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Archive for July, 2008

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July 22nd – Ghanzi, Botswana to Maun, Botswana

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I woke up at 7am to go to the bathroom, but my body felt like it was 8am with the time difference so I was up and at it.  I got some breakfast and sat around the campfire with JB, Elizabeth and Gabby.  We were just chatting and passing the time and I asked JB a few questions about Zimbabwe to learn about the situation and how it really is there.  It was interesting to learn about it.  People started slowly waking up coming out of their tents, getting breakfast and then afterwards the people who went on the game drive came back.  I also made time to fix Harriet’s phone.  I have been  the master of fixing electronics on this trip.  The two things I couldn’t fix was Rob’s headlight and his camera, but I have fixed Alex’s camera twice, Hannah’s first camera, Harriet’s phone and other things.  Just call me Mcguiver.


Before I knew it, it was time to pack up the truck and get a move on.  We got on the truck and headed off for Maun which is near the Okavango Delta.  Before we ventured off we first took a decent walk to see some lions.  It was hard to see them as they were in their dens, but I got a glimpse of both the male and the female.  Then we ventured off and now we are on the road.  Since I don’t read the itinerary so I am surprised as to what will happen, I have no idea what we are doing today and I like it.  I do know we will be stopping at a bank in the afternoon as a lot of people need money including myself.  I am going to try hard to get as much US Dollars as I can.  I need them desperately for a lot of things.  I can use the Pulla which is Botswana’s currency in Zimbabwe but the dollar will go a lot further.  I also need the US Dollars for the Visa to Zimbabwe and maybe Zambia and I want to give the tip to JB and Mike in US Dollars but I think I will ask them up front what they prefer.  I don’t want them to have to get charged in exchanging the dollars to rand or whatever currency they need.  When we arrived in Maun we set up our tents, and then were briefed on our trip to the Okavango Delta.  The Delta is the largest in land delta in the world, with tons of wildlife.  This will be the wilderness with no holds bar between us and the animals.


After the briefing the guys and I played some football to pass the time before lunch.  After lunch we chilled out and took a ride in to town.  But before going to town I tried and swap currency with the dude who ran the campsite but he told me know.  When we got to Maun, there wasn’t much open.  It was the weekend but there was one atm, some supermarkets and other shops.  Before I left for town the guy who ran the place also told me to look for a shop called Open Door.  There I could possibly change Pulla to US dollars.  He said even though it was the weekend that it should still be open.  So I was on a mission to find that place as well as money.  When I first got off the truck I tried to go to a pawn shop, but after walking down a shady alleyway I took a detour in to town.  I went to the ATM machine, and once I realized I could take money out, so I ran and happen to find Open Door.  Even though the sign said it was closed, the security guard said I could come back and he would let me in.  So I had to run all the way back to the bank, had to wait online, kept it quiet so others wouldn’t run with me, then I ran all the way back to open door.  When I got to Open Door, the guard let me in but the lady at the first teller booth refused to do it for me claiming that her money was counted already.  The other lady overheard me and then I told her that I had no money left and was leaving for Zimbabwe and needed US Dollars.  She said ok and changed the money for me.  The rate was terrible and I think I lost about 25 US with the conversion but having US Dollars is crucial in Zimbabwe.


After I got my money I walked back and went to the Supermarket to buy water for the Delta.  I bought chips, booze and a 5 liter bottle of water.  When we got back to the campsite, we chilled out till dinner, had some pre-dinner drinks.  Dinner was great as usual and then it was time to head to the bar.  There were a lot of other trucks at the campsite and the bar was jumping.  I ended up having a great night with the gang that ended with me getting pushed in the pool and then Hannah and I danced around the campfire like tribespeople to stay warm.  Tomorrow would be an early morning as we were off to the Delta.

July 21st – Windhoek, Namibia to Ghanzi, Botswana

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Today we ventured off nice and early from the hostel for our fairly long drive to Botswana.  We stopped in the morning to pick up some supplies and I wanted to change all of my Namibian dollars to rand or some other currency that would be accepted in the remaining countries I would visit.  When I went to the bank I took out 500 Namib dollars and then wanted to change it back Hannah and Harriet had beaten me to the punch and changed all of their Namib dollars and the bank had run out of rand.  Now I was on a mission to get creative and try to change my newly acquired 500 Namib dollars which would be virtually useless out of Namibia.  Hannah and Harriet had already gone to the second bank to try and change the rest of their money, so I had to look elsewhere.  I got creative and went to the Supermarket where I alot of tourists come through and often use rand.  So I asked a manager if she could chnage 500 namib dollars in to rand.  After some talking back and forth she handed me 400 rand and the rest in Namib dollars.  This was perfect since I still needed to buy some water and supplies.  For 3 days we would be in remote parts of Botswana away from society, cell phones, and everyone.  The Okavango Delta is one of the highlights of the trip where we chill out and enjoy the nature arround us.  I have already decided to save my money for Victoria falls and all the great activities they offer.


After I exchanged money the way it is done best in Africa, on the black market, I bought 10 bottles of 1.5 litre bottles of water, chips and two six packs of Savanna Dry my favorite.  We will need a lot of water since in the Delta will not have access to anything.  There I will have an opportunity to take some more bush BM’s and use my no rinse shampoo and soap, or just bath in the Delta and water around us.


We arrived at the Border a little before lunch time and both the departure from Namibia and the arrival in Botswana went very smooth and that is too much stamps in the passport.  Botswana is my 38th country!  Zimbabwe will be 39th, and depending on what I do and how I go home Zambia or Qatar or both will be 40 or 41.  Right now I am thinking about trying to refund my Safari to Kruger National Park in South Africa, try to refund my extra ticket back home and just use my original ticket home and get home 3 days earlier than I would have for the extra rest and work.  Since I am now going to California to visit Sarah I need to take care of some things back home before school, namely post graduate job applications and sending out resumes and getting transcripts and whatnot from UMass and probably Cooley.  I really hope that most jobs won’t require transcripts from Cooley.  I did so poorly there for my one year, that I would much rather have the transcript from UMass and Touro together as they would both be very nice to look at.  Both have high GPAs and rankings.


We arrived in Tautona Lodge in Ghanzi just after sunset so Rob and I quickly got the tent up, I did some unpacking of the truck as it was my turn to do so with Frank, the teacher from Germany and then I ran in to the shower.  When I shower I want to be first, so its hot and delightful.  My goodluck of taking warm showers continues and the streak has now reached 4 consecutive warm showers.  After my shower, I got dressed, took out my sleeping bag and pillow and stuck it in the tent, which I have to myself since Rob stays with Carolina in her tent with Alex and then went to the campfire.  We all sat along the campfire waiting for this tribal dance.  The dance was interesting but clearly geared at tourists and furthermore you could see them passing around a “peace pipe” to help them with the dancing.  I guess that is why the lead guy was in such a trance.  I took some good photos in the dark.  I have learned how to use this camera and it is a great camera.  I will buy canon’s the rest of my life.  They are amazing pieces of machinery, durable and work well, knock on wood.


I made it an early night since I would have the chance to sleep in a bit.  Since I wasn’t doing the game drive, I could wake up as late as 830am.  Oh we also lost an hour in Botswana as they turn the clocks up one hour.

July 20th, 2008 – Etosha National Park to Windhoek, Namibia

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia and with only 2 million people the capital I believe has 200,000 people, where the rest of them are I have no idea I certainly haven't seen that ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 19th, 2008 – Etosha National Park, Namibia

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Today we woke up early to eat a quick breakfast and load up the truck for morning game drive.  Truthfully it wasn't all that good.  We saw a few new birds and some male versions ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 18th, 2008 – Himba Tribes to Etosha Nature Reserve

Monday, July 28th, 2008

We got up at a reasonable time and it was time to head to Etosha Nature Reserve the second largest reserve in Africa only to Serengeti in Tanzania.  We first stopped in a town called ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 17th, 2008 – Spitzkoppe to Himba Tribes

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Today the drive was a little long and we got to the campsite near where the Himba tribes live around lunch time.  Hank, Jele, Rob and I played a version of handball, but using a ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 16th – Spitzkoppe, Namibia

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Spitzkoppe is a rather large mountain in Namibia but not the tallest. Our first stop was the supermarket for an hour.  I decided to head to the internet shop to get my last licks in ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 15th – Swakopmund, Namibia

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I woke up at like 8am after being woken up mainly times throughout the night apparently because I was snoring so much.  Oh well, thanks mom and dad for that one.  I had a quick ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 14th, 2008 Solitaire, Namibia to Swakopmund, Namibia

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Rob didn't really snore that much and before I knew it I was being kicked in the head by Mike along the outside of the tent to "wakie wakie."  Today we had our journey from ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 13th 2008 – Namibia

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Today we got up extremely early yet again.  This was the earliest morning yet.  5am.  We had to get up so early because we were going to hike up Dune 45 about 45 kilometers away ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 12th, 2008 – Fish River Canyon to Sesriem, Namibia

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Today it was a real long drive.  The drive would take us over 10 hours and was approximately 600 kilometers from Fish River Canyon to Sesriem.  I got to sit in the front, which is ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 11th, 2008 – Orange River to Fish River Canyon

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Today was first started our day with a nice canoe trip down the orange river.  We had to hop on the back of a truck like cattle and were driven 8 kilometers away to the ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 10th, 2008 – Cederberg Mountains to Near border between SA and Namibia

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

I got officially was up at 4am but got out of the tent around 545am to get some food and wake up.  I gathered up my limited belongings and headed inside. Because everyone was showering ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 9th, 2008 – Cape town, South Africa

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Today I woke up nice and early as it was time to get to the departure point for my tour the second time around.  I got up at 7am and most of my stuff was ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 8th, 2008 – Cape Town, South Africa

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
Today is officially my last full day in Cape Town, South Africa.  The night before I had to switch rooms since a large group of Americans were coming to invade on our peaceful hostel.  Sophia and I moved in to ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 7th, 2008 – Cape town, South Africa

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
Today I had to wake up early yet again for a tour.  I decided to do a Township tour which is basically a tour around the poorer and segregated areas of Cape Town.  The tour picked us up at half ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 6th, 2008 – Cape Town, South Africa

Monday, July 7th, 2008
I woke up today after only a few hours sleep, gathered the rest of my stuff I hadn't packed up the day before and went downstairs and talked to this guy who worked at the hostel.  He got me a ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 5th – Cape town, South Africa

Saturday, July 5th, 2008
Today was my last full day in Cape town. My stay would be short and sweet, and I wish I had more time, better weather and more nights to experience the great night life that Cape Town has to ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 4th – Cape Town, South Africa

Saturday, July 5th, 2008
I woke up bright and early at 815am because I really had to go to the bathroom and I had to find out when my tour to the famous Robben Island was.  Since I couldn't find any of my important ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 3rd- Cape Town, South Africa

Saturday, July 5th, 2008
At the airport it was all hustle and bustle.  People were running around, trying to checkin and in the midst of it all i managed to lose my second item, my walking stick!  I think I lost it from the ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 2nd, 2008 Abu Dhabi, UAE

Friday, July 4th, 2008
I woke up at 1035 am still feeling tired.  I had probably overslept and was feeling drowsy and groggy from the benedryl I took last night.  I hung out in my room for a little while and then decided to ... [Continue reading this entry]

July 1st, 2008 – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Friday, July 4th, 2008
I arrived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates at approximately 12am or a little after so technically July 1st, 2008.  I had no hotel reservation and hence no where to go so I was taking it easy.  I walked around ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 30th, 2008 – Last Official Day in India, Delhi to Mumabi to Abu Dhabi, UAE

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Sarah's flight was at 5am, mine at 1155am, but since I am such a mench I said I would go with her to the airport and just wait for my flight.  When we got to ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 29th, 2008 – Delhi, India

Friday, July 4th, 2008

I got woken up by Vikash, our trusty tour guide from day 1 at around 450am.  He wanted us up and at em before the train got to delhi, ready to go.  The train wouldn't ... [Continue reading this entry]

June 28th, 2008 – Dharamsala to Delhi, India

Friday, July 4th, 2008

I stayed at Sarah's the previous night and got out of bed at 10am.  It was a good feeling to have nothing to do, with school being over.  To kill the time before our departure ... [Continue reading this entry]