking to Tosh this morning and I think Amsterdam is just the Perfect alternative, well, perfect isn't the right word, if it was perfect, you two would've gotten your refund. However, its the next best thing! Go For It! Wish I could hop on over for a Girls' European Trip! HAHAHA!