Saturday, September 26, 2009

9 days in bush gone - 3 more to go

I am on Internet earlier than expected because we have a layover in Victoria Falls waiting for the next flight to our last lodge. I wanted to take the last shuttle to the next camp just so I could use the Internet and let you all know we are safe and sound. Having a great time. This post will be just a jumble of thoughts. The BEST thing that has happened so far is that we got stuck in mud in the Delta at night time!! Last night actually. But first let me tell you that the first day at Wilderness Camp, we started out at 6:00 for an early game drive and at 6:30 we had a broken fan belt - they came and fixed that and we were off again only to have the gears off and the fan belt broke again. This time they brought another vehicle. Only 2 hours lost but that was OK because we finally got to see lions!! Seven in all. Two groups of 3 females and 1 male! Woo! Hoo! Lions are scarce in this part of Africa. Anyway, later on we had to stop and have the guide change a tire. Exciting times! Then last evening, we went for our Sundowner drive where we drive a while then stop and see the sundown. In the Delta you drive on sand and cross various strips of water - some shallow, some deep. Crossing one of those, we got stuck!! Water was about waist deep - up to the highest step getting into the Land Rover. It was just beginning to get dark. The guide called for a rescue vehicle who started out for us and THEY had a flat tire!! By the time it was totally dark they arrived - tried to pull us out with a rope but that didn't work so they backed another vehicle to us and we transferred over and drove back to camp. What an experience! We all loved it!! Highlight of the trip!! We have seen elephants, giraffes, millions of Impala, hippos, all kinds of birds, zebras, other antelope, some endangered species and wild dogs which are very scarce and few get to see. We have stayed in various lodges, some luxurious down to the tented cabin we just came from in Wilderness. Nine days with generator electricity which works most of the time but is not on all of the time, no newspapers, internet, phones, TV (except African TV which is a campfire) ....Has been great but we have NO idea what is going on in the world. This morning we rose at 5:30 and left camp at 6:30 - drove an hour in the Land Rover in light rain to the landing strip (NOT an airport), Ben and I were on the 5 seater Cessna (flown by a woman) to the Kasane Airport (real airport). From there we borded a bus to the Botswana border - got off the bus and did the passport thing - back on the bus for ONE minute to Zimbabwe - off the bus for the visa thing. Then we walked across the border to get on another bus (new rules - busses can't cross border) Then an hour ride to Victoria Falls. We will then take an hour flight in a small plane possibly a 3-seater (!) to a landing strip and another hour ride in land rover to our camp. THIS camp has rooms so remote they will DRIVE us to our rooms at night. Before now, we have been walked to our rooms by a guide because of the danger of wild animals. The other morning, we got up to find hippo tracks RIGHT outside our door. One night the guide heard an elephant right near our room. Fun times!! Oh yeah, I forgot, not only will we be driven to our room but the guards will all be armed while escorting us to our lodging - maybe tents, maybe cabins. If we rise before dawn, we have to wait for a guard to come escort us to the lodge. This is the WILD!! We are having a great time. Everyone on the tour has been very nice and we all get along. Of course, there are your odd balls but nothing we can't live with :-) And to some WE may be the odd balls! We have been hot in the daytime - one day suffocatingly so - sometimes at night we have to use a blanket because everything is open air. We do have fans in the room if the electricity is working and on! :-) I think that will hold you for now. We will be back in Victoria Falls in three days and will post again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We Have Arrived in Africa

We are visiting with friends of friends this afternoon who are showing us Johannesburg and have graciously allowed me to use their Internet connecton. All we have done so far is fly. Planes have been on time. We got a few hours of sleep in London on the day room. Long flight last night - 10 hours. Ben didn't get any sleep - I got about 3 hours. These friends are keeping us talking and awake this afternoon. Then we can sleep tonight and maybe get on a regular schedule by tomorrow. Unless there is internet in the "bush" you will next hear from us when we reach Victoria Falls.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Reunion

Red-Neck Reading Room

Know how some says something - then another idea forms before you know it a whole scheme/plot has taken shape? We had a broken-down recliner on the "burn pile". Dean and Jill saw it and make some comment that it needed to be in front of the burn pile so it could be "seen". Then Dean said, "If you had a broken lamp you could put it beside the recliner" to which I replied "I have one!!" Our pole lamp had gone belly-up a couple of months back. I also had a coffee maker that had died and a n "ugly" mug. Ben took some "trash lumber" and made a make-shift table. Then we arranged it all underneath a tree right by a curve in our driveway so you couldn't miss it as you came down the drive.

It was all in jest but the main attraction about the set-up was that this was the weekend of the Family Reunion and Jan was bringing "her man" Doug to meet everyone. I wish I could have been in the car when they rounded the curve and saw our Red-Nick Reading Room. Of course, I knew Jan's reaction would probably be an eye-rolling "Oh...My.... Gosh" or "I cannot believe they did that!" Actually everyone at the reunion seemed to enjoy our "yard art". One tried to give me "hints" on how to "preserve" it to which I replied "Oh, it will be gone next week. We just did it for Jan!"