This blog started as a way of keeping friends up-to-date with Zambian life but it now also helps generate money for the poor here in Chikuni. If you like what you read please click on an ad to help the people of Chikuni.

Friday, 30 September 2011

THE Holiday

It's a long way down from the bridge to the Zambezi!There is a noise, a bit like a whimper that very few people on this earth have heard me make. As I stood on the bungee platform, one such whimper escaped me as I really, really, no REALLY wished I wasn’t so damned adventurous! Prior to this moment, I spent many weeks looking forward to this very thing, grinning at the prospect of this rarest of rare opportunities. But now all that’s going through my head is “oh God, I don’t think I can do this”. I was fine until I got on the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Once there, my excitement slowly curdled into nervousness. The nervousness soured into fear with each step towards the middle of the bridge and the “platform of doom”. By the time I had the harness on and was stepping through the tiny hatch between the bridge and the platform I could feel real apprehension growing. After the minor details like attaching the bungee cord etc it was time to step out and face destiny. All of the carefully constructed words and actions I had planned a hundred times in my head disappeared to be replaced by that aforementioned whimper. Looking down of course is the worst thing you can do so little surprise that that’s exactly what this idiot did. The view was incredible and so real that I was worried for the state of my underwear. An exceptionally quick 5-4-3-2-1 from “the dude” and I was gone… There’s no describing the feeling or the sound of what happened next. I tried flapping my arms in a misguided attempt to save myself in a style similar to “Dustin The Turkeysflap-flaps routine. The sight of the canyon floor and the dark Zambezi rushing up to meet me was immense and I barely noticed the wind screaming in my ears as I feel like a stone for 111m before being yanked back up by the bungee cord. The rest of the ride was boring in comparison but included another 90m fall, some punching of air with my fist and more than one “wooohoooo”. As soon as I got back on the bridge all I wanted to do is jump again of course. Some people just never learn…

Garry the friendly girafeBefore all that though, I had a fantastic safari in neighbouring Botswana at Chobe National Park. The park has over 120,000 elephant as well as lions, giraffe, leopard, crocodile, zebra, buffalo, hyena, jackal, shed loads of beautiful birds and all manner of cute doe-eyed lion fodder. Speaking of which, we saw a pride of lions only a couple of meters away from us early on the second day. There were maybe 12 of them in all and they walked right past the front of the car on their way to finding shade to snore the day away. Amazing! We also got mock-charged by a pregnant elephant mom (another underwear endangering experience), we had a night safari and saw so many beautiful animals that no words will never do them all justice. While the lions were the highlight, I loved watching the scaredy-cat zebra, the majestic elephants and the inquisitive giraffe the most. Chobe is an excellent place to do a safari, especially at this time of year because all the animals are concentrated near the Chobe River because that’s one of the only sources of water now. So you can see loads and loads and loads of stuff all in a very small area.

Aside from the big activities, being in Livingstone was a lovely change from Chikuni. It was a chance to live a little bit of city life. I had fantastic pizza at Olgas (every night!) and I visited Victoria Falls again, only this time I could actually see them. If only I could have shoved it over the edge, bastard!I got robbed of lunch (and then stalked) by aggressive quick-eyed thieving bastard baboons. I blagged my way into posh hotels and then got ambushed by the twilight zone when Chikuni people showed up unannounced in one such hotel. I watched the sun setting over the Zambezi and disappear behind Zimbabwe while drinking the first cocktail I’ve had in a year. Bliss! At the end of it though, I was really looking forward to returning to my village. Big City David seems to have died a death to be replaced by Village David.

Despite all the fantastic experiences I had while being in Livingstone, these experiences won’t be the highlight of my time in Zambia. Instead it’s the low key experiences that mean the most to me. Saying goodbye to new friends, little kindnesses shown to me and spending all night giggling like a school girl all mean far more to me than beautiful animals, shear terror/adrenaline or nearly drowning in the Zambezi. Perhaps I’m getting sentimental in my old age…

Your adrenaline junkie in the middle of nowhere

1 comment: