After a nice night's sleep my little eyes spied light to the east this morning so either the sun was starting to rise or the neighboring tent was on fire. Either way I should probably get out of bed. After a cup of coffee I turned on the computer to find it was 5:30 am so I guessed that my neighbors weren't calling their insurance agent.
Breakfast and then a town tour with Sam and Caroline and Oliver the Northern Irish couple. We were going to stop for about an hour while the boys went on a helicopter ride over the falls. I just didn't want to pay $300 for 30 minutes. Besides Caroline didn't seem all that interested and she's good company so what the heck? I'm on vacation and really what would I be doing otherwise?
In 1995 in Macedonia my team leader introduced me to an English helicopter pilot while we were at a party. I'd had a couple of "Cokes" by then and I said "So when are you going to take me on a helicopter ride?" - "Uhhh.... after you sleep with me three times." --- "Well today is Monday. So that means on Thursday?" He just looked at me. I don't think he had a come back to that. He did buy me a cheap dinner, and I never fulfilled any of the preflight requirements so hence never did get that helicopter ride. (helocopter = helecopter or maybe helicopter even) Maybe there is another "L"
We arrived at the United Air Charter at Baobab Ridge about quarter till ten and Oliver announces that all four of us are going in a chopper. WTF?? Over?? I tried to beg off but he was having none of that. It was his treat. We had been together since the beginning and we were going to stay together until we left. WOW!! Just shows you the difference between the British and the Irish I guess.
Pilot and two passengers in the front. 4 passengers in the back. Well after the ride was over all I can say is that I sure got Oliver's money's worth. That was something I'll keep in my memory for a long long time. The helicopter ride was spectacular as well.
I got center front with Oliver to my side. Caroline and Sam were each supposed to get a window seat, with 2 strays getting the middle of the back. Poor Sam got stuck in one of the middle seats for half the trip. The 15 minute flight was just Victoria Falls and the 30 minute flight added the gorge. The strays were just the shorter flight. So two take offs and two landings for us. Sam did get the window seat after the falls.
Back on land. Grins that wouldn't erase we had a soft drink and went on the town tour. I'm sure it was nice but my mind was still replaying the ride over the falls and I was not on the town tour mentally.
On the road in to camp we saw some elephants in the trees and watched them for a while. And then had lunch and reminisced the flight.
Now a little after 3 pm. The final boat ride of my trip here is at 4 pm. I hope the hippos are going to do their dance again today.
|Croc on the Mighty Zambezi|
As soon as we landed some mature (I won't say old cuz we are about the same age) Frenchman stuck his paw out to me. "Hello, I am Rene'" I was expecting to have dinner with Northern Ireland and Sam, but Sam said he had to babysit the solo eater, Rene'. I knew that Oliver and Caroline both wanted to keep the four of us in our own tribe so I suggested that Rene' join us. That way we got Sam. Dinner was nice. It would have been better without Pepe Le Pew (actually he was from Belgium, but I don't know nuttin'Belgium) Rene' had his own agenda for the conversation and it didn't include much more Dominant Male (in his eyes) - Oliver. If a member of the staff came over to tell us something. They would stand there patiently while Rene' pontificated about the world banking situation to Oliver. Never acknowledging that they might be someone who had something to say besides him. We did get some communal conversation in but it was never very long and always self directed back to Rene'. I can see how "Survivor" works now. He's the first one voted off the island. Put out your torch Rene'.
I got back to Casa Sweet Casa around 10:30. Hopped under crisp white sheets and was in the Land of Nod in an instant. Previous days started with my internal clock at 4:30 and 5:30. Without the wake-up yell it would have been 8:30. I stumbled through the morning coffee and breakfast. Said goodbye to My Mates. Sam stopped me and told me what a good time he had with us (it was mostly Oliver who made it all happen) that it was almost a vacation for him. I honestly felt that, that was not the normal canned "Goodbye from Toka Laya" speech.