With only a couple days left before departure, imagine my concern when I read on the internet that workers for Kenya Airways are planning to strike and have not been working since August 14? I’m flying from Heathrow to Nairobi then on to Zanzibar on Kenya Airways, as well as returning the same route a month later. Workers wanted a 130% pay raise and were threatening to strike, even though some workers were already not reporting to work. This caused delays and cancellations of flights, leaving thousands stranded in airports across the globe.
Luckily, I just read an update on a meeting held today that stated a resolution was made and the strike called off. Workers received a 20% pay raise over 2 years. Whew! I hope they get the backlog cleared out before I arrive. Going to Zanzibar, I’ve got a little over 90 minutes between flights from Nairobi to Zanzibar. When there’s backed-up flights, that could be very little time. I’m still going to be checking status on Monday, before I leave on Tuesday, and Wednesday while I’m waiting at Heathrow.
Nothing like a little last-minute excitement to get the nerves going.
I started taking my malaria pills today. I chose to go with Malarone (atavaquone and proguanil HCl) out of the 3 medications I could select from. It’s got the shortest pre- and post-travel dosing schedule, the least and lesser side effects (not like another that warned of mental issues, sheesh), and is 98% effective. I start a couple days before traveling and take it for 7 days once I get back. I also predicted, based on the mild side effects and dosing schedule, that Malarone would be the most expensive of the 3. I don’t know what the others would have cost, but a 42-day supply of Malarone lifted $295 from my pocket quicker than a papasi. That, along with the yellow fever, typhoid, and tetanus ($390), I’m feeling a little drained, but recovering.
Whenever planning for a long trip, sometimes days are spent deciding what to take, what to plan for, then revising again and again. Once everything is brought together and the attempt is made to stuff it all into as few bags as possible, more revisions are made. For this trip I want to be as lean as possible. Transportation between Chumbe Island and Unguja (the island of Zanzibar) is by boat and there won’t be any place in Stone Town (Zanzibar City) to leave a bunch of gear when we go to town and walk around, get internet access for email, etc. I don’t want to look like a tourist (will be hard to do, but I’m trying to minimize as much as I can) and have all my gear flaunted out for every undesirable to see (also will be hard to do). Access to power will be limited on Chumbe and there is no internet or cell phone access.
I purchased travel insurance for the first time ever, mostly because of the threat of the Kenya Airways strike. The included medical coverage might be helpful, too, if there is a need. I don’t anticipate anything happening but it’s rarely a bad thing to be over-prepared. My main concern is loss of luggage and theft from my luggage, which is a concern whenever and wherever I travel.
So, the last couple days before I get on the plane. It’s packing day.