Photo Credit: Pete Oxford/Nature Picture Library
In my last blog, I mentioned how nostalgia and images of my childhood life prompted a trek to the watery playground of my youth in South America. As kids, our playground was a stream that ran through our backyard, and our young lives revolved around that stream.
I remember the stream was dotted with water lilies, and sometimes little yellow ducklings would swim by in a straight line. We all learnt to swim in that stream, and spent most of our free time there. A mango tree overhung the stream and we would climb the tree and pick ripe mangoes, or jump from the branches into the water. We fished in the stream using bent needles as hooks, and cooked the fish we caught over an open fire under the mango tree. Some of us made rafts out of banana suckers (tree trunk) and sailed down the stream looking for adventure.
I was not seeking adventure on my trek, but it started off badly. My flight originated from New York to the West Indies, a layover in Trinidad and Tobago, and then a connecting flight to Guyana in South America. The flight was delayed and I made the connecting flight with minutes to spare. When I finally arrived at the Guyana airport, I found that my luggage had not been transferred to the connecting flight. It arrived the following day with several items missing, including my camera, video camera, and photographic equipment. This was devastating to me, because I had planned to make a documentary of my trek. To add insult to injury, it took countless hours shuffling among several unsympathetic staff, before I could file a claim for a paltry reimbursement.
- Important Advice!
As savvy travelers know, expensive equipment should be stored in your carry on, not in your checked luggage. If you are a first time traveler, please heed that rule! Another word of advice when traveling to unfamiliar countries… please be extra careful with your luggage. Persons pretending to assist you, or claiming to be taxi drivers can make off with them. Additionally, when leaving that country, be vigilant of your luggage. Airport workers have been known to slip drugs into your suitcases, and use you as an unsuspecting mule to bring their drugs out of the country. If you are caught, the authorities are not very sympathetic to your plight, and you face jail time.
If any of you blogging friends have encountered similar problems, please share them and make this a learning process for all of us.
As you digest these warnings, I will stop here and continue writing about this trek on my next blog.