Crossing My Fingers

Linda Lou Burton posting from Seronera Airstrip, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania– “He never helped with pictures.” This was the complaint every member of the gang was voicing, as we sat in the airstrip terminal this morning. Ben (remember, not his real name) was running here and there, supposedly getting tickets, supposedly for the right people, going to the right places. I sat terrorized, my confidence level in the “right thing” being done for the “right time” at a good minus-ten. (That’s -10.) Fond memories of Abdi, our guide in Kenya, and our drivers in both countries (Daniel and Willy for our 4×4), all expert photographers, were recalled; how they’d take any one of our cameras (if asked, and sometimes, even if not); make the correct adjustments for the circumstances, and “get the shot.” Anyone on the wrong side of the 4×4, no matter, they were always willing to take our camera and help. Ben (remember, working on his Masters in Tourism) had his own fancy-schmancy camera with lens that could zoom to the moon, and he concentrated on his own photos at every stop. He said he was “collecting information” for a project. I wasn’t as bothered by THAT as much as his inability to get us anywhere on time, to listen to anything we might ask, and, most especially, to follow through on the trip itinerary. Promises by Globus, not carried out by Ben. Here are two:

DAY 12, WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 21, 2022. NGORONGORO. Full-day game drive in the crater includes a picnic lunch. (Remember the 4:30 AM departure and boiled-egg in a box?)

DAY 14, FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2022. SERENGETI. Special farewell dinner in the bush includes a traditional Maasai dance performance. (Guess what.)

I was still stinging over his double-cross about the day in the Crater, which caused me to miss one of my prime objectives of the trip. I strongly suspect he simply failed to book the lunch in advance, and then the Lodge couldn’t accommodate us. Or maybe he thought he’d get more photos for his project earlier in the morning. I’ll never know. But the missing Maasai dance at last night’s farewell dinner was the last straw! We did have a dinner on outdoor tables, but we were seated in the dark with a spotlight in our faces (not lanterns in the trees); and the entertainment was Ben making speeches about tourism in Tanzania. Remember our “last night” with Abdi at Amboseli? Sundowners as the gang  sat together around the fire, talking and reminiscing? When I asked Ben “where are our dancers?” he shrugged. “No dancers,” was all he said. I asked him to come to our tent afterwards. He did, wearing a distracted look. I put “tomorrow’s itinerary” in front of him, pointing to the arrangements, already paid for, that were critical for the next day. Rick and I were to move forward on our own, still as Globus customers, but sans a guide familiar with the territory to take care of potential goof-ups.

DAY 15, SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 2022. SERENGETI–STONE TOWN, ZANZIBAR. Morning game drive. Fly (via Arusha) to Stone Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). STONE TOWN Free time in the late afternoon and evening.

“Do you have our plane tickets to Zanzibar?” “Do you have transport booked to get us from the airport to our hotel there?” “Is everything confirmed?” “Oh sure,” was his answer. Based on past experience, I am crossing my fingers.

Last night’s farewell dinner. A night-hunting lion strolling through, or some klipspringers dancing might have livened things up! It ended with everyone straggling off to their tent.


Mbuzi Mawe Serena Tented Camp

Serengeti National Park

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