This is the one very cool thing I have discovered today. Looking through another blogger’s thoughts on living in Beijing, I stumbled across a very carefully positioned link to the travel hacking cartel. Link to follow.
Essentially, this cartel tells its member how to gather air miles without ever leaving the ground. So, I have joined and will see how far I can get for nothing. If it works, I will pass on the link and then I too will get air miles for all the people who join through me.
Ok, this picture I have included to flex my storytelling fingers. This is a photo that a young man named Abdel Aziz from Sharjah in the UAE took while he was traveling around Sri Lanka. We met at the airport on our way back to the Emirates. He was trying to find out if there was time for him to say his evening prayers. I happened to overhear and told him that he had heaps of time. About two minutes later, we were all called into the boarding zone. He was the last person into the holding bay and came and sat with me. We got talking and sharing stories about our travels in Sri Lanka. I told him the story of me missing my stop on the very first train I took…
…I had fallen asleep and woke up as the train was pulling out of the station. The man in the seat opposite me saw my confusion and clarified things for me. He called my hotel and told them that I would be running late, then when the train stopped at what was a check point station so everybody and their bags had to get off the train, be inspected and get on the train again, this very kind man sat me down in the shade, brought me water and snacks and told the police on the station to look after me.
That was fine. The train left and suddenly it was just me and about 12 quite heavily armed police. I sat looking at them and they stood quietly looking at me. Two lady officers gathered a bit of courage (I had a very small travel bag…they had guns) and came over to talk to me. I found out that they were in their late 20s and had a couple of kids each and that they had been away from home for about a month. They learned that I had traveled to Sri Lanka to write, that I wasn’t married and that I was much older than them.
A young, pudgy male officer came over seeing that we were having fun and the women told me that he was of a marriageable age. I pretended to be all shy and coquettish which made my two new friends fall about with laughter.
Then I asked if I could take their photo. So, the camera came out and we took heaps of photos, me with them, me with their guns, them with my scarf on, the young man pretending to propose western style, me being arrested, all sorts of things.
My train came and they saw me onto it safely, giving me an escort to my seat and away I went…
Much later in the trip, right near the end of the month, I stupidly deleted my memory card.
Which brings me to Abdel Aziz.
Abdel Aziz and I were talking, as you know, and I told him that I had deleted all my photos. He promised to send me the photos that he had taken. I thought that was a lovely gesture and we exchanged email addresses.
To be honest, I didn’t think I would hear from him again but a few weeks later, I got an email from him with the most wonderful photos of Sri Lanka. They are not mine, but they certainly capture the Sri Lanka that I saw, so thank you to my airport buddy, Abdel Aziz.