An interesting 5 hr drive south west following the Delta to Maun, a one street frontier town. An initial river boat transfer to the start of a long rough dirt track, crossing deep pools through open plains dotted with cattle and donkeys. No other wildlife spotted, but then again, if there was, there wouldn’t be any donkeys left! Only a few mud huts seen until arriving an hour later at a large village in the middle of nowhere. An interesting toilet break here where an attempt to flush resulted in the plastic cistern cover exploding skywards, ricocheting off the ceiling and bouncing off my head! We transferred to 2 minibuses and spent the next few hours avoiding potholes that would have hidden a family of mongoose. No, seriously. They dwarf our own much criticised craters. We spent as much time driving along the verges as on the Tarmac, or what was left of it. A toilet break after a few more hours was abandoned due to the village (the only one during another 4 hours driving) having no water! The bush had to suffice. Ladies in the bush, gents across the road. Poor Nancy got ensnared by a bush and had
to tear herself free. Fortunately no big cats appeared. Or cuts.
Maun itself was a long (about 5km) single street, lined with markets and street vendors and some modern amenities (including a Wimpy!). The ‘Privileged lounge bar’ was a glorified shed, and our hotel was well outside town on the southern end. It was comfortable enough, but really an airport ‘Travel Inn’, a bit of a comedown from Mopiri Lodge, but adequate for our final night.
The last evenings entertainment was interesting. Due to our CEOs failure to research the activity, and our assumption, in the absence of any advice, we all expected an indoor dinner in a restaurant with storytelling, presumably local folklore (as advertised in our trip notes). We left dressed in subtropical evening clothing only to find the event was entirely outside. As the Southern African winter evenings drop to a few degrees centigrade ( we are on the edge of the Kalahari desert), we froze our collective butts off, despite the proffered blankets! We were treated to a lovely traditional meal, and more tribal dancing, which was wonderful. Fiona collected Gilliam’s tip and made a wee speech, tactfully describing the section of our trip under his care as ‘ the good, the bad, and the ugly’. The bad referred mainly to the choice of lodge at Chobe and his singular disinterest in any complaints or request for information. His rudeness to Ruth in response to her request for a toilet stop was unbelievable for a CEO. I seriously believe that his attitude will result in a loss of returning custom for GAdventures. A pity, as we had a great trip round Indochina with them, and a fantastic CEO. The ugly? Maybe I’m paranoid but I’m sure Fiona was looking directly at me at that point!
Our locally famed storyteller then proceeded to regale us, not with the anticipated folklore tales, but 2 hours on the local traditional customs around birth, puberty and marriage. It was fascinating and challenging by our standards, but she extended her remit to include detailed pubescent biology lessons and marriage guidance really designed for adolescent audiences. I mean, we really didn’t need educating at length about normal pubertal changes, including erections and nocturnal emissions, and I’m not talking building standards and exhaust gases here! Nuff said. (I once knew a fairy called Nuff……….Fairy Nuff? Sorry. )
Anyway, having been half frozen to death, we were now seated in a circle round a small camp fire and having been well fed, some of our number began to nod off. Poor Bruce was repeatedly slapping his leg to prevent himself dozing off and falling into the fire. Canadian Ruth was less subtle and asked her to hurry up! She took the hint and half an hour later asked if we wanted her to go on. The silence worked, we thanked her, piled back on the bus and headed for bed. Via the hotel bar and a few Jamiesons in deference to our Irish mentors, Adrian and Fiona. Our American nurse practitioner, Leanne (Leagh-Ann?) set a healthy example by sipping her hot water. as we shamelessly kept the barman busy. Shame on us. Despite our otherwise hedonistic abandon, we survived the night, had a hearty breakfast, said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways, some to JoBerg and some to CapeTown, all for transfers back to their various corners of the globe. Except us, who still have 3 days to explore CapeTown.
Tune in for the next episode of ‘ Continuing Capers in CapeTown’.
Royal Wedding? What,another one? (Pronounced with a broad Bristol accent)
Apologies for the rambling but I’m trying to pass the 2.5 hr plane trip to CT.
Y’all take care now.
Bugger, our Yankee chums have infiltrated our vocabulary, psyche, and probably our minibars.
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