How we were touched by a South African angel...inappropriately.
04/25/2008 85 °F
Well! An unexpected turn of events - internet in Etosha! We are on a quick bakery stop on our way out of Etosha National Park and they happend to have internet. This means I happend to down a sausage roll and hash out a blog for all of you loyal readers. Just a side note: DELICIOUS sausage roll. German colonization of Namibia is turning out to have its advantages.
Alright - so much to catch up on. Where to begin? Let's start where we left off....
I promised to tell you how Skanky and Grubby, like a modern day Batman and Robin, saved us from border doom in Zambia. As it turns out we were stopped by a shady policeman for some bs reason or another and they threatend to hold us at the border until we paid some ridiculous amount to pass. Ironically we had just passed one of the many "Stop Corruption in Zambia" billboards about a mile before hitting this "police stop." Anyway, our new guide Annie was getting quite the run around before those of us driving with Skank realized what was happening. After cursing in Afrikans, Skank makes a mad dash to the overly crowded border and demands to talk to the police chief. They tell him that the chief is at the road stop. Nice. So we fly back to Annie who is all fired up and Skanky (barefoot but in a posative turn of events not shirtless) gets out of the car ready for what we have come to recognize as a classic Skanky police block encounter. Usually this involves a bit of yelling, some storming around, maybe a few hand gestures and ends with him giving the officer a cigarette, they share a laugh and we drive off. This time it required a little more palm greasing than a cheap cigarette. In comes Grubby - a regular Livingstone man about town (with decidedly hobbit looking feet). He quickly gives us the number of the real police chief which Skanky calls immediately to explain the situation. Here is the part of the conversation that we heard, "And YOU have these men who do not know the law stopping us as we are LEAVING the country for no reason. Now explain." After a pause he hands the phone over to the busted bad cop and it takes about 30 seconds before we are back on the road. I guess the anti-corruption campaign is making some headway at the senior levels. About 20 minutes later we were crossing over into Botswana by ferry. Note that "by ferry" means we all pile on to a large pontoon and go about half a mile. It sounds much more romantic (and less diesel-y) then it really is.
The next day we headed out into the Okavango Delta by traditional wooden canoe- a very reed-y, marshy, strange part of the country. We bush camped there for a night and headed back the next day. I'd write more about the experience but it mostly involved Colin and I running down to the stream to get water and running back every time we heard a hippo snort. I will never forget bottled water again. Shout out to Erin and Brendan for supplying us with the water bottles with filters. We really put them to the test and yes, they do filter out hippo dung and dragon flies. Mmmm.
We followed the trip up with a scenic flight over the Delta the next day. Seriously, if you ever come this way you must do the scenic flight. It's THE BEST way to appreciate the Delta. Both Colin and I (jaded already) were a little underwelmed with Botswana until we took the flight. Seeing this crazy landscape which looks like a golf course/swamp/free range zoo from above was magical. Ah, Botswana. Never judge a book...
Our Botswana adventure ended with what may have been our riskiest move yet: We let Skanky cut Colin's hair. In the dark. After he'd had at least 4 brandy and Cokes. Not our most rational decision of the trip. It really didn't look bad at first. Of course we were looking at it with a $5 flashlight...looked a bit more, oh I don't know, bowl-y in the morning. Col has since cleaned it up a bit but I wouldn't be surprised if the shears come out again before the trip is over. It was a nice parting gift from Skanky. He left the next morning and we would be lying if we didn't say that we were sad to see him go. The good news for us and readers alike is that he'll likely make an appearance again in the blog. We will be visiting his parent's farm in South Africa and we may meet up with him in Cape Town. And who knows...he's talked of visiting us in Chicago when he's next in the States. Fun for all. Skank - if you are out there - we miss your Mrs. Balls.
Like I mentioned I'm in a bakery in Namibia which means we just finished several days in the northern part of the country. We had some noteworthy camping experiences and I expect, as we prep for our 3 days in the remote bush, that I'll have more to report when I return. Given my limited computer time here I can't expound on the details but I will leave you with this bit of advice: Mongeese love socks and jackals love baked goods. Both were lost to these scoundrals while we prepared out dinner. On a posative note the warthogs in our camp just wanted to hang out. And who's not down with hanging out with warthog?
Alright - must go get water and supplies before heading out into the bush. Quick shout out to our April birthdays: Finn Navs, Dupee (aka: Pat), Dan, Liz and of course Mr. Africa Bush Colin Gildea. Much love to all! Stay tuned...