A lucky bid

Within 24 hours of our departure from Laos we heard that our bid for a business class seat on the 8 hour Kenya Airways flight from Bangkok to Nairobi had been accepted. I had never heard about bidding for business class seats. Checking for my seat on the Kenya Airways website there was a tab ‘bid on a business class seat’ that caught my attention. For amounts between 150 and 795 dollars one can place a bid for a B-class seat. I had originally placed a bid for 300 dollars, which according to a ‘chance’ meter indicated I had a slightly below average chance. My colleague upped her bid above mine. Then I got word that our taxes were done and we owed the US Government about 4000 dollars (Axel is drawing social security for the first time).  I immediately downgraded my bid to the minimum (chance meter said ‘very poor.’), expecting it would not be accepted. But it was, and so I had my first ride in a Dreamliner in style, sleeping a good part of the turbulent trip across the Indian Ocean fully horizontal in seat 1A. My colleague also got the upgrade but paid a bit more. It’s a chance game.

Companions in my cabin were few – most of them Congolese traders returning from Guangzhou where there is a thriving Congolese community that is doing very well buying Chinese wares cheaply and selling them for a bit more in the DRC. I had just read about them in the book ‘Congo’ by David van Reybrouck, who dedicated a whole chapter to this trade route. The flight originated there.

Because of our delayed departure from Bangkok we hit Nairobi exactly at the morning rush hour. It took two hours to get to our hotel.

On April 1 we met some of the faculty for this training of trainers, the people who wrote the curriculum and with whom I had communicated by email and on Skype during the long preparation phase of this first pilot of the TOT. Meeting them felt like meeting old acquaintances and we fell into easy conversation right away. And now the other trainers and participants are trickling in, while we are finishing the preparations.

We are using Uber to travel around town. It’s a great invention – we need no cash and we have a record of our trips. So far the drivers have been as prompt as can be expected giving the horrendous traffic jams here, and very courteous.

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April 2016
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