Is No Problem ...
Trails, trials and tribulations of a natural history tour leader
‘Is no problem, Sir!’ - An eager reply by a local helper when the author was seeking advice on his voyagers around the world as a natural history travel tour guide. Yet, inevitably, the ‘no problem’ would turn into a quagmire of real trouble ahead.
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Author: Simon Davey
Publisher: Brambleby Books
Year of Publication: July 2016
Format and Pages: Paperback, 320pp plus b&w illustrations
ISBN: 978 1908241 405
Retail Price: £9.99
Our Discount Price: £5.00
Sample text from Is No Problem ...
The first light of dawn was an hour past. The embryonic day was salmon pink and dusty. The sun, which would soon give furnace heat, was like molten gold as it crept above apricot-yellow buildings. It was far too early for humanity to be abroad, but a small, bristly dog gave a halfhearted bark at my intrusion on his early morning thoughts as I walked slowly past. He stood up, shook himself and trotted off up a side alley in search of a more guaranteed seclusion in which to enjoy the sun’s early morning warmth.
Reality was far more prosaic. We were well over the mountain top when we slowed down and came to a halt perhaps 100 yards in front of a typical GAI hut. Vladimir invited us to get out of the coach and take photographs of the magnificent view while he went and sorted out the GAI.
The view seemed to go on for ever. Snow-capped mountains were tiny and indistinct in the soft blue haze of distance. A discussion arose about those mountains. “Could they be the famous Hindu Kush?” John the romantic suggested. “Perhaps they’re even over the border into Afghanistan.”
“Ah, Simon,” he greeted me happily over the phone. “Do not worry! No prahblem, no prahblem at all. I oversleep, I will be with you in one hour.”
The temperature began to rise dramatically, and not only due to the hot, tropical weather outside. Eventually George arrived full of apologies, and we left for our excursion to Volcan Irazú. As we climbed up into the mountains we passed bananas and coffee plantations. Higher up these gave way to an oak forest dripping with bromeliads and other epiphytes. This is the cloud forest, which is still abundant in the Costa Rican Mountains. As we drove we were accompanied by large Black and Turkey Vultures hanging on the thermals above the countryside.
The second example of strange Galapagos wildlife on Fernandina was the Flightless Cormorant. There was a little colony of them on a single rocky promontory. They sat making strange, soft rasping noises at one another as they re-arranged seaweed on their nests. Instead of wings, they have evolved useless appendages looking rather like brooms for sweeping the floor. We hadn’t been walking long before Bernd spotted an albatross. At first Cecibelle didn’t believe him as we were a considerable distance from their breeding grounds on the island of Hood. However, there could be little doubt that out to sea at least two albatrosses were flying and fishing amongst a large flock of Blue-footed Boobies.
Ours was a tiny twenty-seater Beechcraft 1900 Airliner, belonging to Saereo Airlines. For anyone who was even slightly above average tall, the crouched position we had to adopt to find our seats was very awkward. We had to wait some time while far more important airliners from distant parts of the world used the runway, and then it was our turn. Soon we were in the air and being buffeted rather violently in the turbulence above the Andean peaks.
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Reviews and readers' comments
If you want an idea of what it is like to lead a tour, and be a natural history tour guide, then this book is for you. It tells the thrills and many spills associated with this line of work. Simon Davey conveys this in an easy to read manner which is honest and alarmingly accurate. All aspiring naturalists should read this and be aware of the qualities, knowledge, experience and patience that their leader brings. - Christine Walkden, Horticulturalist and TV Gardening Celebrity
I enjoyed it because I could easily relate to his situation and frequent effective helplessness. I was left wondering - after the Galapagos stuff - whether he ever worked for that company again. - Professor Donald L.J. Quicke, FRES, PhD, Imperial College
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