Posts Tagged With: precision air

Going Home: Mwanza to Dar es Salaam

I was just kidding about never seeing Agatha again because sure enough, I saw her the very next day.  Let me explain:

After my (un)happy Mother’s Day, mom and I set off for the Mwanza airport with my namesake Tito, the taxi driver.  We packed all this stuff into the car:

That's a lot of stuff!

That’s a lot of stuff!

and then I said goodbye to our Maasai warrior guard.

Goodbye Akwi

Goodbye Akwi

When we got to the airport, mom put me in my cage (which I totally hate, it’s so demeaning) because all the Tanzanians were afraid of me.  We went through security and got to the check-in counter with more than enough time to spare.  But, unsurprisingly, no one knew quite what to do with me.  They said it was impossible for me to fly even though mom had already made arrangements for me with the manager.

So I waited patiently (or not so patiently, I’ll admit I cried a bit) while mom fought for my right to board the airplane.

Waiting...

Waiting…

Everyone ignored her because they just didn’t want to deal with a situation that made them think outside the box.  Eventually, it got too late and the plane simply left without us so we were forced (well, mom was forced, I was happy) to go back to our house for the night.

I was ecstatic when we got home and did leaps of joy around the house.

You know what was the icing on the cake?  When I woke up the next morning, Agatha was there!  Hooray!  Unfortunately, we really needed to leave on Monday since our flight to Amsterdam was leaving that evening from Dar es Salaam.  So, around noon, I said my goodbyes to everyone again.

Saying goodbye to Agatha (again) and Eddie (our gardener)

Saying goodbye to Agatha (again) and Eddie (our gardener)

Once more, we arrived at the Mwanza airport and into my cage I went.

I hate that dumb thing

I hate that dumb thing

This time, the people at the airport were prepared for me and things went much more smoothly.  Mom handed me off to the Tanzanian baggage handlers to be loaded into the luggage part of the plane.  I was not super excited about this, but since I was in my cage there really wasn’t much to be done about the situation.

Eyeing me with skepticism

Eyeing me with skepticism

I was driven out to the airplane on a tractor (without my mom) and loaded onto the little ATR airplane, since all of Precision Air’s Boeings are not working.

I'm in there somewhere!

I’m in there somewhere!

You know where they put me?  In the baggage section like I was nothing special.  Below me there was a bucket of dead fish that I had to smell for the entire flight and above me was one of mom’s massive bags.  I’m lucky that I even survived!

Piled in with all the luggage (if you can even call a bucket of dead fish luggage)

Piled in with all the luggage (if you can even call a bucket of dead fish luggage)

Finally, after an agonizing two hours, we arrived in Dar and reunited with mom’s taxi driver friend Sham.  Since no hotels would allow us to enter, Sham took us to a place called Coco Beach to pass the time until our next flight.

Enjoying the ocean breeze with Sham

Enjoying the ocean breeze with Sham

Here’s where I spent my very last hours in Tanzania, not too shabby if you ask me!

Coco Beach

Coco Beach

But, as I’ve learned in my short life, all good things much come to an end.  So, after the sun had set, mom and I headed back to the airport to continue our marathon journey back to America.

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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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Nairobi to Mwanza

My mom is back from her weekend trip to Nairobi, so now I can post again since she took her computer and the internet with her.  Her journey home from Nairobi was so much easier than mine!

We arrived in Nairobi from Amsterdam at 9:30pm on New Year’s Eve.  Mom needed to be in Mwanza, Tanzania by January 3rd, but we still hadn’t figured out how to get there.  Unfortunately Precision Air is the only airline that regularly flies from Nairobi to Mwanza and they hate little dogs like me, so flying wasn’t an option.  Luckily we met a great taxi driver named Michael in Nairobi and he agreed to drive us from Nairobi to the Kenya/Tanzania border where we would meet my namesake and godfather, Tito the taxi driver.

Me in Tito the taxi driver's car

We set out from Nairobi on the morning of January 3rd.  We drove through the Great Rift Valley and saw Masai herders.  It was the biggest yard I’ve ever seen!

The Great Rift Valley

Masai herders with the biggest animals I've ever seen!

It took us almost 5 hours to drive from Nairobi to the border town of Isebania.  In some sections communities built speed bumps so high that the car would get stuck on top.  During the day, they helped to push us over, but during the night, it’s much more dangerous.  Mom said they even steal things from people this way.  Good thing we were driving during the day!

Using dad's neck pillow on the long car ride

Once we got to the border we easily crossed into Tanzania and the town of Sirari.  No one even asked to see my paperwork!  We met my godfather Tito at the border and transferred everything into his vehicle to finish the rest of our drive to Mwanza.

We got a mini-Safari as we drove from the Kenyan border to Mwanza since we were on the edge of the Serengeti.  I thought the cows from the Great Rift Valley were cool until I saw zebras in the Serengeti.  These giant striped creatures just blew my mind!  Mom says that elephants are even bigger and I can’t imagine what I’ll do when I see one.

Zebras in the Serengeti

After driving for 4 hours and spotting zebras, wildebeest, and baboons along the way, we made it to Mwanza!  That first night we stayed in a wonderful hotel on Lake Victoria called Ryan’s Bay Hotel.  After a 10 hour journey, I was beat and super happy to relax in my new home.

Me relaxing at Ryan's Bay Hotel

Our route from Nairobi to Mwanza

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