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Trip Report OHMIGOSH! Back on safari with MICATO - Trip report - May 2007

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All my life I dreamed of going to East Africa to see the animals and experience the sights and sounds of a continent that for some reason, stole my heart and soul before I even went there. But at no time did I ever think we would be lucky enough to go twice, let alone within 11 months of the last trip!

All year all Jim and I could talk about was our 'trip to Africa'. Africa was firmly entrenched in our hearts and there was just no way to get it out, and no way to solve the problem other than to go again. I had kept in touch with Fran, the representative from Micato that had become my new best friend over the internet the last few years. In February, tired from flat-out working, with no down time thrown in, and no end in sight, I mentioned to her I'd love to go back, but the only time I could get away would be 'possibly' the last two weeks of May.

'Well', she said, 'we have a new safari that takes in a few places you haven't been, and we have room at the end of May'.

Three seconds later after calling up to Jim to start packing, we were booked; I just had to check with the CFO of my major client (really my 'boss' as I spend 35 hrs a week on that one client alone), and check out the airline connections etc.

Two days later, with a few chops and changes in plans (Zanzibar extension had to be scratched as the CFO was not happy with me going more than two weeks) we were booked solid.


Or, at least we thought it was. All week, I panicked that I wouldn't get all of the books done for the clients that I had to before going, but by Friday at 11 pm, miraculously ' I was done. That left Sat and most of Sunday for last minute running around, laundry & packing. And of course weighing, but I was fairly confident I could keep within that 33 lb limit this time. After all, I had gone through that 'very comprehensive packing list' of mine and scratched out all the items I knew I didn't need from last year's experience.

Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men. I followed my list to the T ' didn't add a thing, made sure everything was in the smallest containers I could find, and '.. Rats. My bag was 41 lbs, Jim's was a walloping 48 lbs! And that was without as many spare batteries as he had brought last year! Those duffle bags must have gained a few pounds on their own I thought over the year ' that was it, it had to be! Stashed away in my closet for a year, they must have gone from their 8lbs up to 13 or something! Not to be beat though, I had a solution. This year, I had bought a 'Daymakers of California' purse, which was solid enough, and just large enough to fit my new Panasonic FZ50 camera, a spare battery, some memory cards, my wallet, important documents and a few odds & sods. It was a normal size purse, so taking a small backpack on the Africa internal flights wouldn't be a problem. I dug out my 'Roots' travel fold up backpack and put anything that I had heavy in it. The bag was small, but heavy, and it worked. To go to Africa, I left it in the duffle bag, once in Africa, I just pulled it out and put it on my back. Presto ' suddenly my duffle was 34 lbs ' an acceptable weight.

I did the same for Jim with a small travel tote bag ' not very large, but just enough to hold those heavy batteries and excess camera gear such as clamps, monopods, etc that wouldn't fit in his new Naneu Pro Tango camera bag. (recommended by hills27 ' thanks Jim LOVES it!). Next time I will have to work a little harder to figure out why I am constantly overweight in my duffle, but for now, this worked great.

Andrew came at 5:45 PM, right on time this year, instead of 12 hrs early like last year! It was Mother's Day, he brought me an incredible bouquet of flowers from him and our son, Jamie, who lives in Calgary. I had about 15 minutes to enjoy them and take pictures, and then, leaving family friend Krystal in charge of the cats and dogs ' off we went to the airport. I was SO excited!!!

Andrew dropped us off, we walked into the terminal and were shocked to see the line up for our flight ' there must have been hundreds of people in line! 'Good job I got our boarding passes on line' I said to Jim as we headed to the fast drop counter; only to find out that there was no 'fast drop', this was a line up to 'sort out & reroute' as our flight had been cancelled to the next day. A BA representative handed us a sheet of paper ' it said the pilot had become suddenly ill and our flight would not go out until Monday morning at 11:00 AM. Which, according to my calculations, was the exact time that we were supposed to be enjoying a GTG with Kavey in London over Chinese food! I was a little miffed, but what can you do but go with the flow. We waited in the line for about an hour, had a great conversation with another couple heading to Turkey, and then finally, a BA rep who was walking around thought to tell us that if we were pre-checked in (we were, I had done it on line) then we could just go home and come back the next morning, we didn't have to stand in line, unless we needed to rebook ongoing flights. Which we didn't, as I had left a day in between to spend in London. She took our name and the details on our prepaid, non-refundable $450.00 Cdn hotel room at the Heathrow Hilton for the night that we wouldn't be there. She said she would fax the hotel and convert that to a day room while we waited for our flight to Nairobi. She also gave me a form to claim my prepaid transit tickets for the London underground ' at $45.00 Cdn that wasn't just an incidental cost.

We called Andrew to come back for us, went home and had supper with Krystal, and an unplanned last night in our bed before embarking ' once again ' on our adventure.

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