It was quite a mix in our group of thirty travellers. We were the only Australians and one of five couples. The rest were travelling alone or with friends. Our fellow travellers of previous tours, Budapest to Amsterdam on the Danube and western Canada, Rockies etc were of a certain age, certain class and with a certain income level. I did feel more comfortable with this diverse group in South Africa. Maybe it is case of pay less and get a more interesting, younger at least, group to travel with.
There were four Filipinos, a husband and wife plus one sister who I think was a travel agent. Another sole Filipino male who was probably gay made up the four. I am not sure if he knew the other three before the trip or not.
There was an Asian couple from New York City and a mother and daughter from New York City. The mother was Hungarian born and a bit of a hard case. At 72 she took part in nearly all activities. She was a high achiever and an early riser and still works full time driving disabled children to school. The daughter was a bit strange. I am not sure what her accent was but it was certainly an annoying New York accent. She spoke quietly, called her mother Mummy, yet she had quite a good job and had arrived in Cape Town from Spain where she had been for work. While the mother was early to bed, the daughter used to like to sit in a bar at night and have a drink or two, usually alone. The mother disturbed me greatly when out of the blue one evening she said, 'Someone should shoot Hillary Clinton'.
There was an Asian couple from somewhere in eastern Canada, along with two women from Toronto who were a couple.
There were two couples from Trinidad and Tobago, one once a cricketer for the West Indies team and had played cricket at our MCG, Melbourne Cricket Ground. He seemed impressed that we lived ten minutes walk from the MCG and that my brother was a great cricket fan and has travelled the world following Ashes tours. He was not so impressed with my lack of cricket knowledge.
There was one lass from Miami who joined to tour for the Kruger Park part. She was asked to introduce herself with her name, where she lived and what animal she really wanted to see in Kruger Park. Suddenly we were in a corporate environment as we heard about her work, achievements, that she was a fun and friendly person and eventually the animal she wanted to see. Stereotypes are based on reality. She wasn't much fun and not terribly friendly.
We didn't really connect well with any of those above.
Who we did connect better with were two sisters from Glasgow, one who works on the family farm and the other a scientist in Cambridge. I think they will quite easily turn into eccentric old spinsters. They were quiet and a bit shy but quite lovely.
Then there was the mad Irish lasses, six of them I think. Isn't Orlaith such a lovely name? We had two of them. The Irish were the life the party, spoke with quite strong accents and very quickly. I think four of them knew each other and most worked in the field of medical care. One stood out as being a bit more serious and older and was the type who has booked her holiday next year, trudging through the snow from one side of a Scandinavian country to the other. What fun! She took holiday notes too. They were all really and effortlessly nice to us two old blokes and we loved them. Irish have gone up in my estimation. Well, I kind of liked Irish already.
Last but not least are the two female friends from an eastern Canadian island. Yes, NS for those in the know. I can't say they were my bete noire as they were nice at times but oh, they were difficult. They were only a few years younger than us. They have both travelled a lot together and arrived on the tour after seeing Victoria Falls and had some days in Dubai on their way home. They were not much younger than us and one was heavily tanned, loud and brash, with a voice like a cross cut saw. I'll call her Shazzer. The other a little quieter, but what she lost in volume, she made up with quantity. She never stopped talking, about anything and everything. I will take polite interest in a stranger's family, but not great detail and I won't remember the names of your family members. I'll call her Suzie. I perhaps offended them when I would not add them to my Facebook, saying it was mostly for family. There was a private FB group set up for the tour where we could interact without being too personal. R did add them to his FB. I wonder if they are still his FB friends or he has deleted them.
After the seat rotation policy was explained, Shazzer claimed the prime seat, front left for herself, due to a 'medical condition'. That would be the front right seat for those of you in some countries. The medical condition was car sickness. Suzie could not sit with her and had to seat rotate until the last few days where she just sat up the front with Shazzer regardless. Now, if you suffer from travel sickness, why would you go on holiday with lots of coach travel? I think our guide should have not catered to her. I had to laugh, and I hope she doesn't mind me repeating it, but Gattina told me in an email how she stopped a family of people claiming the same best seats on a coach by sitting on the bus step and preventing them from getting on.
Shazzer and Suzie were so helpful at times, offering tissues, hand cleanser, insect repellent etc. But no one really took up their offers. Shazzer was a travel agent and worked in the family bar. Suzie was a service person in charge on a ferry. I expect they both give good service, as they certainly expected it. Everyone else was non complaining, but the pair slowed everything down with their demands for things, especially when things were time critical. Sorry, the coffee is too weak. Can you remake it? Can you bring me some ice? Could I have some garlic sauce? These ones I mention delayed everyone and our coach departure time. Of course sitting at the front of the coach, Shazzer claimed much of our tour guide's time and conversation. I am going to make a complaint to the tour company about one person not doing the seat rotation.
One night after perhaps the wine goggles were on, I said to R, by golly, if I was straight I would reckon that Irish Orlaith is pretty damned sexy. She was very attractive, even if her bum was a bit too big and jelly wobbly. Haha, I can play the too choosy straight male role too!
Ok, this has only had one quick proofread and I see I have mixed up tenses, but publish and be damned.