A hike, an accident, and a farm

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August 29th 2012
Published: August 30th 2012
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I woke up on the 4thday of the tour feeling refreshed and grateful that we were able to upgrade to a private room. I don’t know why it made such a difference, because I didn’t mind sharing the dorm style room with the other travelers. I mean, sleeping in a room with 2 people isn’t all that different than sleeping in a room with 8, as long as each person has their own bed. But, it felt amazing.

Today didn’t exactly go as planned. The plan was that we were going to go for a hike first thing in the morning, then go for zip-lining, a quick lunch, then off to another wild cat sanctuary (where I was promised the opportunity to play with 3 lion cubs), then canoeing in the evening before heading to our accommodation.

The hike was awesome. Our guides took us to this beach that seems to be known for the huge sprays that the ocean makes when smashing up against the rocks. If I ever get a fast enough internet connection to post pictures, I will post a couple of the most impressive ones. At times, the water sprayed higher than the buildings nearby. I wore sandals to the hike, and I asked my guide if I should switch to tennis shoes or “trainers”. He said that I should be totally fine in my sandals, which I assumed meant that the hike wouldn’t be very strenuous. If someone tells you that you will be “fine in flip flops”, how hard could it be? Well, we all know what happens when you assume. Let’s just say that it felt like the hike was just climbing steep stairs for over an hour – when I got to the top, I was dripping with sweat. It was worth it, though, because the view was, of course, amazing.

After climbing back down, we headed to the zip line place. It was also pretty cool. There are total zip-lines that take you over a river with 2 waterfalls and back. (Of course, there were more stairs involved. By thighs felt like burning and like jelly at the same time.) The first two lines went without a hitch, but then on the 3rd line one of the Malaysian women on our trip had an accident. The first 2 zips are designed to be pretty slow, so that you can get used to it and learn how to use the brakes. At the third, though, the speed really picks up. She didn’t realize that and she also didn’t see the person who was gesturing (with increasing intensity) for her to brake. So, she hit the landing pad with a ton of power and she ended up breaking two bones in her leg. I feel so sad for her and for her 3 friends that were traveling with her. It had to have been extremely painful, and we were all having a blast. She was carried to the registration area, and then she was driven by one of our guides to the nearest hospital (an hour away). After x-rays we learned that her leg was broken and that she would need surgery. She won’t be able to join us for the remainder of the trip, and she her return home will be delayed by at least a week. Yikes.

Later, I learned from our tour guides that this is their third trip in a row with broken bones. Two trips ago, someone got wasted and then fell off the top bunk, breaking his arm. (On that same trip, they accidentally drove the bus backwards over luggage AND were in a car accident! Jeeze!) Then, the next trip they were having a bonfire in a firepit surrounded by a brick wall. A girl, who hadn’t been drinking, fell backwards off the wall and SHE broke her arm. I’m glad that I didn’t know all of this at the beginning – I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to do some of the things that I have done on this trip. I feel even more grateful now that I am having such an awesome, accident free trip so far.

The accident and the aftermath pushed us way behind schedule, so our afternoon activities were cancelled. But, that was ok for me. I was bummed about the lions, but it’s hard to feel anything other than sympathy my our travel mate and gratitude for my safety. Plus, it meant that we got to our next accommodation early, which was great because it was the best one so far. We stayed on a working citrus farm. There were orange and lemon trees everywhere and the scenery was just breathtaking. I loved it. (Note: while we were checking in, I got to watch a dog eat the inside of an orange and leave the peel. That must have taken a lot of practice to master!) Also, we had a firepit with this delicious South African stew that is made by simmering a pot over hot coals for hours. We got to relax, enjoy the sunset and the location, and then later have some beers and good food by the fire. Good location, good food, good beers, good friends, and a good fire on a cool night. What could be better than that?


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