As a special last night together, we were all taken to another lodge for dinner. It was a very large and very deserted venue, located right on the river. Even had its own sausage tree and “Beware of Crocodiles” sign on the main path.
Before, during and after dinner, there was traditional dancing, drumming and singing. I knew as soon as we arrived that there would be some kind of forced dancing activity... and I was right.
I could just feel it.
No dancing, thank you. If there is one thing I don’t respond well to, it is forced ‘spotlight’ dance participation.
Alvaro asked me if I would rather dance or go quading.
Once the dance fest was complete, I was double charged for my meal.
The waiter had gone around to everyone collecting money for each bill and each time he presented the credit card machine, it failed to work.
I thought I might be the exception to the rule.
As soon as I had confirmed the amount and entered in my PIN, it began to count down from 40. As soon as it reached 1... it timed out.
I had cash on me, so that was the easiest way to take care of the bill.
Once back at our hotel, I got a Scotiabank notification for an authorization for the exact location and amount that had just conveniently ‘timed out’ on me.
What do I do now in times of trouble?
They came to the rescue and were on the phone with the manager immediately and I was guaranteed a cash refund the following morning.
Time will tell...
I tried to put it out of my head for the time being and just tried to relax and enjoy my wine by the outdoor George Jetson pool bar.
... the hardships I face...
To me, right now, this hotel is luxury exceeding all imagination and expectations... but to be fair, after tenting, anything would be. Tile floors, buffet breakfast, air conditioning, pool, pool bar, concierge, room keys, showers... bliss. As if saying goodbye to Keith yesterday wasn’t traumatic enough... more goodbyes hit us all today. Everyone was departing and going their separate ways...
With a very, very heavy heart, I had to bid farewell to the Spanish family. I had no idea that after only spending 3 weeks with them, it would be so emotionally draining. It’s these kind of goodbyes that are the worst.
I found this quote and I love it.
“The hardest part is saying goodbye to a part of yourself that you met in that place. Travel as much as you like but the leaving part never gets easier, especially when moving on marks the end of an era of your life.”
From almost the very beginning of the tour... and definitely over the past three weeks, these kids have managed to steal a large part of my heart. They won everyone over immediately with their charisma and their engaging personalities. They are smart, respectful, witty, entertaining, adventurous, insightful, well travelled and downright cool. Of course, they are kids too and they have their moments, as most children their ages do. Our trip would not have been complete without this family.
I will miss them more than anyone else on the tour and I would like to feel confident when I say that our paths will cross again.
Some of the crew went white water rafting, the Spanish family drove off in the shuttle, and once Lisa had left the hotel... it left only me.
... and I went shopping.
After 3 weeks of hardly spending a cent on anything tangible to bring home, the US currency was literally burning a hole in my pocket.
The craft markets were literally screaming my name.
I don’t know if I could call my experience “shopping,” though I did manage to buy a few things. I exhausted my financial supply twice and had to replenish the wallet. To say that the stall owners were persistent would be an understatement. Just because I inquired as to the price of something, didn’t necessarily mean that I was prepared to barter for it, nor did it mean that I had every intention of buying it. It was ceaseless harassment and eventually I gave up on my afternoon altogether.
Had they left me alone to browse, instead of pestering me to the point of actually pulling my clothing in the direction of their stall, I probably would have spent more money. I fully realize that this is acting out of pure desperation. To many, I represented the only chance of a meal for weeks to come. But the pushy behaviour became too intimidating for me as a single female surrounded.
Back at the hotel, I ventured in to the spa to have my nails done.
Although I sat there, fully engrossed in what she was doing the entire time, I still find myself at a loss as to exactly what she was doing. It was a particularly strange fill... and will have to go again once I am back home. They are uneven, jagged, bumpy... but I have to admit, better than they were when I went in.
My next extreme sport was...
A luxury river cruise.
I sound very pretentious and posh with my shopping excursion, drinks by the pool, getting my nails done and then venturing off to my luxury cruise.
I just spent the majority of the past three weeks sleeping in a sand-infested tent with an ATV chest injury. I deserve a glimpse of the luxurious lifestyle. Whether my credit card survives or not is a different story.
The luxury cruise was in fact, a luxury cruise. Chloe, Ray and I boarded and were thoroughly impressed. The only real complaint that I would have was that there were only 7 of us on a boat built for 50+. On top of this, there were numerous boats drifting around the Zambezi River in the exact same predicament.
Could not tour companies communicate and join forces to provide a more private boat
ing experience and save on resources?
One boat we saw had only 3 people and it appeared to be larger than the one we were in. The boat was equipped with what appeared to be a bunch of mix & match patio furniture. Full bar upstairs, full bar downstairs... and the true meaning of luxury?
... and snacks... good snacks.
I harassed “Captain Incredible” (self-appointed, I suspect) with crocodile and hippopotamus questions. Our big question of the evening was, “If we were to attempt to swim from one side of the river to the other, would we survive?”
Captain Incredible thinks that baby crocs would feed on us.
We came across a whole herd of hippos in the river. The enormous male warned us not to come any closer a few times with his territorial gesture, which is often mistaken for a yawn. Knowing his massive canine teeth could snap us up with the bite close to the force of a ton managed to keep us away.