Saturday, July 11, 2015

Flight of Angels


Today started on a high note - after a  run to the river to greet the sunrise, a quick blog post and breakfast, I find myself enroute to the helipad to experience 'the Flight of Angels' - a flip over the Victoria Falls. today my driver is  Sydney - "Oh like the city in Australia," I chirp,   "Yes", he replied, "they named it after me!" I like his style.
The falls from above is as awesome as it is from the ground, but just magnificent is the mighty Zambezi, glistening below like a bright blue rippling ribbon bringer of life and energy.
We are weighed -EEK! There is a weight restriction but even with my bags and cameras I make it but not into the prized front seat - that goes to Zelda from the USofA who weighs nothing and is size zero.
I have a window seat next to Marilyn and Bruce from Melbourne - up we go! It was over in no time but I loved every moment of  my flight of angels - lots of water lots of rainbow moments
Bruce, Marilyn and I get chatting while we wait to see the video that we won't buy. She is an ex South African out visiting family in her home town Grahamstown. I said I was there on Tuesday - she said they were too - small small world.
Free spirits recognize one another immediately and Marilyn and I traded our life story easily. They know Port Melbourne where Sean and Nadine lived. They have 2 daughters no grandchildren but the promise of one soon as their daughter is planning to marry. She insisted I show her photos of my grandies, my lovely sons, my new husband and a bit of an overshare  - V in his heyday - a photo I love!
We both bought the video I wasn't going to buy - I will take Bruce and Marylin home with me and put it with the other DVDs of my daring exploits. My kids will chuck it away when I do my flight of angels for real and I imagine they may watch it and say,"Oh mum! She was such a daredevil."
This afternoon I will walk with angels - the falls on foot!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Chobe!

I was greeted this morning by a huge grin - a set of walking teeth really, "I am Suprise" he said , "your driver today" I asked if his mother didn't know she was pregnant and he told me thAt he was a twin and him mother was only expecting one - he beamed proudly! We walk to our vehicle and I am introduced to his colleague - Big Boy - I am too polite and a little afraid to ask how he got his name!
We drive to the border post - having drunk 3 cups of coffee to wake me up this morning for my early start I need the loo. No toilet seat, no cistern lid, no toilet paper, no soap, no hand towel - it really is just a loo. Big boy should have been called "Silver Tongue" as we are through the border check in no time despite the queue. I am scrutinized and stamped and then directed to leave Zimbabwe and enter Botswana - en route I have to walk through a tray of chemicals to kill foot and mouth and wonder if my "Cajun Shrimp" pedicure would survive - it was not fazed and I arrived pink toed in Chobe.
We were delivered to out boat for the river safari and introduced to Captain O - by now I am beginning to feel as if I am in an episode of Sesame Street with a myriad of characters with comical names.. Off we set to our boat - I say 'our' because there are now 3 of us. I am joined by 2 young American graduates on a trip of a lifetime and enjoying every moment.Perfect company for me.
Captain O explains that we can't all sit on One side of the boat and suggests that I sit on the opposite side to them - I try not to be offended that I was now the counter balance for two 50 K, leggy, tanned and gorgeous Miss USAs.  I tell them that I am likely to run to their side of the boat when I see a good photo opportunity and capsize us into the hippo water. They agree that if they see me heading their way, they will sprint to my side of the boat and save us - I love them already!
It wAs great to share this enthusiasm for life and Africa - they were called Allissa and Jessica - and we were off. We had been on the water all of 30 seconds and we spotted hippo ears  showing above the water. Alissa shrieked with delight - it disappeared.  We saw a 10 meter crocodile on the bank and she shrieked with fear. She had a seizure of happiness when she saw an elephant in the distance and CaptainO was forced to issue a no shrieking order if we were going to get close to the animals.  I shared the story of my granddaughter being encouraged to express her delight and save her parent's hearing, by using a  silent scream. Problem solved. Allissa spent most of the afternoon with her mouth In an O shape with her hand clasped loosely over it.
Ellie's, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, every kind of antelope including one I had never seen before - a sable.  Goliath Heron, Fish eagles and spoon billed stork  all seen from the deck of our little craft.
Lunch was welcome and I discovered how much two skinny girls on a back packing holiday can eat when a buffet is on offer.
We were in a game vehicle for the afternoon with .....await for it ..... Brilliant Dube who told us he had a brother called Clever and one called Limited - this time I shrieked and Allissa game me a stern look. Brilliant was brilliant and very knowledgeable as he pointed out different game and birds - the colorful rollers and bee eaters not forgetting a five legged elephant !!!
I was sad to part company with my two new friends but we agreed to swap photos via email and in true Sesame Street style, we had a group hug and I was delivered back to Big Boy and Zimbabwe.
I am really impressed by the Zimbabwe people - well educated, well articulated, happy, energetic and positive. On our way back to my lodge, Big Boy spoke eloquently of his passion for nature and the bush. He is a qualified safari guide and has worked all over Africa including SA and Shamwari. He decided he needed to settle back in Zim as he missed his family too too much and told me with pride of his lovely wife and two children. He now does local tour guiding and transfers to be near them - I think Big Boy has a Big Heart!
I loved today - a day to file i under A for awesome - a day to remember. Chobe! I WILL be back.




Thursday, July 9, 2015

 So I as sitting at departures at OT airport reading and keeping an eye on the board as I didn't know what gate my plane was boarding at, when this letter appeared next to me. I didn't see who put it there and the Airport was busy - I didn't open it straight away I was a little afraid but it looked harmless and I was intrigued. This is what it says..........

COURAGE

Dear friend,
I may not know you personally, but I do know that within in you, you contain an essence of golden energy that once released will fill the world with beauty. To unleash this you will require COURAGE.
To me the word courage means to have true self- awareness so that you are able to face challenges that scare you face on. To have courage for you may be:
To say ‘NO.’
To tell someone you need him or her in your life.
To speak up even when you’re afraid.
To say ‘YES.’
To have courage doesn’t mean you have to be famous or have had to gone through something terrible that has changed you forever. To have courage is: to be strong enough within yourself to know your own personal boundaries; for you to follow your heart and to fight for what you think is right; to go one way when the rest of the world is going the other, because you know and trust what is right for you. Life is not about your rights or your wrongs; it’s about fighting to find the inner you.
I am sending courage into your life. I would like you to remind yourself of at least 3 things in your life that make you courageous. Start with:
I am courageous because…
Have courage to face your weaknesses and strengths head strong and live a life full of golden energy. As Cinderella says: “Be kind, have courage and you’ll experience a little bit of magic in your life.”
If you have a message to share on a personal courageous moment in you life, please comment below.
If this letter has touched you please write on my blog and then send or share this letter with someone else.
Thank you,
This message was meant for me today as I was traveling solo to Zimbabwe and Botswana (V chose not to come) and I needed some courage . So rising to the anonymous  challenge .....
I am courageous because I have survived loss of the harshest kind.
I am courageous because I choose to live my dreams and find away to make them  a reality.
I am courageous because I can look my fear head on and conquer them!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Festival Fayre

Yes its that time of the year when I sit on my bed surrounded by a knitted headband and scarf, wooden heart, beaded bangles, assorted chutney's, livid green wire bowl and a goat ....yes....and ask my self WTF! The Festival, when all the left brain logic that you credited yourself with leaves your head and the crazy arty side  moves in and takes over - I love it! I love it that once a year perfect normal people sashay around the streets of Grahamstown as if its perfectly normal to wear your dressing gown to town, when everyone suddenly has a hat and men wear their hair in high pony tails. Everyone seems in a good mood and strangers become friends just because you are at the same show. Today was all of this. After a early start from PE we managed to see two shows - the first one at 09H30 and we arrived at the Monument to collect our tickets at 09H23 - hurtled down Beaufort Street, screeched to a halt, illegally parked our car and sat through an hour of fine theatre - The Snow Goose! By 10h00 we had laughed, cried and laughed again! Breakfast next and some much needed coffee which was leisurely enjoyed to the sound of bagpipes, until one of us notices the time - 11H45 - our next show was at 12H00. We were on foot so we jogged ...yes.....to our next venue which was next door to the first one, hence we left the car, and slipped in through the back door, after sprinting across a school field, to be admitted almost immediately allowing us to secure the best seats in the house for Richard Koch's funny 'Conduct Unbecoming' - a selection of anecdotes about the life of a conductor, having an embarrassing name and showing us some amusing old film footage of the great conductors and their funny ways!
So all in all a successful morning - and then we hit The Village Green.
If it moves, bead it - I think that was the theme this year! There were some amazing beaded objects and one day I will own a life sized flock of beaded sheep. Organic is in from natural fibres to organic produce and unvarnished wooden things. I like that its local stuff - a lot of it handmade - so well done to the organisers for not having those fake sunglasses, caps, purses and bag stalls. I like that there is a lot of community projects and I think this year they have had sales training because there was definitely more interaction and instead of sitting at their stalls doe eyed, the lovely African ladies were up on their feet if they sensed a glimmer of interest. I could see a lot of work had gone into their crafts and felt a little guilty paying just R40 for things that I know took them ages.
Pancakes and more coffee and we headed for home and normality - vowing that next year, like every year, we will stay for a few days and see everything including the evening jazz.
If you haven't been yet - get out your hat and let out your crazy side and head to Grahamstown before the weekend.