Home' Travel News : November 2013 Contents 38 travel news November 2013
November 2013 travel news 39
The atrocity of Westgate left us all in
shock. It was a heinous crime of the very
worst kind. Most of us folk who live in
Kenya knew someone affected in one way
or another, and you must have shared with
me the sense of abject helplessness which
was overshadowed at least in my case by
How can people – any people – no matter
what their grievances or their religious
beliefs, do this to innocents? Killing people
in the name of God, any God, goes against
the teachings of all religions.
Against this backdrop and only a week or
so after Westgate, I travelled to New York
to present a bid to host a global travel
and tourism conference here in Kenya in
2015. I found extraordinary energy during
my presentation, which was more about
international terrorism than the actual bid
Kenya had been short-listed in a group of
five countries – Italy, Turkey, Norway and
a combined bid from Brasil and Argentina.
We made it to the final with Norway.
We won by a two-thirds majority.
This showed the global travel and tourism
industry standing united against terrorism
and as importantly standing with Kenya in
its hour of need.
Quite what I said and how I said it I have
no clear recollection. I guess I’ll have to
wait for the movie.
Folk noticed what I said came straight from
the heart, which is worrying.
This year's conference was not really in
New York, but it did begin and end there.
a thing carrying 3,000 passengers plus
1,000 odd crew.
Getting on and off the beast was
excruciating, I have never seen so many
wheelchairs, electric carts and folks with
serious mobility issues, all it appeared
suffering from the same ailment – obesity.
Aside from the odd port-of-call, the only
thing people did on this cruise was eat.
Crikey, the plates they gave you for the
breakfast and lunch buffet were serving
platters not plates. Huge bloody great
plastic things! The lines moved at a snail's
pace, because everyone had to have
everything, with large people piling on
huge helpings of just about everything. A
lady at breakfast one day took the cake –
A large plate (or platter, whatever), add a
mountain of bacon, six large link sausages,
another mountain of fried potatoes, another
mountain of baked beans and another of
I’m so appalled I’m calling friends around
me over to see this. She then gets to the
egg and omelette station – takes a boiled
egg, then another, then another and then,
blow me down, orders an omelette with the
People eating soft-serve ice cream cones
at breakfast, a 24-hour pizzeria, and 24-
hour room service – a burger joint, a
Mexican joint – good food, no doubt, but
the quantities people helped themselves
to was indecent.
The formal evening dining experience was
the only culinary highlight without paying
a surcharge to upgrade to a brilliant steak
I remember one day saying to myself,
and I’d have never ever thought of saying
this pre-cruise or at any other time ever:
‘no fried foods today’.
whatsoever, with an under-populated,
massive and virtually unscathed salad bar,
it was a breeze.
The ship had many bars, cabaret lounges
and nightclubs – all mostly deserted. It
seems you eat a lot, you sleep a lot, or
maybe the electric buggies needed
Cynical I was and am, but I can assure you,
dear reader, that there is no cruise of any
kind on my bucket list; never was, actually.
The cruise made four ports-of-call at
Boston, Portland ME, Saint Johns NB, and
Halifax. The first two ports I was otherwise
engaged, attending said conference. Saint
Johns was great in that the cruise ship
moored right in the middle of town; the only
problem was that three other tubs also
moored there. Picture if you will a small
town with over 12,000 day visitors - ‘ twas
not a pretty sight.
The main reason for disembarkation for
most was that the onboard Internet on
our tub and apparently all the other tubs
was prohibitively expensive and very slow.
Double jeopardy, if you will. Saint Johns
downtown Internet capability melted under
the onslaught. Halifax the next day, I stayed
onboard and had the run of the ship almost
to myself - bliss.
Visiting friends in Washington D.C.
afterwards was great therapy in
appreciating all the great and the good that
Catching up with them was seamless as
all friendships should be, but getting home
was the best thing ever.
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