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.

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You’re the Adventurer–South Africa


Welcome to an interactive online story. You’ve been a spectator reading my travelogues, 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 travels unfold. If you haven’t read the story from the beginning, stop reading this post! Click here to begin your journey.

You’ve decided to take a trip to South Africa, a land of African and western cultures, scenic beauty, and wild safaris. Congratulations! Now the fun begins. You have to plan your visit.

You think of all the places in South Africa where you might want to go. Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, and Kruger National Park are the first ones to cross your mind, but there are many more you’d probably like to see if you had the time. You’re going to travel a long way to visit Africa, but you can only take a couple weeks off and have to plan your schedule carefully to make the most of your time. An Internet search of popular travel destinations reveals more potential sites, from the Drakensburg Mountains to Blyde River Canyon near Kruger. The long Garden Route that follows the Indian Ocean along the southern coast sounds gorgeous, but two weeks isn’t enough time to drive it and tour other parts of the country. You decide to focus on two locations where you’ll spend most of your vacation.

2010_10_26 South Africa Garden Route

You write down your travel preferences and think about how to fit them into your itinerary. You definitely want to experience the South African culture you saw on television during the 2010 World Cup and decide to visit a city for a taste of the local culture. Which one? Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria are the most obvious choices. You jot them down.

2010_10_25 South Africa Capetown

You also want to see some of the country’s natural beauty and draw up a list of some of South Africa’s natural wonders, including Blyde River Canyon, the Drakensburgs, and the Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain near Cape Town. Poring over a map of the country, you see them scattered in different places. You can’t visit them all; you’re going to have to narrow them down and choose. Connecting the dots, you notice that many are clustered near Cape Town and Kruger.

2009_11_22 South Africa Blyde (2)

2009_11_23 South Africa Kruger (5)

2009_11_22 South Africa Blyde

2010_10_26 South Africa Cape

A safari is a must-do on your list. You enjoy watching wildlife programs on television and want to see African game animals for yourself. The thought of seeing lions, rhinos, elephants, and other wildlife is exciting. Observing animals in their natural habitat certainly beats visiting them in a zoo!

2009_11_23 South Africa Kruger (4)

2009_11_23 South Africa Kruger (6)

2009_11_23 South Africa Kruger

2009_11_28 Johannesburg

2009_11_23 South Africa Kruger (3)

2009_11_23 South Africa Kruger (2)

So you have to choose where you want to go. You don’t have enough time to see everything. You whittle your list down to three options:  Capetown; Johannesburg and Pretoria; and Kruger National Park. You can only visit two of them. Which ones do you choose? Choose your preferred destination.

After making your choice,  click here to continue the story.

 

buythumb42M.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 collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on 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.

When I Saw a Lion


When I Saw a Lion

by Alex Edwards

Clang! The car bounced on the dirt road. We’re on our way to see a lion!

Lion (1)

When it was two hours later, it felt like two years. We stopped at 6 o’clock to stop and see the sunset.

After an hour, we went to see a lion. When we saw the lion, I was scared and surprised. It was cute and cuddly, but I wouldn’t go out and cuddle with it.

Lion (3)

It was the best day ever. I wish I could see the lion again.

The End

Note: This story was written by my young son, Alex, after our June 2011 trip to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, a country in Southern Africa. The lion in the photo is the same one that inspired him to write this story.

Map picture

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 a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an ebook and in print on Amazon.com. His next book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, will be released on March 31, 2012. He lived in Zambia during 2009-11 and now 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.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro


Buy from Amazon.comThe Snows of Kilimanjaro is featured in my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, which chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The book is on sale now as an e-book for $3.99 and in paperback for $9.99 from Amazon and other booksellers.

One of the characters who appears in my book is Harry Street, the protagonist in Ernest Hemingway’s 1936 semi-autobiographical short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro. The story inspired the 1952 movie of the same name starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. Harry was a washed-up writer who lay dying in the shadow of Kilimanjaro from a life-threatening wound he received while on safari. In the story, he lamented over his failed life and the dreams he never fulfilled because he gave in to his own weaknesses. Shattered dreams tormented Harry on his deathbed until his soul floated away to the icy heights of Kilimanjaro, his body left behind in the image of a frozen leopard carcass lying on the mountain.

If you don’t know Harry Street, let me introduce you to him. Harry is the personification of failed dreams as portrayed by Gregory Peck in the movie The Snows of Kilimanjaro. The Ernest Hemingway story is available to read here.

Are you like Harry Street, living a life of failed dreams, or are you facing the mountains in your life to find fulfillment?

More About Mount Kilimanjaro:

Click here to learn more about the book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill about the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Click here to learn about the fauna and flora on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about the dedicated guides, porters, and cooks who work on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read the story of the iconic wooden sign on Kilimanjaro’s summit and the metal one that replaced it in January 2012.

Click here to read about the vanishing glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

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. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. 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.