CHAPTER ZERO Never - but nearly! 0 miles

Over the years, there were quite a few journeys which I almost made. This is a selective list of some of the more interesting destinations, and clues as to why they didn't take place. Of course, many other places nearly featured on this list. I have tried to be as fair as possible and only include places where I genuinely thought I would go.

Lagos was a city I nearly got to visit on a couple of occasions, and it could have been quite exciting there. As it turned out, the company for which I would have done some consultancy decided to send some of their staff to Great Britain instead. This happened on two separate occasions. Another time, we decided not to quote for some work after careful consideration. One major problem with all work in Nigeria is that of Foreign exchange, and the question whether anybody will ever get paid in a useful currency.

Tel Aviv looked promising as a destination, though one with certain political disadvantages. The courses I had attended in Paris had an advanced course in Tel Aviv, but I was not able to attend because it clashed with my honeymoon. Zimbabwe and Zambia were thus added to the list instead.

Malta might have been fun too, but again the problem was that the prospective hosts decided to send their staff to Great Britain instead. Even so, these people do make useful contacts, and I may follow them up one day anyhow. We had also considered a routing via Malta with Air Malta for a holiday, but it was cancelled when my wife became pregnant.

Egypt, you see, is not an ideal place to visit while pregnant. So our cruise up the River Nile is delayed, as is our investigation of the Egyptian Pyramids, until our children are old enough to appreciate it and be safe, or, possibly, until they have left home.

Jeddah and Dhahran offer the closest I have ever been to a trip without it actually taking place. The company had insisted that I paid up front any out-of-pocket expenses and claimed them back later. This didn't seem reasonable to me on a trip which would have been around a month in duration, and the company travel department agreed with me on this. Then, one afternoon, after my schedule had been worked out, the news came that my trip was cancelled. I telephoned our travel agent, who told me that they had at last managed to arrange a float for me. I thanked him for his effort, and then told him to cancel the whole thing. He could hardly believe it. Neither could I.

Orlando was another, though I wasn't as close as one of my colleagues, who had an APEX ticket in his possession before his trip there was cancelled. I nearly got to Orlando on two separate occasions. The first time, some computer software wasn't working, so a new version was sent to us, and if that hadn't fixed the problem, I would have gone to discuss the problem further. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the company, the new version did solve it. On the second occasion, when the team there was being disbanded, but European support was being continued, and a suggestion was made that I might take a trip to pick up any information as this would be our last chance. It was a good idea, but finance for the trip was not forthcoming. Probably the management realised what their morale would be like.

Singapore might have been graced with our presence, but they don't accept, or are rumoured not to accept, pregnant women into their country. Whether this is true or not I couldn't say for sure, but we were thereby deterred from routing via Singapore, a city we would have chosen in preference to Bangkok, given a free choice.


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