Apologies and Farewells

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This blog entry about the events of Wednesday, May 12, 2004 was originally posted on May 14, 2004.

DAY 207:  “How was your safari?” Jimmy, my Kilimanjaro guide asked when I ran into him on the road when walking around Moshi town to run errands.

“Oh…” I groaned with a smile.  “It was… memorable.”  I told him about the whole fiasco, how the first two days were great and then the next three turned into a safari from hell.  I told him how unprofessional it was conducted, from the faulty vehicle to the somewhat shady guide.  Although Jimmy wasn’t directly involved with the safari, he apologized on behalf of Tin Tin Tours, the Moshi-based company that had sent me to the Arusha-based Kilimanjaro Crown Tours when they didn’t have enough clients to warrant a cost-effective safari group themselves.

“We are deeply sorry.”

“It’s not your fault.”

Jimmy walked with me down to the Tin Tin Tours office; I was going to pop my head in anyway to say hello and to give them the heads up to never do buisness with Mr. Jalala at Kili Crown Tours in Arusha again.  Mr. Kimario, the head of Tin Tin, was all smiles when I arrived; as far as he was told, Mr. Jalala said everything on safari went fine.  When I told him otherwise and he apologized like a madman.

“Would you like to write an evaluation?” he said, giving me the standard form where 1 was poor and 5 was excellent.

“Oh.  I could write a book.”  I started circling the numbers — nothing was higher than a 3 (for itinerary), bringing the average to about 1.5 out of 5.  I wrote detailed paragraphs of how unprofessional Elia the guide handled everything.

“Have you eaten yet?” he asked me.

“No.”

“What would you like?  Chicken and chips?”

“Sure.”

Mr. Kimario was really embarrassed at the situation, taking the safari-from-hell from Kili Crown Tours as a bad reflection of his own Tin Tin Tours company.  He apologized and apologized and tried to make up for the money neither of us would probably get back from Mr. Jalala, with food and friendliness.  A woman came with a wash basin and kettle for me to wash my hands.  The big plate of food came, and it was more food than I had had in a single sitting on safari.

“It’s okay, it’s not your fault.  It was Jalala,” I told Mr. Kimario.  “I was just telling Jimmy that I never realized how professional you guys were until I saw the other company.”

Professional, yes.  Mr. Kimario told me how this was all detrimental to his four-year-old business, which he had prided on building on friendly service and honesty.  In fact, in some of the comments I read, people raved about how Tin Tin Tours always seemed to “bend over backwards” for its clients, even picking them up at the airport and escorting them all the way from Nairobi, Kenya.

This was all the opposite of the other company, whose guide Elia was quite shady from what I was discovering from the more information I got from Mr. Kimario.  Driving off the main road in the Serengeti is not permitted; when we veered off on the boundaries between Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, it was probably to avoid a day’s park fee, which Elia most likely pocketed.  This explained why when we got stranded in the mud, no other car was in sight to help, and the help from the ranger stations were implied to be “out of the question.”  All that and the fact that Elia simply dumped all our plastic trash behind a tree.

Mr. Kimario apologized again.  “If we knew it would be like that, we would have told you to go to Zanzibar first while waiting for a safari group the next week.”

Tin Tin Tours extended their hospitality when a Maria who worked there, escorted me around town to run all my errands, holding all my groceries for me too.  She led me from place to place and held my things — all things I wouldn’t have gotten from Elia.  Tin Tin’s hospitality may have been the only thing they had to give after all that had happened, but I’m telling you, hospitality goes a long way.


ON MY WAY BACK TO THE FLAT, I ran into Tony who had just gotten off work and joined him for a walk to run his bunch of errands around town — pay for the upscale safari in lodges he would take on the weekend with some expats from work, and pick up all the catered food from different restaurants for the big farewell party in his place that night.  By some strange coincidence, my final night in Moshi was a final celebration for many other people too; most of the ex-pats in a program from Duke University were all leaving in coincidence with others volunteering at the hospital.  Tony and some others were leaving on safari the next morning, and I was leaving on a plane for Zanzibar the next afternoon.

Tony, Ted and I tidied up the apartment and put it into party mode, with snack foods on the tables, MP3 music playing off the computer speakers with iTunes’ (for Windows) trippy visualizer on the screen, and, most importantly for a successful party, dim lighting.  Tony’s place had been picked for the party since out of all the ex-pats, he had the most hooked up place with enough room. 

By sundown, people started coming over to catch up on old times, new times, theirs days at work, or as in my case and the case of a few others, to be introduced for the first time.  Mingling (picture above) went on through the night and I met familiar faces — like ex-pat Jen at the end of her volunteer work at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center — and new ones — like Jen’s visiting former dot comer friend Dory — sitting on the couch, out on the terrace or around the dining/living room.  I introduced myself and answered the same questions over and over with the same answers, but didn’t mind so much.  Tony’s friend Helen caught on:  “Wow, you’ve been getting the same questions all night.”

Other than the usual questions and jealous comments about my global trip (i.e. Carl: “You were in the Carnaval in Rio?!”), I got into the familiar conversation about PCs vs. Macs; it seemed that my out-of-the-blue times with Tony the past week turned him into an Apple “switcher.”  With that, the whole night was reminiscent of a mingle party I might have gone to in Brooklyn or held myself in New Jersey.

Speaking of New Jersey, I met a fellow chatting with Ted named Chetan, one of the Duke volunteers that was actually a fellow Rutgers University alumni like myself, graduating in ‘96.  (He also went to the UMDNJ, in case you Jersey folk out there may recognize him.)  “Wow, I didn’t expect to come to Africa and run into another Jersey boy,” he said.

When you come to Africa, I suppose you expect some things and don’t expect others, but that unpredictability is the allure of coming to Africa in the first place.  It was my last night in Moshi however, and I’d fly off the mainland the following morning.  Whether or not I’d encounter another excursion-from-hell I didn’t know, but I’m sure Mr. Kimario at Tin Tin Tours would like to apologize for it.






Next entry: The Zanzibar Connection

Previous entry: The Ultimate Day




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Comments for “Apologies and Farewells”

  • If anyone (esp. Silent Blog Readers) would like to send some motivational words to me, it’d be welcome right about now; I’m in an Ugh,-this-Blog-is-so-much-work,-Is-it-all-worth-it? mood again…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/14  at  01:00 PM


  • Erik, this blog is awesome! The first thing I do when I get to work in the morning is check to see if there are updates! Please don’t stop.  I’ll be off on my own trip in about 3 weeks time, still hoping to catch you in Nairobi if you are still around!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/14  at  03:53 PM


  • Erik - you rock for doing this blog - I am so impressed with the fact that you do it. I tell everyone I can about the blog and how much it rocks. I know it’s a lot of work, and I thank you so very much for doing it. Your travels are inspiring to me!! I can’t say that I’ll attempt to meet you anywhere, but please keep it up - it’s what keeps me going while sitting at my desk!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/14  at  05:52 PM


  • Erik - I LOVE this blog.  I am stuck in 90 hour work week hell right now and your blog is my escape to sanity!  I love reading about all of your adventures.  It helps me dream about my own RTW.
    And don’t worry about missing a day.  Of course we love daily updates, but don’t kill yourself over it.  And while the blogging can be a pain, just think of what an awesome record of your journey you will have!  To be able, at some point in the future, to randomly pick a day to read about and then live it all over again.  When was the last time you read one of your own entries for fun (ie not proofing)?  Go back and take a look at your climb thru the mine or night at the salt hotel or hang gliding in Rio.  smile

    Posted by Liz  on  05/14  at  07:09 PM


  • from a semi-silent blog reader - I love it!  You have given me so many new places I want to go.  It puts a little adventure in my day.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/14  at  09:39 PM


  • Without a doubt, dude, you’re bringing adventure and outrageous living into a LOT of people’s lives.. just count the number of people living vicariously through you! smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/15  at  12:20 AM


  • my morning routine:

    -come in late
    -turn computers on
    -while the computers are booting up, i make coffee, change to comfy slip-on yet conservative shoes
    -check emails
    -check blog
    -do work

    dood…your blog is the shiznit! Do not quit! Our daily monotonous and cubic world needs this. If it wasn’t for the blog…i would have to actually do some work!

    (~_^)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/15  at  04:12 AM


  • Erik, Been a silent reader since the first day.  The first thing I do everyday is check to see if you’ve updated.  If you have have I wait until lunch to read so I have something to look forward to.  I have a ton of respect for what your doing.  I’ll be using this as inspiration for my own future travels.  Even read The Alchemist on your recommendation.  Hopefully be in Europe soon, maybe see you there.  Reading in Cleveland Ohio.  -Bill

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/15  at  05:46 AM


  • ERIK - I’ll just say that blogging is way better than having to figure out if you can call home just to say that you’re still ok…

    Plus, the blog is a conversation starter in itself for many people (even for LOVE, MOM)...that must be why there are over 15K unique hits…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/15  at  02:18 PM


  • THANKS GUYS, perhaps I was just in the doldrums there for a minute because I have some sort of eye infection—I went to hospital and got some medicine…  plus that fever that was going around Ted and Tony’s finally got the best of me I think…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/15  at  04:46 PM


  • Erik! Please keep it up! What you’re doing is amazing. I was inspired by you on my 2 week trip to switzerland and tried to keep a daily blog and failed after about a week. It really made me respect how much diligence, dedication and hard work it takes to keep this going. 
    Don’t give up!! You’re doing an amazing job!! Keep the dream alive!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/16  at  06:38 AM


  • erik, don’t stop the blog! i love reading your adventures and viewing all the photos. it has become a part of my and other people’s daily routine. this is way more informative and cooler than just sitting there watching the travel channel or discovery, and most important, it is much more entertaining because of your style of writing and your wackiness. you even make bad situations seem funny (like the mugging) cause you are always looking at the brighter and funnier side to things. i laughed my ass off at the cute animals at knifepoint. you can’t take that away from your loyal readers! don’t give it up. we love you!!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/16  at  09:01 PM


  • New Yorkers !!! .. I have some friends coming from abroad & they want to spend some time in NyC, any suggestions on cheap accomondation? thanks in advance fellow Globaltrippers.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/16  at  11:09 PM


  • Sim: not sure about NYC, but i know some ppl actually stay across the hudson to good ole Jersey City. there’s a few new hotels up in downtown…real close to the path station (only 15mins away to NYC!)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/17  at  05:54 AM


  • thanks LovePenny, I’ll keep looking into it. I maybe heading up there myself soon. Love that city!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/17  at  03:41 PM


  • SIM - yeah for cheap…LP is on the money…stay in jersey…or find a hostel in NYC….

    For cheap beer and free hot dogs - you can hit up Rudy’s in Hell’s Kitchen on 9th ave and 45th

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/17  at  04:34 PM


  • erik: ryan “BigSideLeft” herrold just proposed to JennC. woohoo!


    and she turned him down…...just kidding!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/17  at  05:27 PM


  • SIM:  Hear raves about the hostel on 46th(?) street near Times Square… most cheapie hostels are on the upper upper west side, near harlem…  I’ve hear the Gershwin Hotel on 26th is nice too…  sounds posh but its a backpacker place…

    There’s Jersey City/Hoboken too; but anything near where there is convenient train access probably won’t come cheap…  If I still had my place in JC (5 min to the new World Trade Center stop, so I’ve heard), they could have stayed with me!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/19  at  05:10 PM


  • LOVEPENNY:  Wow, BigsideLeft and Jen C.?  I wonder if Kaity Tong will be invited so Matto can have another shot at her…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/19  at  05:12 PM


  • LOVEPENNY:  Wow, BigsideLeft and Jen C.?  I wonder if Kaity Tong will be invited so Matto can have another shot at her…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/19  at  05:12 PM


  • Erik,

    Please don’t stop the blog. I know it must be a pain sometimes, but it is really fun and interesting to read.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/19  at  06:24 PM


  • You’ve done a really good job with this blog.  I appreciate the work you have to put in to keep it going.
    It is a source of inspiration for a lot of people.

    Posted by Alyson  on  05/21  at  10:13 PM


  • Hey Erik,

    I too am yet another Silent Reader (or have i made a comment in the past? i forget!) but just wanted to let you know that i find your journal inspiring and fascinating.  I find it encouraging that you’re travelling to places that aren’t on most backpacker’s cliche must-travel list.  Please keep it up! —A reader from Malaysia

    Posted by Cayce  on  05/22  at  07:02 AM


  • CAYCE:  Hey there… wow, Malaysia?  Welcome aboard… hopefully I’ll make my way out there before the end of the year…

    Thanks for breaking the silence…  It is the breaking of silence by SBRs that inspires me to continue…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/22  at  09:46 AM


  • Hey Erik,

    You should definitely get yourself down to Malaysia! grin  Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak) to be exact.  It’d be fun to show you around but after all your recent adventures, Sarawak might be a little tame. grin  btw, I’m half Pinoy..

    Posted by Cayce  on  05/23  at  05:39 AM


  • CAYCE:  Keep in touch… I’ll be in Malaysia sometime in November if all goes well…  I’d be happy to meet up!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/23  at  05:46 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
The Zanzibar Connection

Previous entry:
The Ultimate Day




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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