Meet the Arizona Chapter’s New Coordinator: Hugh Randall

Since 1980, I’ve flown more than 11 million actual miles for business and pleasure and I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. To date, this has included from among many incidents:

  1. Racing across the wide Congo River in a chartered small speedboat to get from Brazzaville to Kinshasa, with my driver shouting continuously, “Watch out for the logs.”
  2. Moving slowly across the Moroni River, separating Surinam and French Guiana, on a promised “ferry,” or rather a long-boat canoe heavily laden with bladders of gasoline being smuggled, with me sitting on the top of one of the rubber bladders. Even worse, the engine in my “taxi” for the 140km journey through the jungle to Cayenne stopped dead as dusk approached (more than 50kms from the nearest town) due to water in the gas tank.
  3. Flying over Arizona in a relatively new DC-10, the cabin suddenly filled with smoke. You could definitely smell something burning and stewardesses (new to the aircraft) ran around yelling, “Where are the fire extinguishers?”
  4. Driving late at night from the airport into Maputo, Mozambique, my taxi stopped in the middle of nowhere and the driver got out and walked away.

I’m asked frequently, “Why do you keep traveling?” My answer is that I enjoy the world, inter- acting with its inhabitants, seeing the sights and I’ll keep traveling as long as I can.

Clearly, I survived all of the above incidents and I can either leave you wondering about how I figured my way, but I’m certain most of you would like to know the outcome of each incident:

  1. The boat made it to Kinshasa where I then had to go through a very uncertain, but ultimately successful, process with immigration.
  2. I had to try hitch-hiking and I got lucky. After waiting 30 minutes, a pick-up truck with three workers returning to Cayenne picked me up, I sat on my suitcase in the back of the pick-up and they took me to my hotel.
  3. After a few minutes of panic, the pilot came on and said, “No problem — just a short in the electrical system.” I’m not sure that reassured everyone, but we flew on without incident.
  4. My driver, speaking no English and I speaking no Portuguese, had run out of gas. 45 minutes later, he returned with gas and we finally made it to my hotel.

These are many of the types of experiences I hope our chapter members share as we build the Arizona chapter together.

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Travelers' Century Club