Travel Diary: my guardian angel?

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It’s unclear when our paths crossed.
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It’s unclear if its a ‘he’ or a ‘she’.
It’s definitely an ‘it’, but let’s call it a ‘he’. ‘He’ and not ‘it’ primarily because I feel it deserves some personalisation, intimacy and respect … in my world at least.
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It’s unclear how long we’ve been together.
It’s unclear what exactly he is.
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I first took notice of him as I packed my tent up on the first day in Botswana… letting out a squeal when our eyes met.
That would have been in Choebe, where it’s all lovely … oh you know, his type of habitat.
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Admittedly, I was too pre-occupied by my more familiar and domesticated ‘friend’ then, who took to sleeping on my tent mat 10 minutes after I had pitched it up and laid the mat, only to abandon the spot when the rolling cumulonimbus clouds finally gave way under its bulging weight; opting for a secured and permanent thatched roof structure instead.
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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – Cat (domesticated ‘friend’) oblivious to me and everything around it, sleeping soundly on my tent mat … Choebe, Botswana

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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – definitely better sleeping option than my tent – the ablution (public toilets) – when the rain came pouring down – Choebe, Botswana
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Speaking of clouds and rains … a slight digression here (and apologies to non-vapourised-water-cotton-floss-like fans) … the skies of Botswana is one to die for … and I must have hit the shutter button at least a zillion times.
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OK.
That’s by far a huge stretch of the truth, but I am not kidding when I say my resulting stiff neck was far worse than my 2-1/2 hours per fortnight possum counting conservation efforts – notwithstanding the fact that my cranked up neck was more than 1-1/2 decades younger then.
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In any case I’m issuing a warning here:.
below are LOTS and LOTS of PHOTOS of SKIES … and it’s A LOT if you don’t like skies
{no psd treatment or any enhancements}
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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – View above my head – Choebe, Botswana 
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Later in the night, I fought fear for air and ventilation when the rain eased up to slight drizzles.
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Humidity in my tent had risen to that of a pressure cooker or perhaps one of mom’s Le Creuset type (induction?) cooking concepts. 
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Aided by the only source of light I have {no one ever said I had to pack a torch}; i.e. ‘light’ emitting from the full moon, I crept out and undid the window flaps and door flap of the tent, fighting the urge of a bursting bladder demanding a trip to the facilities located some 20 metres away. 
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That too was when I was blissfully oblivious of the various creepy crawlies that could deliver either cytotoxic or neurotoxic venom … or (how could the Heavenly Gods allow this?) those that supplies you both fatal venoms in a single blow.
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Like my feline ‘friend’, I was not too amused by the rains.
But what the rain did stop was the ear deafening cicadas on massive sex drives – having emerged from the ground after a year of enforced celibacy, thanks to the cold. So, rather than having my skull being penetrated by thousand of small high-powered drills as the male cicadas vibrate a membrane in their abdomen that reflects sound to attract a mate, I was met with eerie silence, occasionally broken by sounds of large droplets accumulated at the lanky witch looking fingers branches that eventually lands on shallow puddles around my tent and the not so distance howling or hooting. 
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Pair that with shadows cast by the moonlight, my mind entertains flashes of images of hyaenas and jackals that evolves somehow into werewolves and vampires!
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For a split second, I wished I had watched at least a part of the Twilight installation. That way I reasoned, I would have a disillusioned girlish, ditzy, romantic notion of werewolves and vampires.
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Instead, I am all geared up with Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock suspense …
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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – 2-ish a.m. view from my tent … Choebe, Botswana
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… only to discover some 40 scratchy, interrupted winks later that my night tormentor was this adorable displaced feathered one.
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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – Displaced young Owl … Choebe, Botswana.
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On yet another digression, it astounds me as to how a female cicada decides and locates on her choice “alto vocalist” amongst the sea of thousand abdomen vibrating critters … or does she?
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Any how, back to the original ‘friend’. The ‘HE’.
What’s truly amazing about him is:
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ONE
he survived for 6 days. 
That’s 6 times pitching, 6 times collapsing of the tent (which by no means light) and 6 times of rolling the tent, stuffing it into a really tight ‘sausage’ snug bag and pushing it into the small and impossibly tight compartment of the truck with all manners of supplies from furniture to refrigerator.
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TWO
crossed two border passes without documentations! 
ok, this is a pathetic attempt to be irritatingly funny on my part… but what’s challenging was his ability to go undetected as we passed countless of ‘vet’ checks and at least three shoes “fumigation” check points. 
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Frankly, I can’t understand both the ‘vet’ checks and the shoe thing-yee
The first one forbids the transportation of meat and dairy related products, hence requires an officer to alight all vehicles and check compartments, cooler boxes, any grocery bags or plastic bags … and yet fails to check or realise the existence of a refrigerator at the back of the truck filled with all of the above including dairy by-products in the form of ice-cream and chocolates. 
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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – photo L to R:  Shoe ‘fumigation’ border crossing, ‘Fumigating’ Shoe – Botswana
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As for the shoes, what exactly am I successfully killing while I casually walk on the soaked piece of old sack?
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THREE
hitch-hiked across more than 1,500 kilometres on dry land
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FOUR
he choses to re-emerge in a area famed for Mozambique spitting cobras and other eweeeeeee reptiles.
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By then, I had upgraded extensively to a proper permanent structure, which I had grave reservations and took a good 10 minutes of my 15 minutes ‘go refresh yourself before lunch’ time allocation contemplating if:
….(1) I should chose the bed directly beneath the geyser suspended some 25-30 feet above me, 
….….or
….(2) the bed closer to the window; hence cooler and wetter (read: friendlier to the scorpions!)
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Despite the 600 seconds of brow fury and first genuine intellect activity in days, I chose the worse of the two choices
the bed that promises higher possibility of deadly Scorpion nesting and equal chance of being boiled to death should the 100 gallons of water, geyser and beams holding them decides to come crashing down at that height 
f = ma totally abandoned.
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Though I am tempted to blame the cocktail of pain killers I had taken for my dull mind, I am seriously rather capable of just being plain platinum blonde. 
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This ‘syndrome’ of extreme bleached hair moment however does not extend to the fact that I was merrily ‘saluting the sun’, going into ‘plank’, ‘dog pose’, ‘cobra’, and what not poses with 2 collapsed invertebrate disc… I had seriously thought it was a pulled muscle at worst and prepared to hang myself upside down from a tree to stretch the ‘knots’ out in my back only if:
….(1)  I could climb a tree,
….(2)  There were no potential snakes or Scorpion on the tree – a leopard lounging on it will be a nice treat!
….(3)  Knew how to un-hang myself upside down, once I am upside down.
….(4)… blah, blah, blah.
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Despite all my silliness and predicaments, he stayed by my side right till the end … always the silent observer, waiting patiently outside…
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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – ‘HE’ on the wall of my thatched home for the last night … Kruger National Park, South Africa
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As I replaced the lens cap after taking a quick memento of him, and spun around to leave him for the last time as well as Mother Africa, he took a great leap into the wild … 
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His job was done. 
He was gone without a ‘goodbye’.
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P/S: had he been a prince charming in waiting, I wouldn’t have known; being giddily immersed with ‘khaki fever’ by then – me, who has an instant distaste for ginger haired, bologna built men with and upside down head (bald and bearded) was mesmerized with one.
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© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved – clockwise L to R: the 4×4, unbelievable sunset and skies over the open plains of Kruger National Park, vultures in the wait … Kruger National Park, South Africa
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But hey, a bush with bewitching, sensual stimuli – sunset hovers above the tree lines, the tanned (not in this case), knowledgeable bloke protecting me from the wild, chauffeuring and delivering my every wish, soft spoken with great sense of humour and dry wit – gimme a break! I am afterall a girl … with the occassional slip-ups of ditzy romantic notions.

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6 thoughts on “Travel Diary: my guardian angel?

  1. SA (Jo'burg)- by flight – ZIM (Victoria Falls)ZIM – by foot – ZAM (Victoria Falls) vice versa.ZIM – overland – BOTS (Karungula – Choebe – Palapye – Martins Driff)BOTS – overland – SA (Krueger – Jo'burg)In short.Long one? Gotta wait lah.

  2. the itinerary i was referring to is this eff-fer-rii-ken one laaaa. i still hv no idea which route or direction u took. u + i know la, u take east and west and then south and north, or clockwise, then anti, then 3oclock, then 11oclock…coz….u loaded mah. lol. i different, i north…then north jer…., or loop means loop. lol.

  3. Patient lah… will eventually give you the itinerary though Sri Lanka's still pending.Sri Lanka photos also haven't filed nicely – just downloaded from card and dumped in a folder called "2011 SRI LANKA"

  4. Ohhh…so mushy. Oh, u camped…but i know u didnt sleep well, hence the detail descriptions…lol. Great color coordinated pics!!! Still hv no idea of yr itinerary/route tho…:p

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