“Knock Knock”. I was already up but Leonard wanted another tip. I struggled to put some trousers on and went to the door. My half naked self met Leonard’s half naked self. “Yes”
“your early morning call, sir”.
“Thank you”, I said, being as polite as I could at 5:30 in the morning. At least I had settled the bill the night before. I didn’t want to have the hassle over the laundry bill when I had a plane to catch.
I hurriedly washed and got fully dressed, did the usual rigorous routine, Passport, bags, keys, wallet, cheques, passport, cheques, keys, wallet, passport, wallet, hotel room key, passport, wallet, malaria tablets, wallet, keys, airline tickets, passport, wallet.
When I was entirely certain that no matter how many times I was going to check, something was going to be left behind, and at least ensuring that it wasn’t something that would prevent me from getting out of the country and back to the UK, I locked the hotel room door, panicked, went back in and did a final check under the bed, and then lugged the suitcase up the few steps to the lobby.
Leonard had kindly put on the TV for me while I waited for the driver. It seems to all Africans that we actually enjoy watching CNN. Little do they know that I would rather have a large hole drilled into my head while Tammy Winette is being played the background, but they don’t seem to care. Perhaps they enjoy passing on this sort of torture. The problem with CNN is that it is so in your face that when there is little else to distract your attention you are irresistibly drawn towards it. And despite the fact that in the twenty repetitions of the same news story you get in twenty minutes, they manage not to convey any news whatsoever, you still watch hoping that something new might come on.
It was only a matter of a few moments before the driver arrived at the Aqua Lodge in Kigoma, western Tanzania, where I had been working on the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project. I had been very efficient and booked an Air Tanzania flight from Kigoma to Dar es Salaam, my next port of call, while I was still in the UK. It left at a civilized time of day and, via Tabora, reached Dar es Salaam in a couple of hours.