Saturday, 16 June 2007

Tour agency fouls up totally

My unextected day in the Pantanal was a real lucky one. Another early morning trek through the wetlands saw our guide suddenly getting very excited indeed. He then started this high pitched wailing! Giant otters were about.

We chased after him to see these very very rare mammals swimming towards us to check out the calls our guide was making. Apparently there are only 1000 of these wonderful animals left scattered throughout the Amazon, Pantanal and Iguazu regions. What an honour to see these lovely mammals close up.

Today was the day when the agency really did foul up completly. The Aussies were confused as to when they should be leaving. They thought initially it was today, Tuesday, however the guide thought it was Wednesday. He checked their receipt and confirmed it was Wednesday. So in the afternoon, after waiting again on new arrivals that didnt show up at 2.00pm as reported (and again meaning I had no transport out to connect to the Bonito bus)they went boating with the guide. I stayed behind to take the new arrivals, once they arrived, on my blue hyacinthe macaw trek.

The new arrivals were 5 people, three Dutch and two British. Their transport was supposed to take the Australians out (the agency had still forgotten about me!!). They too wanted to go to Bonito and so at this hour was impossible. There then began the most abusive telephone conversations (via satellite phone from the farm opposite)between the Aussies and the Green Track agency management in Campo Grande. The agency thought the Aussie were pulling a fast one and trying to stay longer, but of course it was their guide who confirmed their departure was for the next day. They threatenned the police, threatenned to throw them off the property. I took the phone to remind them I was still there and in need of transport out. They just said I had benefitted from the extra days!! No apology!

Anyway the next morning we left and paid up the fee the agency demand to cover their own mistake. Two days later I dsiscovered a post on the Lonely Planet travellers forum placed by the agency disguised as a traveller there with us complaining of the scamming Australians. I soon had this removed by the agency.

I have never heard such abuse from a supplier to a customner!!

The Pantanal was howeverr wonderful, and delivered far more than I could ever have hoped. It is a very speciial area.