In our travels to over 80 countries and all seven continents, we’ve had four brushes with possible trouble. Thought you might like to hear about them.
1. We were in Nairobi in July 1998 as part of a great tour of safari camps in Kenya and Tanzania operated by Micato. Our stay in Nairobi at the beginning of the tour as well as at the end was just 10 days before the bombings of the American Embassies in Nairobi and two other African locations. The safaris were terrific. Glad we left when we did.
2. In 2003, we were on a tour of the British Isles. Had a lovely time in England, Wales and Ireland. Our bus pulled up to the hotel in Dublin and our tour director asked us to stay on the bus while he went in to get our keys. When he came back, he informed us that our tour operator had gone bankrupt and the tour was now over.
We had to give the hotel a credit card to stay and we were now on our own.
The end of the trip to Scotland was not to be, although we did go back the following year with Tauck.
Fortunately, we made our own air arrangements and paid for the tour with American Express who refunded everything we didn’t get to do for “services not rendered.” Not everyone was as fortunate. A few people paid the tour operator for their extensions and they were out of luck.
We loved the trip as far as it went.
3. Then in November 2008, we were on a Regent Cruise that started in Dubai and ended in Mumbai. We had a delightful lunch one day at the Oberoi Hotel, as well as the next day at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. That was just 10 days ahead of the terrorist bombings and attacks that included both hotels, a Jewish Community Center, CAMA Hospital, and half dozen other sites. Whew, another close one.
4. In December 2010, we were on an eight-day tour of Mali that included a visit to the fascinating Sahara desert town of Timbuktu. I was convinced that the guides who were always with us in head-to-toe robes had guns underneath. When we returned to the U.S., we found a State Department warning that it was dangerous to travel in that area. Certainly, by the summer of 2012, we found out why as the Islamic rebels took over. Of course, the French kicked them out so we could go back again (just kidding).
As my good friend Dr. Spence says, “Never travel to the same places right after the Schwartz’s have been there. It’s too dangerous.”
You do need to be flexible to travel much. We certainly have had a little bit of a charmed life; and considering all our trips, the four incidents of possible trouble represented a very low percentage.