Thursday, December 15, 2011

Safari, Cell Phones and Photos

First of all, I want to say Happy Birthday to my dad Larry, who is now the healthiest 70 (10/12) year old man on the planet and my sister Gerri who turned 34 today.  She will kill me when I get home for that!

Well I guess I should probably write an update.  I just arrived back in Cape Town on the 13th.  Once again it was cold and rainy.  If all I had of Cape Town was 10 minute snapshots of when I first flew in I would hate the place.  The weather is more befitting of England than Africa.  Anyway, I am spending my last week at a travel lodge, the Ashanti.  Who cares, right? 

What matters is that my safari was awesome.  There were 26 of us and they were a fantastic group of people.  The diversity added to the chaos.  We had 5 Americans, 6 Aussies, 2 Dutch, 1 Greek, 1 German, 2 Koreans (South), a Namibian cook, a Zimbabwean driver, South African trip leader (a communist [inside joke]), 2 Lithuanians, 1 Danish, 2 Israelis, and a Namibian cheetah farmer.  What a ride.  After two weeks with these people I have dirt on just about everyone it was an amazing time.

So I feel like I should explain the South African communist joke before anyone gets the wrong idea.  Our trip leader was a white South African, Nic (my younger by 8 months).  When we camped in the Okavango Delta one of the meals our wonderful chef (Sofia) fixed us was hotdogs.  She boiled them in a pan that she heated next to the campfire.  I made a casual remark that the best hotdog is one on a stick, a thin black crust on the edge, enjoyed with friends and a little bit of ash on it doesn’t hurt either (it’s impossible to get that nice black burn when you boil a dog, they just split everyone knows that).  Well let me tell you what, apparently that is the perfect way to ruin a hotdog.  What commenced was a literally 30 minute shouting match between Nic and I on how to correctly cook a good dog.  Things went to the next level when I called Nic a communist.  I felt it was the only rational course the argument could take.  I told him that I at least tried his hotdog before I said which I preferred.  He told me that he would never try my way of eating a hotdog because it sounded disgusting.  That sounds to me just like a communist to diss something before even trying it while trying to force your views on others.  Maybe it was a stretch.  He then proceeded to call me a fascist and I told him that he was just jealous that we (America) mastered democracy before his country did.  Haha that set him off.  It was all in good fun of course, we actually became pretty good friends.  Good enough that we have actually planned a roadtrip down Route 66 to Vegas and then to LA where we meet up with another member of our trip, John, who lives there.  Important to note that this was decided once I showed him my pictures of home and he saw my car. 

I think that my favorite part of the trip was probably the Okavango Delta.  It is the world’s largest inland water delta.  We camped for two days and three nights.  Our mode of transport was a mokoro and the locals not only were our pilots but also camped with us and took us on walks through the delta.  I got my chance to pilot one, and definitely tipped it over.  I was by myself when I did that and only after I got back to camp did I think there might have been crocs to worry about.  Oh well, TIA!  On these walks we saw zebra, elephant, hippo, wildebeest etc.  There were no toilets, no running water, no electricity, nothing.  Plenty of mosquitos though.  You really felt like you were camping in Africa. 

Our “informal” last night we had a trashbag party.  It is a tradition of the groups that Nic takes on that on our 2nd to last night that we nominate a party prince and princess.  One responsible and one irresponsible.  Both were Aussies; Tony being the responsible prince and Teaghan being the irresponsible princess.  It was a total hit.  Everyone was really creative and even aged travelers joined in on the fun.  I thought I was pretty creative considering that I don’t consider myself that creative.  One should easily be able to guess who I was.  We had an award ceremony later and I won the award for sweetest tan line, you’ll be able to catch that easily enough.  ‘merika!

So I was looking for my American phone today to grab my sister’s number so that I could call her and wish her a Happy Birthday.  I never found it.  Apparently some customs guy in either Zimbabwe or Johannesburg took a real liking to it.  That said I now have no cell phone.  So when I get home you can expect one of those Facebook messages asking for your number.  Unless I don’t want your number, haha.  Only kidding – kind of.  I feel a teeny tiny bit better knowing AT&T locks their phones for only their sim cards.  If that wasn’t the case I would have been using the phone.  So if the thief isn’t smart enough to google an unlock code then he’ll have a tough time selling it.  Serves him right.  Oh well, such is life.  Turn the other cheek right?

So I have some new information on Gwennie (I’ve picked this spelling for her name from now on, it’s official).  Turns out that while I was gone that she was able to get to a doctor.  The doctor cleared her to play and now it is up to the sports school to accept her.  Originally the coach told me that any doctor would do.  Then I was told that it had to be a specialist.  Then it could be any doctor.  So I’m thoroughly confused.  Here’s what I do know for fact. 1. The school term starts at the beginning of January so it is pretty late to be accepting kids.  2. Even if she isn’t accepted for this first term, I am told that she can join the school in the 2nd term which is in March.  The only downside to that isn’t just that she will have to go to Hout Bay but that she will also have to by uniforms and such for two different schools.  No big deal, we’ve come this far something like stupid uniforms shouldn’t keep her from school.  I will go back to the township on Monday and will be able to see Gwennie and her family, probably for the last time, and we can get everything straightened out then.  By then it should all be sorted out, one way or the other.

I plan on blogging some more since there is nothing for me to do.  I’m really bored.  I’ve done about everything you can do in Cape Town and don’t feel like spending money.  So now I’m just counting down the days.  My next post(s) will pertain to my experiences in general and particular ways.  I’m leaving it pretty wide open so I have some flexibility.

Thanks to my new friend Tony Meredith, policy advisor for a politician in Australia, I have some really awesome pictures.  The pictures between the two of us that made the final count number over 1000.  That doesn’t include video.  I’m not going to spend days in an internet cafĂ© so I can load them up.  Ya’ll will have to wait until I get home where I can leave my computer up all day to upload everything I want.  There is A LOT of stuff so don’t give up on me just yet. 

To end on a happy note, I finished making my movie.  I’m not sure if I had told anyone but I started with about 3 hours of video and compressed it to a nice, compact 13:20 video that I am pleasantly surprised with.  It is simple, and I’m no Mark Zuckerburg when it comes to computers but it’s not too shabby if I say so myself.  It’s GB’s big so obviously you will have to wait about a week for that one.  I’ll put everything on Youtube so that you don’t have to be a friend on Facebook to see them.

Here is a sample of the pictures from my safari, enjoy!

Sunset in Spitzkoppe, Namibia

Cheetah Farm in Namibia

Ethosa ("The Great White Nothingness") National Park, Namibia

Dr. Hesse pose - he'll get it

Trashbag Party - Yabadabadoo

Monsoon at Vic Falls, Zimbabwe

Yum, like me some nuts

...and I thought we had good stars at home

Namibian desert where I went sandboarding, you can make out the ocean in the back

Spitzkoppe at sunrise

Hungry cheetah

Thunderstorm evening of Cheetah Park


Just finished a drink at the waterfall at sunset

Storm headed our way in Etosha

Water Lily in Okavango Delta

Hungry Hippo

The lillies close up at night, this is sunset on the delta

Around the campfire in the Delta while the locals serenade us

Elephant in the Delta

Two 2 year old male cubs in Chobe National Park, Botswana

Spotted hyenas in Chobe


  1. Click on the pictures for a bigger picture, I have no idea why the hippo decided to take up half the page.

  2. Awesome pictures Seth. Travel safe!