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."