Harare, Zimbabwe (with Photos)


This is an update of an earlier article I wrote in 2010, in commemoration of Zimbabwe’s historic political transition after 37 years of rule by former president Robert Mugabe. This is also available at MGEdwards.com.

I arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe at dusk after a long day on the road.

I had left Malawi in the morning and drove the last stretch of highway on my 400 mile (700 kilometer) road trip through Southern Africa.  The journey through Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe offered fascinating glimpses of the continent through a car windshield.

I was exhausted by the time I pulled into the hotel in downtown Harare in my oversize sports utility vehicle (SUV), not only from the long drive but also from the eclectic scenery that passed before my eyes. I saw my life pass before my eyes when a semi-truck came at me full bore in my lane as it tried to pass another truck. I frantically pulled over to the shoulder in an emergency. When the dust settled, and I stopped hyperventilating, I thanked God for preventing a head-on collision or a rollover in the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Harare. Once known as Salisbury, the capital of the former British colony known as Rhodesia, Harare was at one time of the most modern cities in Africa. Three decades after Zimbabwe’s founding, however, Harare had fallen on hard times. I’d read cautionary tales in the newspapers and heard stories recounted by Zimbabweans in the diaspora. With its economy in tatters, the country had been wrecked by hyperinflation in 2009. The Zimbabwean dollar collapsed, denominated in the trillions before it was taken out of circulation and replaced with the U.S. dollar and South African Rand as the country’s de factocurrencies. I read about the lack of goods, including fuel and food, and the outbreaks of pandemics such as cholera.  If one believed the stories told by the international media about Harare, one would think that it was a veritable disaster area when I arrived in 2010. I read so many negative news stories about Zimbabwe that I discovered preconceived notions had tainted my expectations, leaving me the impression that what had once been a shining star in Africa was but a shadow of its former self.

Seeing for yourself can temper your expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to find Zimbabwe, or ‘Zim,’ a beautiful country and Harare a livable city.  My brief journey through Zim showed me a country with many challenges but in better condition than its reputation belied. As I drove west from the border to Harare, I learned that the media’s portrayal did not do the country justice. My eyes saw prosperity and poverty, stores open and stocked with goods, people going about their business and doing their best to make a living. I saw ingenuity in the form of private trucks used as public buses, houses built from available materials, vehicles kept running by any means possible, and $2 bills long ago taken out of circulation in the United States with tape over Thomas Jefferson’s visage. By the time I drove through a year after the Zimbabwean dollar had collapsed, there were no shortages or lines of waiting customers that I could see. When I stopped to fuel my gas-guzzling SUV in the rural eastern town of Mutoko, I filled up the tank. This was not the Zimbabwe I read about in the news.

After several days of travel in the African countryside, resting my head wherever I could find along the way, I checked into a nice hotel in downtown Harare. The high-rise building overlooked a city park that hosted the final concert of the week-long Harare International Music Festival, Zimbabwe’s premier music event. Cherishing a delicious Zambezi Beer, I enjoyed jazz, fusion, and reggae from my perch 15 stories above the festival venue.  It was a rare treat and a melodious ending to my long, eventful road trip through southern Africa.  I slept well that night.

I spent the next morning walking around downtown Harare and taking in the sights.  The architecture was eclectic; modern yet dated with a subtle, African-infused style. The cityscape did not feature monoliths common in other cities around the world, indistinguishable concrete block buildings or overtly political monuments. However, I noticed broad brush strokes by the hand of public design.  The locals went about their business as in any major city. Mid-size Harare held its own in the annals of urban metropolises. Even after years of hardship and neglect, it is still a beauty in southern Africa. Despite the political and economic difficulties it has experienced during the past three decades, Harare has endured. My time there was too brief to know what life was truly like for those who lived there. During my time in Zim, I imagined that life had improved for many since the days of hyperinflation.

After a tour of Harare’s city center, I departed for my home in Lusaka, Zambia.  My stay in Zimbabwe’s capital was short but sweet. I was impressed enough that I returned with my family a few months. They too saw a place that exceeded their expectations.

More About Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe Iguazu Falls vs. Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe Map

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Tanzania


Click here to read the original article on MG Edwards. Visit MG Edwards for more great travelogues, photos, and videos from around the world.

Tanzania invites visitors to explore its scenic beauty. From the freestanding Afromontane peaks that rise to the summit of one of Africa’s most iconic landmarks, Mount Kilimanjaro, to the wild safari adventures in Ngorongoro Crater and on the Serengeti, strolls on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar, the shores of Lake Tanganyika, and everything in between — Tanzania is a wonderland. It is easy to see why it is one of the Africa’s most popular travel destinations. Formed in 1964 from the union of the newly independent republics of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Tanzania is a stable, developing country that embodies the best of Africa and its challenges. Its colorful history reflects the influence of indigenous tribes as well as rule by Germany, Great Britain. and an Arab sultanate with historic ties to Oman. This mix of cultures has given Tanzania a diverse character all its own. The Bantu language Swahili (Kiswahili) filled with Arabic phrases, mountaineers who come from around the world to climb Kilimanjaro with the help of local guides and porters, and German bakeries found in the unlikeliest of places will remind you that Tanzania is a place like none other. Not even a mere “hello” will suffice. Your Swahili greeting “jambo” may very well be a “hujambo” or “sijambo” depending on whether you’re coming or going.

More About Tanzania

Aerial View of Dar Es Salaam

2010_05_24 Tanzania Dar IMG_2663

The Indian Ocean from Zanzibar

2010_05_25 Tanzania Zanzibar IMG_3104

A View of Stone Town on Zanzibar

2010_05_24 Tanzania Zanzibar IMG_3369

Mount Kilimanjaro

2010_12_29 Tanzania Kilimanjaro

Map picture

Children’s Book Zoe the Zebra Now in Print!


My children’s picture book Zoe the Zebra is now available to purchase in print for just $6.99!

Book three of the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Zoe the Zebra is an illustrated picture book that teaches children about bullying. A young zebra named Zoe who lives in the African bush joins forces with her friends Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon, and other animals to protect their friend Wally the Warthog from a pack of bullying hyenas. Can they help him and stop the bullying?

Inspired by my safari adventures in Africa, the story features Zoe, Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon and a host of animals, including giraffes, hippos, and lions. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will take children to the African savanna and teach them how to handle school bullies. Zoe the Zebra features 22 full-color illustrations.

Zoe Cover (small)

Print Booksellers

The print edition is now available to purchase for only $6.99 (or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com ($6.99)

Amazon UK (£4.63)

Amazon Germany (€5,79)

Amazon France (€5,51)

Amazon Italy (€5,79)

Amazon Spain (€5,35)

Createspace ($6.99)

E-booksellers

The e-book edition is available for only $0.99 (or equivalent in other currencies) from the following booksellers:

Amazon.com for Kindle ($0.99)

Amazon UK for Kindle (£0,77)

Amazon Canada for Kindle ($1.02)

Amazon Germany for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon France for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Italy for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Spain for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Brazil for Kindle (R$2.09)

Amazon Japan for Kindle (¥100)

Apple iTunes for iPad ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Barnes & Noble for Nook ($0.99)

Barnes & Noble UK for Nook (£0,66)

Google Play for Android ($0.99)

Kobo Books for Kobo Reader ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Smashwords for multiple e-readers ($0.99)

Visit Zoe the Zebra’s web page for a full list of booksellers. Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

You may also want to buy the first two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant.

Alexander the Salamander

Alexander Cover (small)The first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure.

Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

Ellie the Elephant

Ellie the Elephant Cover (small)The second book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie living in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing polo?

Inspired by the author’s adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie the Elephant and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

Zoe 2 (eyes cartoon mini)

Pick up your copy of Zoe the Zebra or any of the World Adventurers for Kids books today!

Zoe Cover (small)M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures.

He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated three books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander, Ellie the Elephant and Zoe the Zebra.

Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service in 2011 to write full time. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Children’s Book Zoe the Zebra Now on Sale!


I’m proud to announce that my children’s picture book, Zoe the Zebra, is now available to purchase as an e-book for just $0.99!

Book three of the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Zoe the Zebra is an illustrated picture book that teaches children about bullying. A young zebra named Zoe who lives in the African bush joins forces with her friends Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon, and other animals to protect their friend Wally the Warthog from a pack of bullying hyenas. Can they help him and stop the bullying?

Inspired by my safari adventures in Africa, the story features Zoe, Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon and a host of animals, including giraffes, hippos, and lions. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will take children to the African savanna and teach them how to handle school bullies.

Zoe Cover (small)Zoe the Zebra features 22 full-color illustrations. It is now available to purchase as an e-book for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com for Kindle ($0.99)

Amazon UK for Kindle (£0,77)

Amazon Canada for Kindle ($1.02)

Amazon Germany for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon France for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Italy for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Spain for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Brazil for Kindle (R$2.09)

Amazon Japan for Kindle (¥100)

Apple iTunes for iPad ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Barnes & Noble for Nook ($0.99)

Barnes & Noble UK for Nook (£0,66)

Kobo Books for Kobo Reader ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Smashwords for multiple e-readers ($0.99)

Visit Zoe the Zebra’s web page for a full list of booksellers. Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

You may also want to buy the first two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant.

Alexander the Salamander

Alexander Cover (small)The first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure.

Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

Ellie the Elephant

Ellie the Elephant Cover (small)The second book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie living in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing polo?

Inspired by the author’s adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie the Elephant and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

Pick up your copy of Zoe the Zebra or any of the World Adventurers for Kids books today!

Zoe (eyes cartoon small 2)

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Kilimanjaro eBook Free This Friday Only!


Just in time for Thanksgiving and Black Friday! As a way to say thanks, I am offering free copies of my ebook Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill on Friday, November 23.

Click here to download my ebook for free! (Friday only)

wlcEach week, the World Literary Café gives away two free ebooks to members who request them as part of its Free eBook Friday promotion. Ebooks are distributed via Smashwords coupons. Books will be made available by 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (exact placement time varies) on Fridays and remain available until 9 p.m. EST. Register for free with the World Literary Café and log into its website where you can request a coupon to download the ebook for free from Smashwords.

The first book in the World Adventurers Series, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At forty years old and on the verge of a midlife crisis, I tried to change my life by climbing a mountain. This is my true story of facing Kilimanjaro and other challenges at middle age.

This book is for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber or hiker who is interested in climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, this book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

Kilimanjaro features more than 60 photos from my trek and earned an honorable mention from the 2012 Global Ebook Awards.

Get your free copy of Kilimanjaro this Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you very much, dear readers!

If you missed your chance to download Kilimanjaro for free, you can still enjoy the Free eBook Friday promotion with new ebooks each week.

Click here to learn more about Free eBook Friday

Grab your ereader and get two free e-books every Friday courtesy of the WLC!

About the World Literary Café

The World Literary Café is an online community that bridges the gap between readers and authors, with the mission of paying-it-forward in the literary field, promoting great literature, and bringing together the literary community. The WLC offers helpful promotions to authors, reviewers, bloggers, and editors by creating avenues to bring them together under one umbrella in an easily navigable venue.

clip_image003M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Kilimanjaro Featured in the Foreign Service Journal


mge-kili-cover-front-smallThe prestigious Foreign Service Journal featured my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill in this year’s “In Their Own Write” compilation of books published by Foreign Service-affiliated authors.

The Foreign Service Journal wrote of Kilimanjaro (p. 36):

Approaching middle age, sick and overweight, Mike Edwards was hardly in shape to face the tallest mountain in Africa. But armed with stubborn perseverance and the desire to defy naysayers, he reaches for the top in his attempt to tackle Kilimanjaro.

The tale covers every aspect of the climb, from preparations that included being dragged through aisles of clothing by his avid shopper (and mountain climber) wife to eating a monotonous vegetarian diet for five days.

Once on the mountain, it doesn’t matter who you are. It’s just you and the mountain. Luckily, Edwards had a kindhearted guide and a well-planned expedition. But planning can only go so far when subjecting yourself and your team to the ruthless elements of Kilimanjaro’s highest altitudes.

This Global E-Book Award nominee is fuel for all aspiring mountain climbers as well as those heading “over the hill.” Climbing “Kili” changed the author’s life and gave him the motivation he needed to leave his diplomatic career and follow his dreams. And with this book he is living them.

Mike Edwards was a Foreign Service officer for 11 years. He left the Service in 2011 to focus on writing and now lives in Thailand with his wife, Jing, a Foreign Service specialist at Embassy Bangkok, and their son. This book is the first of his World Adventurer Series. He also writes mysteries, thrillers and science-fiction fantasies, and has published a volume of short stories, Real Dreams.

kilifull

Readers have called Kilimanjaro “life changing,” “inspirational,” “gripping,” “an epic journey of self-discovery,” and “a peek into someone’s personal travel journal.” It’s a book for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber, mountaineer, or hiker who is interested climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, this book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

Thank you, Foreign Service Journal, for including Kilimanjaro on your 2012 list. I am grateful that my book joined other superb works written by Foreign Service colleagues and alumni. I encourage readers to browse the books featured in “In Their Own Write” and to peruse the pages of the Journal to learn more about the Foreign Service.

Kilimanjaro is available to purchase as an e-book or in print from these booksellers:

U.S. Booksellers

Available to purchase as an e-book for US$3.99:

Amazon.com for Kindle

Apple iTunes for iPad/iPhone

Baker & Taylor for Blio e-reader

Barnes & Noble for Nook

Diesel Ebooks for iPad and other e-readers

Google Play for Android

Kobo Books for Kobo e-reader

Smashwords for iPad and other e-readers

Sony ReaderStore for Sony e-reader

Available in print for US$9.99:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Createspace

Diesel Book Store

IndieBound

International Booksellers

Available as an e-book or in print (prices vary by format and local currency):

Amazon.co.uk for Kindle (United Kingdom)

Amazon.fr for Kindle (France)

Amazon.de for Kindle (Germany)

Amazon.co.jp for Kindle (Japan)

Amazon.it for Kindle (Italy)

Amazon.es for Kindle (Spain)

Available as an e-book (prices vary):

Barnes & Noble for Nook (United Kingdom)

Available in print (prices vary):

Amazon.ca for Kindle (Canada)

Visit my website for a complete list of booksellers.

About the Foreign Service Journal

The Foreign Service Journal covers foreign affairs from an insider’s perspective, providing thoughtful articles on international issues, the practice of diplomacy and the U.S. Foreign Service. The Journal is published monthly (July/August issues combined) by the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA). The November issue features its annual “In Their Own Write” compilation, the largest edition yet, with some 90 new books by Foreign Service-affiliated authors. The list spans almost every conceivable literary genre: from history and foreign policy to memoirs and biographies, and from novels and short stories to mysteries and how-to books.

About the American Foreign Service Association

Established in 1924, AFSA is the professional association of the United States Foreign Service. With close to 16,000 dues-paying members, AFSA represents over 28,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees of the Department of State, Agency for International Development (AID), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

You’re the Adventurer–Quarantine in South Africa


Welcome to an experiment. You’ve been a spectator reading my travelogues about life overseas from Korea to Zambia, but now it’s your turn to go on your own adventure! Immerse yourself in the story and make key decisions by choosing from among several options. Your selections could make the difference between a great trip or a travel disaster! Read and make your choice, and stay tuned as your story unfolds.

If you haven’t read the story from the beginning, stop reading this post! Click here to begin your journey.

You’re all set for your trip to South Africa. You can’t wait to experience the African and western cultures, scenic beauty, and wild safaris. It’s going to be a great trip!

You arrive at the airport and check in with the airline. Presenting your valid passport and tickets, the agent reviews them, checks in your bag, and issues boarding passes and baggage claim. You accept them with a smile.

counter

In spite of your aversion to the high-tech security measures that leaves you feeling underdressed and exposed by a full-body scanner, you pass through security without incident and make your way to the gate. The on-time flight leaves you idling and fumbling with electronic gadgets while waiting for the boarding call. At last, a warm voice announces over the intercom that it’s time to board the airplane for the long flight to a transit airport. Flying isn’t fun, but it’s not long now until you arrive in South Africa.

The journey is uneventful except for a bout of turbulence over the ocean and some movies featured as in-flight entertainment that you missed in the cinema. The mundane routine of getting up to stretch and take bathroom breaks is the only diversion you have from lounging in a seat that looks comfortable enough but feels harder the longer you sit in it. You juggle some electronic gadgets and fill out the transit country’s Immigration and Customs card long before arrival. It occurs to you that the handwritten document will probably end up in a file cabinet somewhere, forgotten.

You arrive at the transit airport and pass through security. The thought crosses your mind that they could have reconfigured it so passengers en route to another destination could have bypassed security and exited directly to the transit lounge. “What do I know?” you murmur, putting the thought out of your mind. You’re just a passenger who should leave security to the experts.

security

Your luggage was checked all the way through to your final stop in South Africa, but you still have to pass through immigration and customs again before heading to the connecting flight. It’s déjà vu. Take out passport, boarding pass, and laptop out, throw away liquids, and remove shoes and belt. You wonder — to yourself, of course — if it’s overkill.

As you sit at the gate waiting for your flight, an announcement over the loudspeaker tells passengers that the flight to Johannesburg (Joburg), South Africa has been delayed. Curious, you ask an attendant why when the plane is waiting in the gate. They respond that the aircraft’s battery is dead. “Great,” you chuckled, none too happy. It’s too bad you left the jump cables at home.

Two hours later, you’re on board the aircraft with a fresh battery and on your way. Fortunately, you have enough time in Joburg to make the short-hop connecting flight to Cape Town. Except for updrafts over the Sahara Desert that buffet the plane and trigger a five-minute explanation from the captain, the flight to South Africa is more uneventful than the previous one. You try to will yourself to sleep during the long flight but can’t do it. Somewhere over Africa, you give up and start watching your favorite movie another time.

Excitement returns when the captain announces the descent into Joburg. You look out the window, see the city sprawling on the horizon, and snap a few digital photos smudged by streaks on the double-paned cabin windows. Your seatmates keep to themselves; one is still dozing and the other engrossed in a pulp novel. No one to share your joy of your arrival in Africa leaves you subdued.

The plane lands, rolls to a halt on the tarmac, and disgorges passengers at a shuttle to Immigration and Customs. As you step off the bus, you read a large sign that announces in bold letters:

Due to a Recent Outbreak of Yellow Fever,

Everyone Who Enters Must Show Proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination

at Port of Entry.

You read the sign and gasp. Studying it again, you shake you head. You didn’t get your yellow fever shot at home and don’t have a yellow shot card! An International Certificate of Vaccination would have provided the proof you need, but you passed on it.

You enter the airport terminal and head to Immigration, hoping that the officer will excuse your ignorance and let you into the country. The counter looms. Stepping up after a brief wait in line, you quietly hand your passport and immigration form to the officer. They scan the documents without a word. Finally, they ask, “Do you have proof of yellow fever vaccination?”

Your heart sinks. Fumbling with your travel documents, as if jostling them will make the yellow shot card magically appear, you respond meekly, “No, no I don’t.”

“I’m sorry, but you can’t enter South Africa without showing proof of vaccination. You’ll have to go to Quarantine to speak to someone about taking care of it. Have a nice day,” the officer says, handing back your documents and motioning for you to enter a room to the right. A nearby guard watches you.

guard

You’ve been quarantined! You have no other choice but to go to Immigration Secondary and arrange to get your yellow fever shot. You’re going to miss your connecting flight to Cape Town and could be sequestered for a couple of days. What a disastrous start to what could have been a great trip!

THE END

airplane

Images courtesy of Microsoft.

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories calledReal Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Storiesand Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

 

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. All characters and events appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or events is purely coincidental. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.