“How much to take me to the airport?”
“I’ll give you 3000 shillings.”
“O.K., 4000 shillings, let’s go.”
“NO! 3000 shillings, do you want it or not?”
“O.K. O.K. 3500 shillings, we go now.”
“O.K. 3000 shillings, lets go.”
I got in the taxi.
It is amazing how much better your negotiating skills become the longer you travel and the more comfortable you become in a foreign environment. With this small cost-of- a-ride victory under my belt, I was finally on my way to the airport in Zanzibar, Tanzania. I was beginning a travel day, which would be more than twenty-four hours long if all went well. I had spent almost four days and $50.00 in phone calls with the Lufthansa office in Dar Salaam. (This brings up a notable point. No matter how good a company is in the Western world, plan on them being just like everybody else in the Third World.)
According to the office in Dar Salaam, everything was taken care of and they would have my new ticket waiting for me in Nairobi with only a four hour layover, completely re-routed to London. All I needed to do was pay my $75.00 re-route fee and everything would be O.K. Being a muzungu, (Swahili for white man), who had seen just how efficient African commerce and communication really wasn’t, combined with an expired, used up, single-entry visa for Kenya, along with the complete assurance of the travel agent who sold me the flight from Zanzibar–the same man you could ask if you could shove a lit stick of dynamite up his ass and he would always reply with the same answer, no problem Bwana, (Swahili for Sir), the world will end tomorrow, your head is on fire, you don’t understand a word I say, the dog is nailed to the wrong side of the door, the response was always the same, ‘No Problem, Bwana’–my landing in and sorting out of my ticket in the most corrupt east African nation of Kenya should make for an interesting afternoon.
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