Sunday, January 3, 2010


I checked my watch – four in the morning. I listened outside. Nothing. Four fifteen. Nothing. Four thirty. Nothing.

Had our pact fallen through? I drifted off to sleep...

“Botswana!” A cry came from outside, an hour later, but the cry none the less. Splash. This was our cue. From in the tent I let out a great “BOTSWANA!” cry, and ripped open the zipper. Hamish and I piled out, still wearing out swimsuits, ran to the rocks at the edge of the lake, “BOTSWANA!” Splash. Splash. The two of us jumped in, joining Chef in the pool.

By this point other campers were poking their heads of the their tents, wondering what was going on. And confused by how quickly the three cheers went up next to one another. All except for Danny and Christoph who had their tent down and packed away. They always had their tent down and packed away. And they were Hamish and I's only rivals on getting them set up first.

Splashing around in the lake, the others came out of their tent, an hour earlier than they would have liked to. But, after all, the screaming was supposed to be at four in the morning. They were getting off easy here! They looked around, saw it was Hamish and I, and grumbled to each other. The two of us would have to be quiet with the mic on the bus (dammit... truck! I had pulled out way into the lead with the bus points by this time. Though some others were catching up) today.

Out of the pool we got dressed, broke down the tent, and helped Chef prep for breakfast – crepes. Those little tiny French pancakes. I had mine with nutella. Delicious. Chef is wise; chef is good.

After a brief stop to grab water we headed to our new camp. It was hot. And for the first time it was muggy, situated against the water. This was never a good combination. Gross sticky clothing, where nothing would or could ever dry.

But there was no time to worry about that, for some of us paid our ninety dollars and headed to the airport to board our hour long flight over the (Oratonga, I think it's called) delta. In the air we spotted a herd of elephants, all number of hippos, and even a herd of Buffalo(! big five = done and done!) When we landed I hustled off the plane. Though i didn't feel woozy in the air, clearly I had been hit with some sort of sickness by all the steep climbs, and sharp turns. We were later told by people in the sister plane, that while they felt ill – they just kept telling themselves, at least they weren't on or plane, as we did tight sharp banks around them.

While we saw animals, and gained an appreciation for the sheer size of the delta, I wouldn't go on another flight like this again. If only because it was hard to get good photos, or appreciate what you saw. And after all, if you can't take a picture of it, it's like you never did it at all.

But we saw buffalo. Still – counting these hippo and buffalo sightings as real seemed hardly fair. If you can't fill your camera with it, well...

At the camp monkeys swung around, bouncing on tents, and stealing butternut squizzers from our kitchen. Water guns were used as defense. And Raymond. Raymond proves an excellent defense. Even the monkeys fear him.

The rain started, and we all headed off to the restaurant for lasagna for dinner. Some people were taken aback to see ground beef (mince) in the lasagna. It never ceases to amaze me how different countries have things so similar, and yet so different.

A bottle of Hunter's Gold was consumed and, surprise of all surprises, it wasn't bad. A cider out here that was good. Hunter's Dry? No good. But Hunter's Gold? Fantastic.

We split into two groups – those that would leave early tomorrow, and those that would leave later.

We were leaving our camp site, and our showers, and our toilets, and heading off into the Delta to camp on an island for two nights. We were entering “real Africa” (if one would like to call it such a thing.)

At night we threw things into the fire, and sprayed bug spray to make flame throwers – hoping that the flame didn't ride back and explode the can.

Every year ten Americans hospitalize themselves by trying to light their farts on fire.

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