Contrasts and Ironies


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Africa
December 10th 2011
Published: December 13th 2011
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We would not have been able to plan this trip without the internet and its many advances, not the least of which are "TripAdvisor" travelers forums, and Google maps. We did use a Canadian travel agent, but it was nice to be able to e-mail guides and guest house owners in Rwanda's highlands or on the Garden Route in Western Cape directly.

Should we take a cell phone? I'm looking forward to going without for a few months. It seems that much of Africa has bypassed the "wired" age and embraced the wireless one. We will be traveling with a small netbook to check e-mails and post updates to our blog but we are also bringing a few books, instead of an e-reader. We figure there will be many opportunities to leave one behind and find some gem of literature left behind by a previous visitor.

It has been surprising how many businesses in Africa don't accept credit card payments, mainly because of the outrageous fees charged by the credit card companies. But we are told that in African cities many people use their cell phones to make payments through e-transfers. We may be the dinosaurs still relying on cash.

Making all the arrangements for this trip has been unlike any other we've taken, but has been a good exercise in trying to change the pace of our lives. After today, I won't go back to work for three and half months, the longest time since I finished school twelve years ago. It has been almost as long for barbe.

We have taken extreme precautions with our health in preparation for this trip, getting vaccines for everything from yellow fever to rabies – who knew you could get rabies from a bat flying into your face? But tonight, one sleep (or not - who caqn sleep) from the big fly-out, one of us is getting over a big cold, and the other has contracted an eye infection. Are those uninsured contingencies? Pre-existing conditions? The travel insurance we got may pay for air ambulance repatriation to Canada, but only if you can get to an airport, and it won't make it easier to find a dentist in the Ngorongoro crater.

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