Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Zambia Adventure Begins

AdventureMan and I were watching Kite Runner, which we thought did a really great job on an amazing book, when we could hear our VOIP phone ring. I ran, because I broke the message-taking phone, and if I don’t get to this one by the fifth ring it goes to a message place online that I have trouble accessing.

It was our son, from the Atlanta airport, en route to Lusaka with his beautiful bride, just calling to let us know he is on the way.

We went back and watched the movie, but I had one of those nagging thoughts that just wouldn’t leave me alone.

As soon as the movie ended, I turned on the computer and checked our trip folder. . . hmmmm. I thought we were all meeting up in Johannisburg, but it seems like they are leaving awfully early. I check, and sure enough . . . I have totally screwed up. They are arriving in Johannisburg a day before we are! I have only made reservations for one night!

I quickly call our son back, and as he answers, I can hear someone in the background saying “I need your passport” and I quickly tell him the situation, and to my great surprise, he just laughs. “I need for you to be flexible,” I say, “I am going to try to contact the hotel and the Robin Pope Safari people to make sure you have a room when you arrive, but we won’t be there! Find a shuttle to the Taj Pamodzi and I will do everything I can to make sure you have a room waiting there!”

Again, he laughs and says they will be fine.

I can’t believe it. I’ve just told him he is going to a totally strange city and he doesn’t know the city and may or may not have a hotel room waiting and he just laughs. He is boarding the plane when we hang up, en route on a grueling Delta Airlines flight that leaves Atlanta for Dakar, Senegal en route to Johannesburg, South Africa.

When we all finally meet up in Lusaka, they tell us the whole story.

The night before they are to leave, our son gets a call from CheapTickets telling them they no longer have tickets. The flight they were on from Pensacola to Atlanta was rescheduled, and somehow, it caused all the reservations to be cancelled.

Smart guy that he is, he grabs his bride and they hustle to the airport to deal with Delta directly. A very kind and patient woman re-writes and re-issues the entire ticket, and the next day, they are on their way, but not without some very bad moments between being told their tickets are no good and finding the good Delta woman who can fix everything.

Meanwhile, I write to both the hotel and Robin Pope Safaris grovelling in mortification – it is totally MY fault that I didn’t get the dates right, not their problem, but I sure could use their help. By the next day – the day we are departing – I hear from both, telling me that a room will be waiting for them. Al hamd’allah, we breathe a sigh of relief, and hope that all the plane connections go smoothly.

RPS has a great guy, Dave, to meet us on arrival at Lusaka and to help us get our visas and to get as quickly as possible to the hotel, so we can meet up with our son and his bride.

It is such a relief. When you plan a trip like this, there are no guarantees everything will go smoothly – and it doesn’t. That’s a big part of the adventure. When son and bride got to Johannesburg, they were told they did NOT have seats on the flight to Lusaka, but at the very last minute, they were sent Business Class. We are sitting in the bar, whooping with laughter as we hear all the near misses, all the . . .hmmm. . . “adventures” that went into us all experiencing this miracle, the four of us in Lusaka together.

You know me and photos:

Lusaka International Airport

Lusaka at night

Lusaka by day

Taj Pamodzi Hotel

And you know how I like signs to capture the flavor of a place:

One little postscript – I often use Trip Advisor when planning a trip, especially chosing hotels or places to shop or sites to be sure to visit. If I had listened to Trip Advisor, I probably wouldn’t have stayed at the Taj Pamodzi; several reviewers were very negative. Our experience was just the opposite. People could not have been more friendly, more helpful. They were equally friendly and helpful to our son and his bride the 24 hours they were there without us. The front desk people were efficient and professional, the restaurant and bar service was supurb and we were very satisfied.

June 27, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, Travel, Zambia | 4 Comments