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Published: September 20th 2010
Map of Victoria Falls,
also known by its native name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, the smoke that thunders.
Time to go home. Boo hoo
Monday, August 30. Well, not quite time to go home. Ahren and I have booked a 14-minute helicopter ride for early morning. We’re both a little apprehensive as we arrive at the landing site. As the helicopter is pulled out of its hanger, the six passengers are weighed and arranged to distribute the weight. And somehow I end up riding in the copilot’s seat. Woopee. It isn’t scary at all. It’s more like a Disney ride. We zip to Victoria Falls and spend the next 10 minutes circling the falls and the river. It is spectacular. It ends way too soon. Exhilarating. I am flying the rest of the morning. Without a plane.
What an incredible few days
Since we arrived in Zim, [Ahren and I have ridden an elephant, walked along the incredible Victoria Falls and then flown over it, boated down the Zambezi River watching crocs and hippos. We’ve taken an open safari jeep into the Chobe and watched a herd of elephants roll in the mud. We stayed at an incredible lodge with our own one-bedroom cabin. One morning we watched zebras and impalas as we ate breakfast. Amazing and breathtaking Zimbabwe.
The long road home
We say goodbye to Stanley and Livingstone hotel, pile into vans and head to the airport. A lot of waiting in lines. But eventually we make it thru security and to the gate. Where we continue to wait for the two-hour flight which takes us back to Joburg and the second leg of an arduous voyage back home. We leave the Joburg airport at 7 pm after every passenger has been patted down and his or her hand luggage searched, apparently a precaution for all planes heading for the US. Before we take-off, an announcement warns us that we may want to cover our faces as a flight attendant walks through the cabin spraying what must be an insecticide. It is awful. We touch down about eight hours later on the west coast of Africa to refuel and the plane is sprayed again before we fly back to JFK. A four-hour layover in New York and it’s off to LAX for me. Weeeee. I’m ready to go home. But I sneeze the entire way. Damn spray. By the time we land on Tuesday, August 31, I’ve chalked up about 28 hours in airports and on planes.
last wordAs a footnote, the reaction to the insecticide turned out to be a cold instead, a good ole African virus. So I sneezed and coughed and blew my nose for a week. And to add insult to injury, a few days after I got home, my credit card company called to tell me my card number was being used in Greece to purchase airline tickets. So Africa gave me one final surprise. But I got a new credit card after a few days and the cold was gone in about a week. And my memories and journals and photos will last a lifetime. OK What's next?
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