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NOVEMBER, 2009

 West to East


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We made it to East Africa but it wasn’t easy.  Since our last blog we have cycled back from Lome to Accra.  When we reached Accra we went to the airport and dropped our bikes off with the cargo company.  After dropping our bikes off we met our VSO friends and crashed on their floor for the night.  The next morning we returned to the airport ready to get our flight, leaving the VSO house at 8.45am.  At 11am we boarded the plane ready to fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  After a 5hr flight we reached Addis Ababa at 7pm, local time, and had a 15hr lay over to wait out.  Fortunately for us the lay over was at night time and after a few local beers, called St George, and some local meals, called Doro Wet and Lamb Tibs which were both excellent, we passed out in a corner for the night.  Our lay over in Addis Ababa flew by and we were soon onto a plane heading for Nairobi, our final destination.  We landed in Nairobi at noon a full 24hrs after leaving the VSO house but our journey was not over.  We needed to collect the bikes and find a hotel for the night.  Collecting the bikes proved to be a lot harder than we could have ever expected and a lot more expensive.  Upon reaching the cargo bays we found out that we had to use an agency to get our bikes back from the cargo company, this I don’t really understand.  But we went along with it at first and started going through the processes with a gentlemen who’d met us outside the cargo bay.  When we asked for a break down of the costs we discovered we had to pay a cargo tax of 250 Shillings and another government tax of 5,000 Shillings.  These costs we completely understood and accepted but when we were told the cost of using the ‘agency’ (con artists) we were stunned.  They were asking for 10,000 shillings, making the total cost of getting the bikes back 15,250 shillings or 140 pounds.  This was more than we’d paid for the cargo of the bikes and was completely unacceptable.  We refused to pay and went to complain to the boss of the cargo company, who instantly understood our argument but it appeared there was nothing that could be done.  Until, whilst searching for a solution, we met a man called Jared and Jared decided to act as our agent for whatever we wanted to pay.  Jared was a fantastic man who was unbelievably kind and generous.  He worked his socks off for hours running from office to office making complaints on our behalf to get the cost of tax down.  It turned out they wanted 30,000 as cargo tax and he argued it down to 5,000 after talking to his boss then his boss’ boss.  But we ended up running out of time as the offices we closing and decided to collect the bikes the next day.  Jared asked us where we were planning on staying and after our reply of ‘not sure yet’ he offered to show us to a reasonably priced hotel local to the airport.  After a short bus journey Jared showed us to the hotel and arranged a sim card for our phone so we could call him in the morning.  We finally got into our hotel room an amazing 30hrs after we had left the VSO.  Somehow we still managed to go out for a few beers but didn’t last long.  The next morning Jared actually came and met us at the hotel and took us back to the airport.  He then continued what he had started the previous day and after a couple more hours of running between offices getting signatures from various people, he got our bikes released 48hrs after we had left.  We are incredibly grateful for the hard work Jared put into getting our bikes back and gave him a modest tip of 2,000 shillings, 5x less than the agency fee.  Over the past 2 days Jared has become a friend and he has offered to take us out for lunch to show us what local food is like in Kenya.  I want to reiterate how lucky we were to have met Jared and if you are reading this Jared THANK YOU!!! 

 

Tomorrow morning we will be meeting Alan’s friends and family at Nairobi Airport and heading down to Moshi.  Where we will prepare for our climb of Mt Kili.  It’s almost unbelievable but we have made it to East Africa and after concurring Kilimanjaro EyeOnAfrica will begin its second leg heading for the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa. 

 

Watch out Kili EyeOnAfrica is coming!!!



posted by   November 19, 2009 10:25 AM  EyeOnAfrica  comments (4)



 




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