End of one great adventure... The beginning of another
So, I have been meaning to write one last blog to wrap up the Africa adventure. But, I have been procastinating a bit, I guess, I didn't want it to end. I am at a place now that I think that I can write the blog to finish the trip. I need to back up here a bit and start where I left off.
Mishell and I spent the last few days in Botswana with the wonderful friends that we had met over there. We were able to go out and do one last bird viewing with Pete, Lyn, Ester, and her mother Marietta. We hit a few of the good viewing areas, took some group shots, and said our thank yous and good byes.. Then Mishell and I headed to the Chobe Safari Lodge to have one last good cup of joe and to check out the incredibly flooded Chobe River. Every year it rains emense amounts of water in Angola and all that water gets trapped here in the Chobe River and it floods everything. Luckily all the locals are always prepared and there is usually very little damage.
Then Mishell and I packed up and we headed for Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Here we spent a couple days at the Shoestrings Hostel, a really nice backpacker style lodge and relaxed for a bit. While here, we HAD to go see the Falls upclose again. Last time we came here in November, it was still the dry season and the falls was spectacular, but now in the rainy season... Holy Shit... You can see the mist rising from the falls from like miles away. In the town you can hear it roaring was well. We headed for the falls in the mid afternoon so the sun would be in a good position for pictures. I didn't bring a rain jacket or anything... Hell the sun was out and there were really no clouds in the sky. Mishell always had her umbrella to shade herself from the sun. Around the falls, there are peddlers trying to sell rainjackets to the tourists... Do I want one - Hell no. As we walk up the path to the first viewing point, sure you can hear it and see the massive clouds of mist rising in the sky, but getting right up to it, oh geez, how incredible. It is beyond words the sight to be seen. Sometimes there really wasn't much to be seen, cause all you saw was a cloud of mist covering everything. As we continued down the paths to the various viewing spots, I started to get wetter and wetter and wetter. It got to the point where you walked along the falls and the mist was falling so severly it was like I was stading under the heaviest rain storm you can possibly imagine. I got drenched. Mishell's umbrella wasn't really helping her either, she got soaked as well. There were other tourist wandering around in full gear and umbrellas and not even walking up the main paths, I guess they were afraid of a little water. I felt that this was a blessing and an honor to get soaked by the mist the falls produced. We took a lot of pictures, but was nervous of wrecking the camera. We saw everything we needed to see and then slopped our way back into town, dripping wet. That was something I will NEVER forget.
The next fun thing we did was deal with the open air market. Since we had acquired a lot of stuff over here, our suitcases were bursting with too much of everything. I decided to trade off a bunch of my khaki safari clothes, a bag full of toiletries.and other goodies that I knew the desperate people of Zimbabwe would be glad to trade for. Mishell had the same. So we packed all of our stuff down to this open air curio market. Now this was to much to handle. We got swarmed by people wanting our stuff. I traded all my things for some amazing carvings and a bunch of other amazing souveniers that I have brought home. These desperate people didnt want to stop trading, they wanted the clothes, shoes, and everything else I was wearing.. After dealing with all these people, you have to forcibly walk away, cause they would just keep hounding and hounding us for everything we had. It is really hard to explain this senario, cause just to hard to explain with words how desperate these people are and the relentless pushing of their trinkets they will do. Even after say NO a millions times, even showing them an empty wallet, they won't stop. They even try to follow you to your hotel so you can give them more... Finally you just have to say NO, ENOUGH, STOP, GO AWAY.... Wow, what a draining experience it is. So, very very sad too...
Then we hoped on a plane to Johannesburg, South Africa and started our 24 hour plane ride back to the states. By the time we did the layover in Jo'burg, Amsterdam, and landed in San Fransisco, I was up for over 38 hours and was in the air for 24. We got to see Greenland during the day, wow, what a beautiful snow covered no-mans-land. Also, was able to see the Canadian Rockies, so amazing. We landed in San Fransisco and Mishell's mother was there to pick her up and my father swooped me up. I had a few very relaxing days in Santa Cruz with the family. Drank my favorite beer, slept a lot and began the re-acclimation to the States. The day after I arrived, I helped my father with some errands and what a culture shock that was. We went to Costco, the mall, and other businesses, mostly to look for a new pair of Tevas for me, I left my old ones in Zimbabwe. I didn't think I would suffer from culture shock being back in the states. But, I honestly did. Just to feel the over consumption, over commercialism, over-everything, was a huge shock to my system. I did enjoy catching up with my parental units and eating some excellent grub. Since losing around 7 pounds for my already skinny ass, I need to eat.
My father and I did a relaxing road trip up Hwy. 101 from Santa Cruz to Portland, OR. It took two days, but it was a really nice thing to come home to, by seeing the beautiful coast line of California and Oregon. Also, going through the Redwoods and then the temperate rainforests of Oregon.
Now I am trying to get my life back in order. Coming home to this messed up economy is not a very welcoming situation. I need to find work. But, I am fortunate enough to now have a good place to live, since my buddy just bought a house. My life is a little upside-down right now, but I will work it all out.
I am really excited to see where I can take this newly found interest of traveling and exploring the world. I plan on building back up my credentials and hopefully get some schooling under my belt too. I need to go see what else is out there. If I can use my re-lit passions for working with wildlife and help out with some conservation and animal care around the world.... I will be a happy person once again.
Mishell came home briefly to see her friends, mother, and her really missed Delta dog and Nimbus kitty, but then turned around and hopped in a plane for Malawi. I wish her luck and safe journeys, I know that she is gunna have some more amazing experiences in Africa.
Now that I am back, everytime I show off the pictures, tell stories, and look at all my amazing souveniers I brought home, really makes me miss that place - my stomach starts to hurt... I had a hard time there mostly. But, now I know how much that place was really a part of me. I think I left my heart and soul in Africa. I am gunna have a hard time getting over such an amazing adventure... Now I just need to plan my next trip...
Oh, I do plan on doing the Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt road trip someday soon. It might be 5 to 10 years before I go, but I am going, if you think you can handle a year long road trip... We can talk.
I am going to miss Africa....