You say Dakar, I say Dhaka. You say Oakland, I say Auckland.
It amazes me how these things can happen in this day and age of the information highway. But every once in a while the airlines give us a doozy.
The latest is a mixup involving a couple from Los Angeles who thought they were flying Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and then on to Dakar, Senegal. Their flight to Turkey was fine and they went to sleep on the second leg, thinking they were headed southwest to Africa. Instead, Sandy Valdivieso woke up and looked at the seatback video and found their plane was flying over the Middle East.
Turns out that there was a mixup at Los Angeles International and she and
her husband were mistakenly given tickets to Dhaka, Bangladesh instead of Dakar, Senegal (see photo below right of Goree Island in Dakar, which I'll mention in a minute).
They got things fixed up and were sent back to Istanbul and then on to Dakar. Their luggage arrived a couple days later.
The airline wasn’t doing much for them, apparently, until the Los Angeles Times learned about the incident. The couple was then given free flight passes. In economy.
The story reminds me of the time, way back when before the Internet, when some guy in L.A. allegedly was trying to fly to Oakland, California (a one-hour flight) and couldn’t figure out why two hours later he could still see the Pacific Ocean outside the airplane window. The story goes that he was mistakenly routed to Auckland, New Zealand.
At the risk of offending my home town of Oakland, I think I’d prefer Auckland, actually. Putting aside the 12-hour flight, that is.
I also can recommend Dakar, actually. It’s the only place I’ve been to in Africa, having taken the trip to cover an International Olympic Committee meeting for the Star’s sports department. There are a couple of lovely hotels on the ocean with beautiful pools and even a small golf course with local caddies.
I didn’t see much of the city, although I did conduct an interview with the family of then Toronto Raptor Mamadou N’diaye, who was from Dakar.
The IOC folks also took the media along on a visit to Ile Goree, a pretty island near Dakar with a terrible history as the embarkation point for thousands and thousands of West African slaves. We toured the tiny chambers where people were held against their will while waiting to be put onto ships with deplorable conditions and saw the chains used to bind prisoners.
An awful place, for sure. But also one very much worth seeing (not unlike a World War II concentration camp in Europe) to remind us just how cruel we humans can be to one another.
The slave quarters and the so-called "door of no return" that led to the ships is powerful. But there also are beautiful views of the surrounding ocean and brightly-coloured boats on the beach, plus casual shops selling casual clothes in a million shades of red, green, yellow and blue - and just about any other colour you can imagine.
TOP TRIP ADVISOR CITIES
TripAdvisor today released a list of the most sought-after cities in the world, and the places Canadians are looking for.
The awards, based on reviews and opinions of millions of TripAdvisior travelers, found Vancouver on top, followed by Montreal, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Quebec City, Banff, Victoria, Whistler, Lake Louise and Ottawa. No surprise, I guess, given the millions of folks who live in the Greater Toronto Area and would be searching for places like Niagara and Ottawa and Montreal for weekend getaways or family trips.
Still, it's too bad we didn't get Halifax or St. John's on the list as they're both tremendous cities to visit.
TripAdvisor also did a world list, with the top 25 listed. No Canadian cities made the top 25. Here's the top ten: Paris, New York, London, Rome, Barcelona, Venice, San Francisco, Florence, Prague and Sydney. Three cities from Italy in the top 10; not bad.
For the U.S., the top ten were New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Honolulu and New Orleans. Once again, Minot North Dakota failed to elbow its way into the top 10. Or 25,for that matter.CALLING ALL LOTTERY WINNERS
Someone down in Florida just won something like $60 million in a lottery. Which is an almost unfathomable amount of money.
The interest alone would be enough to live like a king. Or you could try living the high life in New York City.
A story I spotted on the weekend in the Telegraph (England), talked about the most expensive hotels in New York City. Topping the charts, the paper said, was the St. Regis.
At $823 a night, it’s quite pricey. Then again, there are marble floors, Louis XV furniture from France (I prefer Louis XIV myself; although he was a big fan of Ikea), Waterford crystal and more. Probably they have good soap and shampoo in the washrooms, too. And I bet they don’t bolt the blow dryer to the wall to prevent thefts.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal on tap for a fabulous-sounding seven-night trip to Sicily, priced at $2,422.
- 7-Day/6-Night Taste of Sicily Tour, featuring visits to Palermo, Marsala, the Valley of the Temples, Mount Etna and much more!
- 6-Nights' accommodation in a variety of 4-Star hotels, based on double occupancy. See below for hotels included (or similar).
- Includes transportation via deluxe motorcoach, services of an English speaking guide, and all guided city tours as per itinerary
- Meals include 4 breakfasts and 5 dinners
- Early fall in Italy is the absolute best time to visit: perfect weather and less crowds
- Leisure time in Palermo paired with guided tours for the rest of your trip give a perfect balance of freedom and itinerary-based fun
- Visit stunning landmarks in Siracusa, Taormina and the beautiful and towering Mount Etna
- Valid for travel on September 25 & October 9, 2013
- Includes departure airfare from Toronto to Palermo (via Rome) and return airfare from Catania (via Rome) to Toronto, both on Alitalia, plus airport/hotel transfers
- Pricing (rates are per person, plus tax):
September 25, 2013:
October 9, 2013:
For Other DATES or GATEWAYS Call us at 1-855-687-5925.
- Accommodations Included (or similar): Mercure Hotel (Palermo); Hotel Della Valle (Agrigento) and (Giardini Naxos) Antares or Caesar’s Palace (Taormina)
- Includes all taxes and service charges
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is refundable until 5 PM EST on May 23, 2013. After that time, this offer is 100% non-refundable.