Posts Tagged With: charlotte north carolina

Guest Blog: Twiga “Coming to America”

"What games do ya'll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?"  Well, actually, yes, we do.

“What games do ya’ll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?” Well, actually, yes, we do.

Hi, I’m Twiga, the Cat (I’m sure you all remember me) and that’s me on the left.  I look like one cool, average American guy, right?  And you know why?  I just came to America – just like Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America“!

Like Eddie, I’m an African prince (all cats are princes, in case you didn’t know) who left my home to see what this America place is all about.  (On the right is my servant Colin, naturally portrayed by Arsenio Hall).

But you’re probably curious how a little ol’ Tanzanian street cat like me made it all the way to the US.  Well, sit right down and let me tell you my tail.  It all started in one of these:

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

Yup, you guessed it, still in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

Yup, you guessed it, STILL in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

My temporary home from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam.  As you can see, I tried to make the best of it:

Cat Nap!

Cat Nap!

The best part was no one made me go through security, so I could have smuggled out all the catnip and street mice I wanted.  If only I’d known!

I was kind of enjoying myself, but in Dar I had to say goodbye to my Sarah (who calls herself my mom now).  She made kind of a big deal about it, but I was pretty cool, because I’m one cool cat, remember?

On my next flight, I had my servant Colin stow me under his seat.

Stowed

Stowed (in a tiny black bag)

By the time we got to the Ethiopian airport, I really needed to get out, so servant Colin let me wander around this phone booth for a few minutes.  I wanted to call and let my dogs in America know I was coming, but servant Colin was having none of it (Plus, he said that the charges from Addis Ababa to America would be exorbitant even though I’m a prince).

Chillin' Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Chillin’ Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Next we had this really, really, really, long flight to Washington, D.C.  Every 5 hours or so, servant Colin took me to the airplane bathroom so I could keep trying to get in the airplane toilet.  I just don’t see why this is such a bad idea.  I needed a bath, plain and simple.

But finally, after 17 hours on the same plane (that’s 119 cat hours, mind you), we arrived in Washington, D.C.  Servant Colin was a little nervous about Customs, but they didn’t even look at my papers.  The joke’s on them!  There’s no telling what I brought with me!  You’ll be reading about it in the papers soon enough, just you wait and see.  I’m looking good now, because I clean up well, but just months ago, I wasn’t looking nearly so fly.

After

After

Before

Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just like that, I became an American citizen and a hero too – like George Washington or Shaquille O’Neal or the American flag!

My first impression of the US was this place called Starbucks.  It must be a new thing because I’ve never heard of it.

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

My first experience walking around the US was this family airport bathroom.  Naturally, I tried to climb in the toilet again (one wants to be clean to make a good first impression), but servant Colin advised me not to.  Not cool, servant boy.  Not cool.

Stare-down with servant Colin

Stare-down with servant Colin

And after one more short flight, I arrived at my new temporary home – Charlotte, North Carolina.  Though maybe now, it’s a bit more North Catolina!

Now that I’m an American, I’m going to take up some new hobbies.  First of all – I want to call this Miss Cleo lady – she seems really smart.  I need to start eating a lot more fast food and I’ll have to ramp up my gun collection pretty fast.

Of course, some things never change:

Charlotte

Charlotte

Mwanza

Mwanza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I’m sure someone will be interested in this Kenyan birth certificate I have for some guy named Obama.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 6.20.14 PM

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my emigration tail.  Now I must begin my endless pursuit of the American dream – starting right here:

IMG_0864

 

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Charlotte, NC to Mwanza, TZ in 79 Hours

It’s been a week now since mom and I arrived back in Mwanza and it’s taken me that long to get over the stress and anxiety of our trip from, for lack of a better word, HELL.  And before I go any further, I’d just like to say that I seriously considered titling this post, “Turkish Airlines Sucks”, but decided to be a bit more eloquent and explain the situation…so here goes!

Slide1

I’d also like to say that Turkish Air has now supplanted Precision Air for the number one spot on my travel “potty” list.  FYI Turkish Air, you are not a REAL European airline if you are more afraid of a 7 kg dog than an 80 kg drunk, belligerent man, just saying.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Goodbye Charlotte (Mom informs me this is also the name of a whiny rock band)

Goodbye Charlotte! (Mom informs me this is also the name of a whiny rock band)

We left Charlotte, North Carolina on a Wednesday and flew on US Airways to Washington, DC (an airport I may have pooped in, oops).  For the record, US Airways is awesome for doggies.  The flight attendant was super nice and showed me and mom photos of her own little dachshund, who I must say was quite the cutie.  Based on our excellent treatment by all the US Airways people, mom and I had no idea the personal hell we were in for once we transferred to Turkish Air in Washington, DC.

Enjoying US Airways

Enjoying US Airways

Once in DC, the problems began.  It’s too painful to relive all the terror the Turkish Air people put mom and me through, so I’ll be brief in my description.  More or less, the flight attendants told mom that it was “impossible” (sounds like a Tanzanian talking to me, once again these phrases would not be uttered on a REAL European airline) to bring me on board even though I’m a service dog and have all the appropriate paperwork and even though mom had called and arranged everything with Turkish Air months in advance.

Rejecting a service animal? You should be ashamed of yourself, Turkish Air

Rejecting a service animal? You should be ashamed of yourself, Turkish Air

In the end, I was obviously allowed to fly because here I am writing from Tanzania, but it wasn’t before both me and mom were made to feel incredibly unwelcome on the 10-hour flight to Istanbul.  Luckily our seat mate was great and mom and him complained together about the rudeness of the Turkish Air flight attendants.

Once in Istanbul, me and mom figured everything would be smooth sailing because the people in DC assured us that they had put a special note on our file so we wouldn’t be treated so poorly on the next flight to Dar es Salaam.  But NO, of course this message did nothing to stop the idiocy of this pseudo-European airline.  We were treated even worse on the next flight and were almost kicked off to be stranded in Istanbul.

We finally arrived in Dar es Salaam, tired and nervous at 4:30 in the morning.  We were too late to try to fly to Mwanza so mom took a chance on a taxi driver who turned out to be our savior in this whole bad dream of an experience.  His name was Sham (even I get the irony of this) and he was truly amazing!  He drove us around Dar es Salaam for over an hour looking for a hotel that would accept us because I’m not exactly welcome in Tanzania.  Finally after trying at least 15 different hotels, we were welcomed into the Peacock Hotel and immediately fell onto the bed for an amazing sleep.

Beds are awesome

Beds are awesome

It took mom 2 full days in Dar es Salaam to arrange a way to get to Mwanza.  Because Precision Air is afraid of little dogs like me, I was forced to ride in cargo.  Luckily, I had no idea what this meant until it was actually happening, otherwise I never would have gotten myself into such a situation.

While we were waiting for what I thought was just another routine short flight, mom gave me a little treat, a bitter tasting pill, but I think anything mom gives me is a treat!  Before I knew it I was being shoved into a crate, in a bit of a haze, and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.

Seriously guys, what's going on?

Seriously guys, what’s going on?

Next thing I know, a Tanzanian man is carrying me away from my teary-eyed mom and then she is gone and I’m alone in my tiny cage.  WHY?  After a while, I’m driven out to the airplane, still in my cage and placed in the bottom of the plane.  What the heck did I do to deserve this?  Luckily, mom came to check on me in the bottom of the plane.  Unfortunately she was just there to say hi and then they closed the hatch and I was all alone.

In cargo, on Precision Air, all alone

In cargo, on Precision Air, all alone

By this point, my eyes were heavy and all I could do was close them and pretend I was with mom in our bed back in Mwanza.  And you know what, it worked!  Next thing I knew, I was reunited with mom and Taxi Tito and we were on our way to our bed in Mwanza!  Hooray!  Best day in a LONG, LONG time!  And then it got better because I was reunited with our awesome house and my best friend Twiga and my girlfriend Miss Piggy.

Reunited with my awesome yard!

Reunited with my awesome yard!

Reunited with Twiga!

Reunited with Twiga!

Reunited with Miss Piggy!

Reunited with Miss Piggy!

Was it worth it?  Sure it was, but it could have been a lot easier.  Mom and I will have to figure out another way back when we head home in May…

An Addendum: Apparently mom and me are not the only travelers to suffer at the hands of Turkish Air.  See the blog post here and all the comments that follow.  Boycott Turkish Air!

http://blog.myletsadopt.com/2010/10/26/turkish-airlines-worlds-worst-airline-for-pets/

Boycott Turkish Air!

Boycott Turkish Air!

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