February 14, 2008



An email from my boss goes out. The war in Tchad is overflowing the office in Cameroon, and the Cameroun team therefore cannot go visit. The assignment starts next Monday, she has three extra staff. I get re-assigned from South America to Africa because of my language skills. This is still unknown to me at the time.


In the morning, I hear about this through the grapevine. During the day, we rush to finish our reports. The boss arrives and we take her to dinner. The same night, my boss confirms verbally the change, and I get the ball rolling.

At midnight, I email my counter part in Africa to get budget details to pay for my flight, and the travel agent to get them in the loop and have them research flights ahead. I need to cancel my flight to Bolivia as well, this needs to be done quickly.


Morning email: the travel agent says she can’t guarantee she can work on this the same day, and requires that I submit a formal request, then whichever agent can get to it first will. Problem is, I don’t have the budget info for the formal request.

I email my counterpart in Africa to get this information, along with info pertaining to the visa requirements. Unfortunately due to timezones, they won’t reply until the next day.

The BFH is onsite and advises me not to cancel my flight until budget info has been obtained, just in case. I rush to modify my instructions to the travel agent.

At the same time, my mother, well connected, contacts the diplomatic representation in Montreal and obtains visa information. Throughout the day, I file all the necessary information with her, but put her on hold until budget info is obtained.

All the while, I finish my last tidbits on my report, and in the evening, take the BFH out for dinner.


My Africa counterpart advises me that I cannot get a visa at the airport. Apparently, immigration takes travelers’ passports and the visa is obtained the next day. Despite her assurances that all will be fine, I remain wary – I am unpleased with the idea of parting with my documentation, and have had past experiences where the local office didn’t show at the airport. I opt for getting the visa home, with my boss’s approval.

Later in the day, budget information is obtained. I file my formal request for a new flight and give the go ahead for visa.

At the end of the workday, my travel agent holds a ticket for approval. Due to timezones, once more, we have to wait until the following morning.

That night, I stay in. I’m exhausted.


I receive an email from my counterpart in Africa contesting my dates… apparently I should be staying two more weeks. Impossible, for I have a planned leave and a plane ticket. Both the BFH and I scramble to explain this. An agreement is reached that one of my colleagues will fill in for the two missing weeks.

Half the day is spent out with the BFH, first escorting/translating for her in a charity visit, then at art galleries in Antigua.

Upon my return, I find out that my flight is finally approved. I have a flight out of Guate to Canada for my visa purposes on the following morning. I receive this at 2PM. At 3PM my flight out of Canada into Africa is in my inbox. Meanwhile, the BFH is getting her nails done at a nearby spa.

At 4:55 PM…. I get notification that my flight out is cancelled and rescheduled for Saturday. I go to pick up the BFH at the spa and share this information with her.

At 8PM, the hotel informs me that they don’t have a room for me.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !


Qalamana said...

Du calme!!! Take it easy and just think about the wonderful time you'll have in Madrid :D

Salt Water said...

Wow! to the dispatch mess. Truck drivers do not know how to read "BFH". It sounds derogatory, like it should be "BFW". I hope this is just because I'm in a jerk mood. I remember some past friction though.
Always fun to read about your travels, Beav. Thanks.