The $10 Bitch Tax

Botswana is amazing. I think it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen (although...I haven't seen many....but I'm sure I will think it's amazing even after I have seen more countries).

I had (wrongly) assumed that the rest of Africa would be very similar to Madagascar with an equal amount of poverty and an equal amount of corruption. But from my limited seven days here - it's not like Madagascar at all. This is a tourist haven, with a stable government, and strong anti-corruption policy (although not perfect, I'm sure).

BUT - I kind of forgot that for a few minutes and acted as if I was in MG. As mentioned earlier, when I arrived at the Kasane airport, I was told my bag was not able to be put on the plane. It was not to heavy, it was not too big, it was too HARD - and couldn't be squished. Therefore - I was to re-pack in the airport - grab what I need for two days, and then leave a suitcase full of my favorite clothes at an airport - in the middle of Africa - and come back for it in two days.

Uh huh. I'm SO SURE that's going to happen.

So - when the extremely timid airline employee told me this - with a lot of confusion and a lot of me not quite understanding what he was trying to tell me - I guess my bitch on.

I felt like I was in MG - where customs, security, whoever, asks for a bribe or gift. In MG, when this happens, I just play dumb, get confused, make things a little more difficult, and so far - so good. I'm always waived through customs or they just leave me alone. (I may get written off as a total airhead...but, who cares).

So when this guy tells me that my suitcase is too hard (which to me sounds completely absurd), I'm extremely frustrated. I can't just go out and buy new clothes when I get home to MG. And it's another four months before I planned on returning to a country where I can buy new clothes.
I start acting obviously pissed off - and start re-packing. This very polite (and now scared) employee comes to tell me that the plane has arrived and I only have a few minutes. He was timid to begin with, but now with this tall white girl having a hissy fit - he's just scared of me.

I finish packing as quick as I could and hand another employee my bag and he gives me a ticket to pick it up when I get back. I take this "ticket" and bascially assume I'll never see my luggage again, feel like I'm in MG getting completely taken advantage of - and sit down.

Then something clicks inside my head, and I realize that I've made a boy not much older than a teenager scared of me, am probably not making the best impression, and....he's just doing his job.
This isn't Madagascar and he isn't looking for a bribe.

(I later found out that the travel company booking this trip should have told me about this because a lot of safari "resorts" have very strict luggage policies due to the extremely remote locations - which I now understand. I had to take a tiny little airplane that had three pick up/drop off locations on the hour-long flight and then another five minute helicopter ride, and then another fifteen minute jeep ride on flooded roads. It's hard enough to get people there never mind a suitcase. Even my little backpack couldn't be transported and didn't make it to my tent for another three or so hours).

A few minutes later, Mr. Timid-Now-Scared-Of-Me came to make sure I had a ticket for my baggage claim for when I returned back to Kasane. Feeling like a major bitch and a bit embarrased that I acted like such a cow, I said, "Thank you for your help." (Which was all I could manage at the timem...I was still a little bitter about the possibility of losing all of my clothes). He looked up at me - surprised - and said, "You're welcome.".

A few minutes later, he brought me to the airplane, and I said again, "Thank you for your help." and patted his shoulder and smiled. Me acting like a bitch didn't make my day any easier, his day any easier, or get my suitcase in the same aircraft as me.

So along with my thanks and quasi apology - he got a $10 US dollar bill.
(If I hadn't have been so bitchy, he probably would have gotten the equivalent of $1 USD in the local currency.)

Imagine what the world would be like if everytime you were cranky, bitchy, or rude to someone - you had to pay them $10?

And...just in case you're wondering....he was the first one I saw at the airport when I got back.

He brought out my suitcase, asked me to check it over to make sure it was okay. I gave it a quick once over and told him thank you, and that the next time I see him, I'll bring a soft squishy bag. And then handed him $20USD. So...I guess the bitch tax adds up to $30 in my case.

(I finally have internet so pictures will up be up soon!!)

1 comment:

  1. Oh Boy my girl, you can't afford to get bitchy to often.With your big heart you might not have enough money to get out of the airport next time. How nice that you had your faith in human nature restored. Love G&G xxoo