Day 8 – evening Day 1 – Northern Experience Tour
Even though I knew that the meeting was held at 6:00pm this evening, knowing me…….I had to be there much earlier than that. So, with Michel at my side, we sat patiently in the hotel's lobby waiting for any sign of other people to show up!
The place was deserted except for the occasional hotel guests who rapidly walked in and out of the hotel’s lobby. Looking outside, who do I suddenly see sitting quietly near the hotel’s front entrance doors……none other than the tour guide! His shirt bearing the company’s logo name gave him out! Ha, ha, ha!
I immediately introduced myself and with Michel followed him inside to another section of the hotel’s lounge. Shortly afterwards, the rest of the people showed up almost one after another. It was about time; it was 6:00pm.
We were six couples in total, 12 people. This I knew already but what I didn’t know was their nationalities! They turned out to be four Germans, four Danish, two Australians and us, the two Canadians! A good mix of nationalities to make it interesting as the guide said! Now, did he said that as a joke or what! Hehehe!
We each had our turn to introduce ourselves but don’t ask me if I remembered any of their names afterwards……I couldn’t even pronounce some of them! You should know that I did give them an advanced notice....that I usually take tons of photos! And then, it was time for our two professional guides, Alex and NTando, to say something about themselves.
Alex, a sturdy young man in his early thirties lived in Johannesburg with his girlfriend. Originally from Portugal, he spoke German amongst other languages. I asked him if he spoke or understood French and his reply was just a tiny, tiny little bit! Well, I now had the answer that I was looking for as I told Michel that I’ll have to be careful with what I’ll say behind his back or around him! Hehehe!
As for NTando, the one bearing the funny name, he was a family man with three young children and lived in Zimbabwe. He appeared to be in the middle thirties but one never knows. With a name like that, everyone and I included had trouble remembering it. To make it easier, he told us to think of the "Nintendo" game! Ok! Problem solved!
I was happy to learn that we had two guides on this tour because if you ask me, it would have been way too much for one person to do all the tasks such as driving, guiding and cooking. After all this was a non-participation tour…..all we had to do was relax and enjoy the ride! Hehehe!
Questions were asked, answers given and then we all went our separate ways. Since we hadn’t had supper yet, Michel and I immediately went to the dining room area where we had the buffet dinner.
The rest of the people followed shortly afterwards and even though we all sat at different tables, I knew right away that this was going to be a one of a kind amazing adventure! After all, we were all seasoned travelers, mature in age plus one can always learn from another!
A short walk was taken around the block before retreating to our room. We had a 9:00am departure time tomorrow morning and had to be ready for it because you know what……my ten months of planning, preparations and anticipation for my African overland adventure was about to start……..Monique :-)