Millennium Celebration in Gabon
- The following is an old e-mail from a travel agent colleague who
sponsored a Millenium trip to Gabon for a group of South Africans.
So I didn't tell you about our New Year's eve saga. Well here goes.
Firstly didn't sell all the accommodations. So had a loss of approx
US$12,000.00 We were due for departure on 26 Dec and return 05 Jan.
As in all groups there is a wanker, excuse the expression but this
guy was a No 1.
3 days before leaving he phones to cancel as he had had an argument
with his wife. He told me he was stopping his cheque. I already had
special clearence on it since his first one had bounced!!! Anyway, I
play the role of marriage counselor and they make up.
On 26 Dec, our flight was delayed by about 6 hours. So we met up
later at the apt. We all sat drinking, smoking, chatting and
basically looking forward to our trip. The reason for the flight
delay was, wait for it, NO PILOT for the 747. So Air Gabon had to
bring in the 767 and this, to our horror, is a non smoking aircraft.
On arrival, a friend of ours met us at the airport and put us in the
VIP lounge. Our visas were refused. Our friend sorts this problem
out. We eventually get to the hotel at 04h00 am. Meant to leave the
hotel at 09h30 with the hotel bus to get to the port. At the
breakfast table, find out that those who were meant to have had
double beds had singles and visa versa.
The bus from the hotel was not there, so the hotel got us 5 taxes as
we did have a lot of baggage for ten days. Just as were entering the
port, the wanker gets stopped by the police for a control. I sort
that problem out. Then we meet up with Bernard the owner of the
Ekwata resort who apologies that the boat had already left, he
thought because we arrived late we would be late as well. So we had
to wait an hour at the port.
On arrival at Ekwata, everyone was most impressed with the place. Our
rooms were not ready. This was my fault I knew this would be the case
and did not warn them in advance. Then the wanker wants a room next
to us and another couple. Neither of us wanted him there so we
convinced him to take the room that was the furthest away and was
already available. Monday evening starting to wind down.
Tuesday - Sheer paradise, by night time we were dancing on the tables.
Wednesday - In the afternoon, I receive a message from JNB to say
that our return flight, which was a supplementary flight, had been
cancelled. So I start negotiating with Air Gabon as to what to do.
They only had 30 pax booked to which 12 of them were my clients.
Would you believe it but they agreed to pay for us to stay at their
cost the extra 4 nights at the resort. What other airline would do
the same thing. They could have said either you leave on 02 Jan or
you stay in LBV. They were brilliant.
Thursday - Afternoon. Bianca (writer's daughter) and a friend went
horse riding on the beach. My friend fell off the horse, fractured
her ribs and lost her memory!!! Poor Sabine she was in such a state.
It took her a couple of hours to remember things. Could not believe
it when she said to me, "Jenny where am I? How did I get here?"
In the meantime, the wanker spent his time taking photos with his new
digital camera and loading them onto his lap top. That's all he did.
He does not like beach holidays, so why the hell did he come?
Friday - The famous 31 December 1999. Lots of activity setting up the
place for the party. As I had not sold all the accommodation, Bernard
had sold it to local residents and only gave me back half. The place
was magnificent, atmosphere unreal. Disc jockey, great music. We were
already dancing before dinner. We asked to see in the new year at
11h00 being 12h00 South African time. They asked us what music we
wanted, so without too much hesitation we decided on Gloria
Gaynor's "I will survive" thinking of life in South Africa.
Well at 11h00 it was happy new year, everyone up dancing, French
crowd as well. The food was exquisite, At 12h00 happy new year again
with fireworks, champagne etc. The nights was total perfection.
Around 03h30 my crowd goes to bed and I'm still talking to some of
the French crowd when Bernard waves good night to me. I said "Are you
still here, I thought you had gone already?"
Well Bob that is the last time I will ever say that to anyone for as
long as I live. He went into his room with Nathalie his girlfriend
who at the time was 4 month pregnant. Said he wasn't feeling well,
got undressed went into the bathroom had a heart attack and died.
Nathalie came running onto the terrace saying there is something
wrong with Bernard. It was too late. I woke Mauro and then Bernard's
body was put onto a boat and taken back to Libreville. Nathalie was
obviously hysterical and everyone around in a state of shock.
Nathalie left an hour later.
Needless to say the atmosphere was please excuse the
expression "deathly" around the place all through the day. Sabine was
leaving that day, in any case, and just before she left the manager
informed me that they were going to close the place down on Monday
and that we could not stay the extra 4 nights. So I had to find
alternative arrangements for my group.
The wanker kept threatening to sue me for all the inconveniences.
Well, just as Sabine was leaving, a lady came up to me to who was
walking along the beach and offered to show me, the next day, another
We went to visit it the next day, it was ok but the only problem for
the first night was we all had to sleep in the same room. You know
Bob after all we had gone through why not. So on the Monday, the new
place was coming to collect us. Guess who wasn't ready, the wanker,
had to wait half an hour for him.
On arrival they announce that they have another room, great, so we
say the girls in one room and the guys in another. The wanker's wife
refuses saying she wants to sleep with him and it doesn't matter that
all the other guys would be there. So we left them the room and six
of us slept for the one night in the one room. Then the wanker and
his wife decide they don't like the place and that they prefer to
stay in LBV. So I organize for them to go to LBV.
Would you believe that we see the shuttle boat come across and
breakdown in the middle of the estuary!!! Anyway, they stayed the 4
nights in LBV. On the bus to go the apt, the wanker at 05h00 in the
morning says again he was going to sue me!!!!
Well Bob that is basically how I saw in the new year, and believe me
it was not pleasant. It was meant to be the first real holiday that
our family had had together since moving to SA. Never again!
- On the bright side, no more mishaps can happen at Ekwata, since
apparently it was given as a gift to the King of Morocco! I guess
with all the many resorts here no one will miss one less.
- The FFL loves Ekwata, too.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Amin F. Abari"
> On the bright side, no more mishaps can happen at Ekwata, since
> apparently it was given as a gift to the King of Morocco! I guess
> with all the many resorts here no one will miss one less.
- LIBREVILLE, GABON (PRWEB) January 5, 2005 A November 10th report in
the New York Times falsely alluded that His Excellency Omar Bongo
Ondimba, President of The Gabonese Republic, paid $9 million dollars
to lobbyist Jack Abramoff for a meeting with U.S. President George W.
Bush. "I have never met Mr. Abramoff, and have certainly never paid
any money to him or his company," says President Bongo. "My meeting
with President Bush and other US Presidents was arranged through
normal diplomatic channels."
Abramoff, a Republican fundraiser, is under investigation by a
Washington grand jury and two U.S. Senate committees. He also faces a
Florida indictment on federal charges of fraud. The New York Times
reported that Abramoff "pushed to sign President Bongo as a client"
for $9 million, payable to Abramoff's Maryland-based lobbying firm,
Further, the New York Times stated, "[President Bongo's government is
regularly accused by the United States government of human rights
abuses." In fact, in a report released by the U.S. State Department
on February 28, 2005, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and
Labor found that the Gabonese government respected the rights of the
accused, and that it protected freedom of speech, freedom of
assembly, and freedom of religion. Further, the Gabonese government
acknowledged historical human rights abuses in a 2004 white book.
According to the U.S. State Department report, "President Bongo wrote
a supportive preface to the book, which sharply criticized the
country's past human rights record."
His Excellency's Personal Advisor Mike Jocktane takes umbrage with
the New York Times' reportage of Gabon's human rights record. Citing
Gabon's work with former South African President Nelson Mandela,
global peace and eco-tourism initiatives taken with former U.S.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Gabon's Jean Ping presiding over
the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Jocktane
says, "Gabon's current standing and active participation in the
international community is an indication of our country's position
and commitment to peace via effective and relevant leadership
locally and globally."
Further, President Bongo is calling upon the New York Times to
clearly define the "human rights abuses" cited in their article, to
issue a retraction, and to apologize to his country and
administration. "While doing so," he says, "the New York Times should
discuss the extent to which the U.S. has engaged in human and civil
rights abuses throughout its history. No country influenced by
European culture, including the United States, is without a history
of both human and civil rights challenges."