Sunday, December 27, 2009
But all in all, a beautiful country. Chaz and I have been getting around pretty well, going back and forth between hitchhiking and taking combis (minibuses.) Truly a land without fences, this is what I imagined Nepal to be like: untamable mountains, quaint hillside villages, and simple mountain herders.
Started off by going to Semonkong - home of the Maletsunyane Falls.
Which of course being in the nature of the universe, contains the world's highest (Guiness World Record holder,) of the largest absail in the world, at over 200meters! Basically, imagine repelling off of Victoria Falls.
Needless to say.....Here's me practicing:And then getting lowered into position. A friend that we spent a lot of time with, Andre, decided to abseil with me. He went first, and got some GREAT photos of me scaling the waterfalls, but unfortunately he hasn't emailed them to me yet. Keep in mind, this valley you see is about 230 meters deep. After this, we trekked through the mountains of northern Lesotho, including the larger city of Butha-Buthe (durka durka durka!) And we made our way to Sani Pass, home of Sani Top Chalet - containing Africa's highest Pub, on Christmas Eve.
After this, we HIKED down the mountain, about 8k. Took two hours. My calves still hate me. And then we entered South Africa!
And yesterday we reached Durban. And now, we'll be on our way to St. Lucia very soon, followed by Maputo, Mozambique.
So, to finalize in fun:
Fried and cooked Chicken Feet? Delicious...mostly.
And if you've ever wondered what Santa does the day after Xmas? Here's your answer. He stops his sleigh by Sani Top, Africa's tallest Pub, and gets wicked pissed. Hey, the man's worked all night - he at least needs a drink!!! photo taken the morning of the 26th.
Until next time.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So yes, I am still alive. For the moment. It took two days to hitchhike with chaz all the way to Maun, Botswana, but we did it. On the verge of the Okavango Delta, its truly a sight to behold. But pictures are worth a thousand words, arent they? So heres a couple thousand words. So everyone knows, I'm currently housed up with another Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana (Gaborone) We're stealing some wireless from a neighbor, so thats how this is all possible.
This is me, in the Okavango Delta. We camped IN the delta for two days. Didn't really see much wildlife, but the view was a blessing all the same. Hippee!!!
Here is Chaz and I in our Mokoro, which is the local term for a dug out canoe. Im the one with the stick, I was Actually (read: REALLY) taught how to drive/steer these things. and let me tell you - its MUCH harder than you think. No wonder all the boatsmen look like they can benchpress a VW. We're filtering our own water in this photo, since that water has things in it that nightmares are made out of. No one tell my mother we went swimming in it. Note to self: Check for Bilharzia.
Sunset in the Delta from our Boat. Wideangle shot. No other words.
And for added pleasure, I'll give you all one last picture of me on my boat! Ahoy mateys! Theres sure to be plenty of plunder this-arr way! Somalia, here i Come!!!
In the next 12 hours, I will leave Botswana, and head for Lesotho via Kimberely, SA. After that, its Durban, heading up into coast into Swaziland. If alls well, I should be hitting Mozambique by xmas.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Early wednesday morning, Chaz and I will set out, and attempt to Hitchhike into Botswana. Our first goal will be to reach the Botswanian city of Maun, very much near the border of the Okavanga delta. if the local backpackers has internet - i'll try to get on for an update.
For those that already don't know, I've decided to write a book about this trip. Over the course of the next 5/6 months, I'll attempt to drink 100 bottles of wine, and keep the corks. I'll make a record of what i drank, how it tasted, where I was, and who i was with. We have already begun, with my last night at CCF
Bottle #1, Golden Kaan, a 2008 Pinotage Red, from South Africa. Drank at CCF with Kate, Rob, Matt, Gail, and James.
1 down, 99 more to go. The book with be titled "100 Corks to Cork," Since Cork Ireland will hopefully be the last stop.
Cheers everyone. And yes, I have a copy of my favorite adventure book with me, The Hobbit.
Nick, December 8th 2009, 4:00pm local.
"It's a dangerous business... going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." - Bilbo Baggins
Sunday, December 6, 2009
So the first month or so, Chaz and I planned on borrowing a friends car, and traveling with her around Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Mozambique. Unofrtunately, this feel through.
We received a phone call last night from our friend with the car that we were going to travel with - she recently learned that her brother has some sort of brain tumor, and she's flying back to london to see him. Meaning, she's already back.
Zoom in on the next three days of Chaz and I cranking out couchsurfing requests and looking for PC volunteers from all over.
I'll be heading up to CCF for one last visit. Dropping off a few last things like my laptop, but mostly to say goodbye to some of the best people I've ever met.
Wednesday is the day we're hiking out to Botswana. Setting my watch.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
And I’ll admit – I’ve anxious. I’ve gone through quite a few things in my life so far, but its quite obvious I’ve never attempted anything on this grand a scale before. Because for the first time in my life, I’m experiencing the full weight of stress. Granted, there are reasons. Visas, entry requirements, figuring out places to stay, contacting PC volunteers in other countries, negotiating the Sudan, figuring out the Egypt-Israel-Syria-Turkey route…there’s plenty on my plate.
And now, to show for it, I’ve developed an impressive rash of blisters across my hands. Just the fingers and my palm so far. All the literature I can find indicates a type of eczema, caused by both stress and heat.
Great. Nothing like an itchy plethora of sores on your hands while getting ready…
Peace Corps has us down in the capital almost a week before we’re supposed to, thanks to the national election this past weekend. They would rather have us in the capital and not driving or finding rides during this period.
Which means that right now, I’m not really doing anything. Currently, I’m sitting in my comfy chair in my hotel room listening to Simon & Garfunkle and wondering what in fact, it would feel like to be the last living boy in New York.
Chaz and Natalie are both here in town with me getting ready to depart. Natalie’s mother arrived in a today, Nat will take her out and show her this country for what its worth – Chaz and I are leaving on the 9th, with a car to Botswana. And the trip begins.
The beginning has begun to mold - Chaz and I successfully received our Visas to both Egypt and Kenya. Now just Mozambique and Tanzania... We're heading down to Mariental tomorrow to bond with Eric - and further plan where exactly in Mozambique we're going to meet him.
And oh, at the time of this writing, I've officially finished my two years with Peace Corps. I'm now officially a "Returned Peace Corps Volunteer." - an RPCV. Cheers.
So, 5 days. Here we go.
(Update - hands healed.)