Nairobi

did we miss a bullet? literally, quite possibly

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When we saw today’s Daily Prompt: Close Call, we knew we had to write about two experiences that happened to us while travelling, as told by Mrs WiseMonkey.

Have you ever felt a feeling or an inkling that you couldn’t quite explain? Then it finally dawns on you that it was your instincts all along & that some greater being out there is looking out for you. Bet I am making absolutely NO sense whatsoever at this point but please bear with me for a few more paragraphs before running away.

Let’s retell a story so you know where this post has come from.

Back in the early months of 2013, we were both dead-set on going to Africa. A safari through Kenya and Tanzania is something we’ve always dreamed about and so we booked it. As the weeks and months rolled on, we got our vaccinations, got prescriptions for malaria tablets, even got as far as applying for our visas.

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However, our visas got knocked back because we had applied too far in advance. It needed to be within 3 months of leaving. Maybe that was the turning point. Come mid-June, a few weeks out from when we needed to pay off the balance for the trip, I become agitated about going to Africa. There is no rhyme or reason, i just keep getting this feeling of a lack of enthusiasm to go to Africa – something I’ve never felt about any holiday before. So I have a conversation with hubby that goes a little something like this:

Me: Are you sure we want to go Africa? We still have time to change our minds.

Him: What makes you say that?

Me: I’m not sure. I’m just checking that this is really what we want to do. The balance for Africa is due next week, and we just need to be sure that’s where we want to go.

Him: Well, where would we go instead?

Me: I dunno. There’s plenty of other places we want to see.

Him: Ok, well, let’s have a think and then decide….

Me: Well, we need to decide by next week

Similar conversations ensues each day for another 2-3 days, and for some reason, I recall feeling like a nag but I also remember feeling we urgently need to make a decision. So we settled on Turkey.

I thought nothing more of it until September 21, 2013 – when we were meant to be in Nairobi, we were in Istanbul instead, not realising what was happening in Nairobi. Militants had stormed a mall and were holding hostages and killing people indiscriminately. When I found out about this 3 days later while Skyping my family, I got goosebumps and I wanted to cry! I actually want to cry now while I write this 2 months on. The automatic questions that flew through our heads when we had heard this: Could we have been at that mall? Would we have been lucky to escape or possibly been one of the victims? Would our holiday have been tainted by being in a country where so much pain had just been caused? Would we feel safe anymore or want to jump on the next flight back home?

So many questions where we would never know the answers. The only thing we know is that we went with my instinct to change our plans and were now safe! Close Call Number 1.

You see, this story may seem coincidental or pure luck but this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

IMG_9777Beginning of this year, when we were flying back from Orlando, we had a massive layover in Los Angeles. We normally get a room at Hotel Hacienda to freshen up until our flight home. This time we had booked a hotel at Santa Monica to spend some time by the nicer part of town and we were really looking forward to going there. It had been 4 years since we were last there and wanted to just enjoy the day.

However, as our flight was preparing to take-off at Orlando airport, I turned to hubby and said,

You know what? I actually don’t feel like going to Santa Monica today.I don’t know why but I would prefer if we just go to Hotel Hacienda near LAX like we always do and just chill out. I know we’ve already paid for Santa Monica but to justify paying for another hotel, it will cost us the same to catch a cab to and from the airport to Santa Monica anyway. So technically we break even.

That seemed a reasonable explanation to hubby so he agreed.

It was that evening as we turned on the TV in the hotel to watch the news that we found out that there was an armed robbery in Santa Monica and there were police car chases through the streets with 2 gunmen: with one allegedly loose on foot by then. When we looked up on google maps where this was all happening, it was one street away from the hotel we would’ve been staying at. Hubby turned and looked at me and dropped the remote control he was holding. I was stunned myself. Close Call Number 2.