Mary Fitzpatrick
United States US
Sep 6, 2014 September 6, 2014

Mary is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including South Africa, Tanzania, East Africa and Africa.

Category: Travel Disaster Worth Sharing

You know you are in for a long journey when…

....the ticketing agent, tarmac personnel and flight attendant for the two-bit West African airline you are about to fly with are all the same person…..

….the airplane door will not close properly, and the pilot takes off anyways….

….400km of rough bush tracks separate you from the closest city and the driver of your hired car shows up drunk….

….the axle breaks on your rickety bus only four hours into a ten-hour journey….

….the driver of your hired taxi falls asleep at the wheel, still several hours away from your intended destination….

(Whereupon you see it as your duty to keep the driver awake for the remainder of the journey. Accordingly, you begin chatting about anything and everything until he turns around in exasperation, saying, ‘I’ve never met any person who asks so many questions, will you just be quiet!’)

….a drunk border guard at a little-used border crossing does not want to give you your passport back….

….the driver of your ancient Land Rover taxi asks you (occupying the coveted front passenger seat) to hold a piece of plastic piping (emanating from somewhere under the hood and poking out of the non-existent dashboard) at an angle just-so during the course of a long, bumpy journey, in order to keep the car from stalling out.