But neither went off. The batteries died overnight on one, and I didn’t actually switch the second on.
At 6:12 AM, there was a “Good Morning!” knock on the door. We were still sound asleep. Shit. A panicked rush to stuff the last minute stuff (including last night's laundry) in the suitcase; no shower, no toothbrushing, no shaving, no hitting the bathroom, no nothing. We JUST made the truck at 6:29 AM, hoped in and drove off, to the derision and amusement of some. Rimson was kind enough to hold us back some breakfast, so at least we had something to eat. I was able to pee about 15 minutes down the road when they stopped for an ATM, and I shaved at lunch. We felt like idiots. But it got worse.
We got to Kasane (just outside Chobe) at 11:00 AM, just in time for lunch, and Karen couldn’t find her wallet. Now, the way we travel, there’s never more than $50 in cash and one credit card in either Karen's of my wallet at any given time, so a wallet loss is annoying but inconsequential. Karen had 300 Pula, about $35, and her Visa card. We asked our guide and driver to call back, and sure enough, in our mad rush to get out of the hotel, we left her small (black) wallet on a (black) table. Never noticed it in the rushed last sweep of the room. Frustrating part was that if we had noticed it missing 1 hr earlier, we could have had it sent up on another Adventure truck from another company who was headed our way. No matter. We got them to cut up the card and let them keep the cash.
Getting to Kasane did feature some unexpected stuff: the first intensive agriculture we have seen since leaving South Africa. They grow huge swaths of sorghum up here, and put it in silos that are oh-so Albertan.
|Fields of sorghum|
|Grain elevators are grain elevators wherever you go|
|Mongeese looking for scraps|
|Chobe Park entrance|
|The park and the river|
|Impala at the river|
|Elephants and... a houseboat? Yes, you can do that here.|
|VERY cool bird. He fishes by opening his wings...|
|...creating a shadow the fish swim into.|
|Close encounters of the elephant kind|
|A close up|
|How we got the close up|
|Mom & 2 kids|
|Karen watches them saunter by|
|Kid in a hurry to catch mom|
|Getting a drink from mom|
|I certainly hope he's yawning|
|Heffalumps and woozles|
|Hitching a ride|
|Drinking in stereo|
|More close encounters with elephants|
|Here's looking at YOU, kid|
|A mess o' elephants|
|Everyone enjoys a good wallow|
|Why elephants can wallow, but I can't|
|At one point, we counted 50 elephants on the plains|
|Giraffes in the forest|
|Off we go...|
|Not a small river|
|Water monitor lizard|
|A swallow, hitchhiking on our boat|
|The classic Cape Buffalo and Egret photo|
|Elephants in the sunset|
|On a charge|
|Face to face, complete with trumpeting|
|Still mad. Still trumpeting|
|And the sun sets|
I also wasn’t a fan of the 4x4 truck we used, as the canopy on it seriously restricted views in the back rows where we sat. If the animal was within 20’ of the truck, it was fine, and fortunately, that’s where many of them were.
After dinner, we tried to get on line to cancel the lost Visa card. The ‘net was not working at the hotel – not really a surprise. The staff really had no idea why it wasn't working nor when it would be back up. Welcome to Africa.
Tomorrow: another country, and a waterfall.
Today’s Africa Travel Tip: Pap
A staple of the diet in southern Africa is Pap, also called mieliepap or ugali or sadza or phaletshe. It’s a stiff porridge made with maize flour. It looks like mashed potatoes but tastes mostly like nothing. However, put a sauce on it, and it tastes like the sauce (though still has the consistency of thin cement about to set). It is an acquired taste that I never managed to acquire mostly due to the texture; Karen on the other hand, thought it good. Visiting the Himba, we took them bags of maize flour. Our truck team literally grew up on pap, eating it 3 times a day when they were kids. It’s not unusual for people to eat pap with their fingers, even with sauce on it.
Another dietary staple of southern Africa is a chakalaka sauce. Essentially a tomato sauce flavoured with herbs and a curry-style flavor, it can be served spicy or mild. It is commonly served on pap or as a side dish, and it is quite good. I consulted with Rimson, the chef on out truck team, and he told me he used the boxed chakalaka spice powder from Robertsons; I bought 2 boxes to bring home as a souvenir of Rimson’s cooking.