I have done a fair bit of travelling in the last few years. Not all of it was hardcore ‘authentic’ travel, sometimes it was just moving from one place to another. And believe me, there are things you need to know to succeed.
So here they are:
1. When careering down a dual carriageway in Egypt at night, keep your eyes firmly shut. Your driver is most probably speeding along the wrong side of the road and his headlights are not working. Pray. Whatever religion.
2. Should you find yourself on a Czech Railways train that has been delayed by 150 minutes, try to roll an apple from one end of the carriage to the other while falling about in a fit of giggles. It is fabulous for the passengers’ morale and encourages teamwork, when people try to ‘field’ the apple.
3. A white Toyota in Uganda could be offered to you as an example of luxury transport. Make sure to sit in the front lest your skeleton makes close contact with the skeleton of the vehicle every time the ‘shot’ absorbers fail to absorb. You might end up joined at the hip with the back seat of said Toyota.
4. An English bus provider has his passengers’ wellbeing at heart. Therefore do not despair if you haven’t managed to pack your lunch. The delayed bus will suddenly stop in front of a shop and you can browse the food aisles while your driver is buying his cigarettes.
5. When dropped off on a floating pallet in the middle of the sea in Maldives, do not move. That way your baggage as well as you will be safe until a small boat called ‘dhoni’ arrives and a smiley captain sails you to your beautiful little paradise. Should you doubt the appearance of the ‘dhoni’, start mentally measuring the distance from your floating pallet to the nearest island.
6. Chale Island is a very short distance from the Kenyan mainland. Hit the crossing between the tides and you will be treated to a bizarre experience of being pushed in a boat across the sea by its captain.
7. If you can’t stand people, live chickens, goats or sacks of corn in close proximity to your body (or even on your lap), do not travel on Ugandan public transport.
8. The tourist horses in Antigua (horses for tourists, not horses visiting the island) don’t care about your riding skills. The one you get will inevitably try to lead the group, overtake everyone and then decides to gallop into the sunset whether you wish it or not.
9. If suffering with a toothache in Ecuador, make sure that your guide doesn’t stop on top of a mountain to show you the volcano Cotopaxi. Suppressing the tears in your eyes and without shouting, ask him to descent below 4000 meters so that the pressure in your head goes away. You can see a volcano on the TV.
10. The last one is close to my heart. The car coming towards you is showing no signs of slowing down. Hide (yourself, your bike, dog, bag, children and your entire car) in the nearest hedge. And breathe…