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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

African Adventures

The e-mails usually begin with a standard format:

Hello, do you have a bed available for me on .... and, can you fetch me from the airport? How much will this cost?

Nell asked this and there were more e-mails to follow -

Hi, me again, just one question - Could you organise a tour for me to the Kruger Park, Pilanesburg, Lost City, Lion and Rhino Parks, Victoria Falls, Swaziland, Lesotho, Cape Town and Mozambique.

No, Nell, I reply, the logistics would be impossible. Please contact a travel agent. They are qualified to do this.

But they will charge me for that and I need your help, Nell replies. I think I'll go to the Kruger Park first, then Cape Town, then to the Lost City and Pilansberg and then Victoria Falls, Swaziland and Lesotho.

I google seven budget safari tours, e-mail them and forward the information to her.

I cannot afford this. Didn't I say I was on a strict budget? is her reply.

Now I am the hell-in. This took me two hours, I tell her. Now she is on her own.

Two weeks later. - I never knew it was so much work and so many options.

I thought Cape Town, Lesotho, Swaziland, Lost City, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were within driving distance from your hostel and I only intended to spend one night at your hostel anyway.

This is why I did not understand your e-mails about flights and visas.

Anyway, I have booked the tour to the Kruger Park and will be going there directly.

But, I still need your help with the rest of my African Adventures.

Will you have availability for a dorm bed in about two months time?

Brenda, an ex-colleague calls for an update.

We natter for a while and she says: "My, you are so lucky to have retired at your age."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I, the Bitch.

'Tis amazing how many locals acquire foreign accents when up to nonsense. Three arrive from the 'States'.

With thirty two years of combined hostel-running experience and much advice, I asked:

"What must I do with the items guests leave behind?"

"If they do not contact you within in a month take their things to the welfare," they all nod in agreement.

After they leave I open the wardrobe and find a bag of wet smelly clothing, mouldy bread and a TV.

I 'phone them. Collection is arranged for the following day. Three days go by. I have dumped their clothing in the garden shed.

I 'phone again and tell them I am dropping off their belongings at the welfare.

Two hours later they arrive:

"You are a bitch," I am told, "and you can give us petrol money to travel back to Pretoria."

The nerve.

Frank, rings the doorbell: "I want to stay for the night. The wife, the bitch threw me out. I will tell you the whole story."

He starts unpacking his car. Not even a rock star has so much luggage. There is a microwave oven and a TV. There was even a desk and a chair.

"This is not going to work," I tell him.

"All you women are bitches," he replies.

Another local, wearing a turban, asks for accommodation for four, from the Middle East for a week.

"But, I would like to inspect the premises first," he demands.

"Why?" I ask, "the place is not for sale."

"My business associates are very fussy about cleanliness and security. They can bath together, eat together and work together, but as their countries are at war they cannot sleep together. Or, with anyone else, he continues.

"This is a backpackers hostel," I say, "with beds in dorm rooms."

"They'll need a dorm room each but I will only pay for one bed."

"And, if I have other guests, what then?" I say.

"Well, you do not have any other guests this morning, do you?" he replies smugly.

"Yes, I do. They are hanging from a hook behind the door," I say.

As he leaves, he mumbles: "Bitch!"