Not So Good

Not So Good

Things aren’t going well for tourism. It’s best in America where local travel has doubled over last year and is only about 15-20% below pre-pandemic levels. Europe is a close second. It’s really bad in Africa and the Middle East where current tourism is still only a third pre-pandemic levels. And the worst of all, of course, is Asia where China is learning the hard way that you can’t wipe out the virus like the Uyghurs.

Soon I return to Africa with 9 travelers, and as disappointed as I felt with the less than full safari my guys on the ground are ecstatic. At least I’m coming! Tourism in Africa isn’t anywhere near the level that was predicted, and this is leading to some very interesting stuff.
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Me Worried

Me Worried

Written years from now history will describe the fall of Mariupol not so much a military as political defeat. Then more years hence when books are written about the end of modern America, a connection will be made with Mariupol.

Then more and more cross references will weave a history of our current times as one of privileged classes intoxicated by their comfort, unmotivated to carry on the battles for everyone that got them to where they were: Coopted if not corrupted by their own satisfaction.
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Imminegration

Imminegration

Courtesy / The New York Times
Two of my closest African acquaintances are settled in America. Both hurdled right over all the obstacles to immigration into the States: One is a political refugee and one is an accomplished physician.

It’s left me scratching my head. What distinguishes these two individuals from the hundreds of thousands pounding on our southern border with similar motivations and urgencies?
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Scared To Death

Scared To Death

It’s very hard to write in a public forum about anything other than the Ukrainian war. Referring to my own interests rooted deeply in Africa can’t assuage any of the guilt that we’re not doing enough to stop this monstrous conflict.

They say age increases paranoia: Thousands of memories of African dictators and gruesome conflicts sweep through my head, but nothing rises to the destruction in Ukraine. I don’t feel this way because Ukraine is a “white man’s war” or because Ukrainians seem to be more culturally and economically aligned with my own privileged ecosystem than the good citizens of Uganda fighting the LRA. That’s hogwash.
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Covid IV

Covid IV

Covid – IV
Traveling with Covid

We traveled when colds spread in airline cabins. We traveled when flu was all around us. So now we’ll travel with Covid, too. Americans, though, have additional hurdles others won’t have to face. But if you’re an American, you’ve got to face them. Don’t walk away from distant travel, because America’s Achilles heel – and the disabling personal anxiety in our individual souls – is an unique cowboy loneliness that will take us down awfully quick. Travel is our antidote.
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Covid III

Covid III

Part III :
Do I get my money back?

I lost all the investment on a personal holiday to Paris to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary because my wife tested positive for Covid. The great if unusually satisfying irony is that a hundred or so travelers EWT has sent mostly to Africa since last fall had not a single Covid disruption. Just us, the owners.

No, we didn’t get our money back.
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Covid II

Covid II

Part II:
Is it safe to … ???

We want an answer, now. Right now. Is it safe? Is Covid gone, or under control enough. Replace “…” above with anything:

“Is it safe go back to Africa, now?” “Is it safe to restart my Yoga classes?” “Is it safe to go to school without masking?” “Is it safe to go to a movie?”

My answer to my question, “Is it safe to go to Africa?” is “Yes.” No matter what? No. As safe as before Covid? Depends on where and when you’re going.
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Covid I

Covid I

My four-day trip to Dublin last Saturday was as complicated and stressful as any in my life. All the unlikely pandemic warnings that I level at my clients came true for my wife and myself. Analyzed with the three African safaris which EWT completed in the last several months a grim landscape emerges that I can only hope is a mural of the past, not of the future.
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Far Out

Far Out

I was supposed to be in Paris with my wife celebrating our 50th anniversary. I’m in Dublin where I’ll be writing more about this interesting, unexpected journey due to Covid in later days. But today I just gotta write about Marriott!

Marriott is pleased as puddin pie that it’s opening a luxury camp in Kenya’s Mara. “The location and surrounding landscape will … create harmony with the natural world … drawing inspiration from the elements: earth, wind, fire and water.” Not sure about the fire.
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Blanks

Blanks

Try to imagine how a soldier deals with fear. I’m no soldier but I think I felt soldier’s fear standing under the elevated gun of a tank at the Goma/Gisenyi border in 1994 as it kept us from crossing the border as planned. I think it’s similar to the adrenalin high that Kathleen and I exchanged in our instant glances after hearing Amin’s gunfire in Kampala. Similar to the instant, complete weakness and rapid heart beating when I threw my hotel curtains open on the 13th floor of the Addis Hilton expecting to smile at dawn and instead looking straight down at 6 human heads impaled on the hotel’s flag posts. None of these compares with a 20-year old florist turned soldier in Mariupol thrown to the ground as half his city blows up.
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Unregulated War

Unregulated War

Last night EWT’s first large group since January 2020 arrived Nairobi on Air France. Quoting the leader, “It was a LONG DAY.” PCR testing, endless lines as health officials scrutinized and tested every entrant, and sudden new regs against the Yellow Fever outbreak… “Exhausting” he said. Then…

… two hours after they were tucked asleep in their Nairobi hotel, the Kenyan Government removed most restrictions regarding Covid as a result of the enormous decline in the virus locally. All you need now is a copy of your vaccination. How we want to celebrate! But we can’t because of Ukraine.
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Simplicity

Simplicity

Six dollar-a-gallon is less painful than radiation burns. Devil in the details, of course, so celebration of America’s “ban of Russian oil” should be suspended until all the details are known. But my African friends think my ardent support for this is hypocritical. One of my favorite commentators, Joy Reid of MSNBC, last night echoed that sentiment. They’re all wrong.
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GoodvBad

GoodvBad

Africa, make no mistake: abstaining from morality is immoral. Serious moves afoot to boycott those African countries that abstained from demanding that Russia withdraw from Ukraine. This includes South Africa which by abstaining from this historic vote condemns its own courageous struggle for democracy.

The majority of African countries, as with the majority of countries worldwide, voted to demand that Russia cease hostilities and withdraw. It was a historic and brave moment for the world. The results demonstrate which African countries are weak and withering, and which are strong and prospering.
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Time Out

Time Out

At 10:05a Chicago time, 4:05p London, 6:05p Kyiv today, the air planes flying over much of the Northern hemisphere were exactly as shown in the picture above. The question is how much larger will the blank circle now positioned over Ukraine grow.

Don’t ask a travel agent. The Washington Post did yesterday and miracles of miracles you can’t believe how surprisingly safe and wonderful traveling to nearly any part of the world is! Better journalists at NBC asked consumers and travel investors, and there’s no question that the surge to travel has come to a near full stop because of the Ukrainian war.
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