Now 2013 was clearly the year when we wanted to do very varied kind of vacations and hence now that we have done Tanzania, I have to say that Tanzania just the kind of variation we were looking for. Definitely a part of the bucket list that was conquered.
Travelled in February 2013
So first things first, this is the itinerary we followed. If I see the email chain, quite a number of emails ( 52 at last count) exchanged to finalize the trip but it was a super useful effort. In the end, the tour operator needs to know your exact requirements and by no means, I feel we are easy customers (as we do what i believe is quite extensive parallel research), but the end result was worth it, thanks to the team of ItStartedInAfrica.
The trip to Tanzania started on this exciting Friday evening when were supposed to catch the flight after office. Qatar Airways it was this time. Hong Kong – Doha – Dar Es Salaam – Arusha.
Being the first time in a Middle Eastern airlines which are renowned for their exceptional inflight service, we were looking forward to experience it. And yep, they didn’t disappoint.
A bit of eventful evening though to catch the 6pm flight.
3pm: Reminder – to leave in 45min for the airport express in Central.
345pm: Leaving for the airport express from our respective offices. So I reached the Airport express counter first since it was walking for me from office. However, Heena had a tough luck- from 345pm to 430pm, she just could not get a taxi. Prime suspect reason: We were not aware at that time, but 4pm is when shifts change for cab drivers and that meant lower supply for a brief period.
4pm: Still no cab. I took the airport express tickets, checked flight schedule. All in place and on time (ironically, damn!).
415pm: The flight is less than 1:45hr away. Now it is getting serious!
420pm: OK! This is getting scary! Time for me to grab a cab from Airport Express, to Heena’s office, pick her up and come back. While it is no more than 5-7min drive one way, sometimes traffic in HK means walking is faster than driving !
450pm: What was supposed to be happening at 430pm was delayed to 450. And every minute was counting! Finally after struggling in the darn traffic for half an hour (!!!), we managed to be in Central, but it was 450pm already and we were still 300m away from the train station. 455pm: Huff!!! Huff!!! Sigh Sigh!!! We are running through the malls, shops, streets and offices… to catch the 5pm airport express train! Yes, they run every 10min sir… but don’t you see, every minute counts! 10 minutes is a lifetime for us right now!
510pm: OK, some glimmer of hope! From the train, Heena called Qatar Airways at airport and requested them that we will be at airport by 525pm (we had taken our boarding passes in morning, thankfully) and that we will be there at the gate by 6pm. While they politely reminded that they would not delay the plane for us (rightly so!), they would not close the gates the usual 15min before departure time!). I have to say though, if I was alone, I may not have made the call! But the ladies in our house are real straight talkers!
535pm: Train arriving at the airport. Hello? Hi, this is Heena again. We have just reached the airport. We are coming and will aim to be at the gates before 6pm. Please do not close before then, we will make it.
536pm: Up we are and off to the gates. Waiting… for the train to stop and doors to open. OPENED! RUN RUN RUN!!!
545pm: At the security counter. Ah! Very limited queue, breeze! Run Run! Still 20-odd gates to run! Thankfully no airport train to take! 5min saved!
553pm: Yes!!! We are the ones who called, madam! We are here on time. Thanks for not closing the gates! What time is the flight? 6pm? OK, we are here!
605pm: Plane starts moving from the terminal. Phew! OK, hugs and kisses! We made it! Muah! Gosh! What two hours! Now lets make the goodbye calls home! Sigh! One glass of water please. And two glasses of wine as soon as you start serving please!