Around the World in 90 Days

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Tag Archives: Rain

It’s Botswana, Baby!

Ever since I read the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency I have wanted to go to Botswana, the people in the book were just interesting in a way I had never seen.  Tompaul has wanted to go to Botswana ever since he saw a feature about it on the Today show.  As soon as Heather and Don Koons said they were moving there we knew it was a stop on our round the world trip!

After Heather bravely picks us up from the air port (she was super sick that morning including ER visit) we settle into their lovely bush home.  It is gorgeous.  There are a few bugs and reports of monkeys in their yard (which we thought was a lie).

In true Koons hospitality form she takes us to the best Indian Resturant in Gabs (she was still a bit queasy).

This was by far one of the BEST meals we had in a long time.  Actually it is the best Indian food we have had for many a moon.  Note the Naan, people.  NOTE IT!  It was soft yet crispy! It was like I died and went to Nirvana.

Then it was off to bed.  We were going to hit the road bright and early, once Don got off his 24h shift.  Our plan was to go to the Molema Bush camp for two days and then to the Tuli safari lodge.  This is located close to Zimbawe, so it is like 7 hours.  We all agreed to listen to Spud and that helped to speed the drive. The South African accent made the audiobook. We enjoyed the word “dodgy” especially. During this time we were able to get a good view of Botswana countyside.

It is rainy season so everything is super lush and green. The umbrellas everyone carries around are mostly for the sun, however.

Here is a traditional house and a non-traditional house side by side.

There are rest stops along the highway.  We stopped in true Botswana fashion, under a tree.  There we had a discussion about key things and had a delicious lunch.  The only thing was missing was a cup of tea.

As we resumed our journey the weather looked a bit cloudy and then it seemed someone had an accident.  There might have been a third car but only two were on the road.  Don sys the car accidents are truely wretched and deadly here.

The rain was amazingly beautiful.  Little did we know what was to come.  Montana is big sky country, but it has NOTHING on Botswana.  I have never ever seen sky as we saw in Botswana.  The clouds seemed to go on for an eternity, the color was so blue, the clouds so white!

After our prescribed 7 hours of driving we reached the Molema Bush Camp for the first leg of our safari.  We were staying in the chalets for about 40 US dollars a night.  We were roughing it, no electricity, the staff did our dishes and lit our cooking fires and gas lanterns.  Rough, I say.

Our chalets were just overlooking the river.  We were asked not to walk with 15m of the rivers edge cause they didn’t want us attacked by crocs or hippos. After our Kenyan adventure, we had no trouble following that advice.

Here is the inside of of our chalet.  Very cozy.

While in Molema we did our own self drives.  We saw tons of buck and birds.  Nothing too exotic.  Part of the reason was that we came in the rainy season so the bush was grown up and foliage obscured things.  But that also meant there were BABIES everywhere.  We also had frequent warthog sightings.

Warthogs are fun animals in the wild.  They run in a funny way with their tail standing straight up.  They do NOT pose for pictures and are extremely skittish, running away soon as they are spotted.  Our goal was to get ONE nice warthog picture.

Steenbuck.  They are always seen near their mate, and look like babies but are not.

A beautiful vista. Note the sky.

Warthog mommy and baby running away, again….

What is a proper safari without the dung beetle?

We stopped for sundowners and on the way back we saw this beautiful sight. The owl was watching for prey.

 

On our last morning we planned to drive up to the hide, but it was blocked because of the heavy rains.  About 2am we heard deafening rain, for 2 hours.  It rained 61mm overnight.  No hide for us. That also meant no exit for us.  We were blocked in and could not make it to Tuli.  We spent the morning hanging out in one of the cabins, watching Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency (the series).  It rained some more.

This is British Chris and Botswana Chris telling us we were blocked in, but maybe we could get out by 3.  What would we do?

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Cymru

Tompaul has talked about his boyhood trip to Cardiff for as long as I can remember.  We had always wanted to go there.  To be honest it wasn’t originally on the itinerary.  We ended up in London because we had to pass through (not that we ever look a gift trip to London in the mouth) but Cardiff was an accident.  We waited to reserve our tickets (unbeknownst to us you can reserve your tickets indefinitely prior to paying for them).  Because of this all of the London to Cape Town flights were booked.  The first one out that we could get was January 6.  So what to do with our extra time?  We decided a quick train trip was in order.

We boarded the trains like the avid adventurers we are and waited for Cardiff.  Upon arriving we fell in love with the Welsh.  Every soul was helpful and pleasant, as if they invited us themselves.  We stayed at the Novotel (about a 10 minute walk from the Central Cardiff station).  Our room was modern and tidy (although the internet was a bit slow).  The pool had a hot tub, steam room and dry sauna (essentials for braving the chill).

Upon arriving we took a quick jaunt to the bay to see the Doctor Who exhibit, Millennium building and the sea.  Then we traipsed back to the hotel and took a dip in the hot tub.

This is the Millennium Center.

On day 2 of our Cardiff adventure we had high hopes of St. Fagans (a huge outdoor museum full of vintage Welsh buildings and various demontrations, all free) and Cardiff Castle.  The weather, however, wanted to give Tompaul and I a special welcome.  It rained almost all day.  We ditched St. Fagans and walked up to Cardiff Castle.

Brains Beers is apparently THE beer in Cardiff.

Tompaul fondly recalls peacocks bopping about the castle grounds, but according to one of the staff, they were sent packing two years ago because they kept wandering into city traffic. Too bad—they would have stood out on such a gray day.

The droll woman checking our “Essential” tickets assured us the introductory video “will change your life.” The wordless program was a little random, but the curtain rising at the end was pretty impressive—until it turned out to just reveal the rain-splattered window.

Before heading out we ducked down into the Welsh soldier museum, and learned about the goat that helped the Brits win the Battle of Bunker Hill (a fact somehow left out of our U.S. history classes).

By the time we’d read all the outdoor plaques on the castle grounds we were soaked to the skin.

The ceiling of the sitting room.

The master dining room.

By the time we’d explored the castle interior and climbed a hundred or so steps to the top o’ the keep, the sun had gotten bored of wherever it had wandered and decided to drop in again. How to warm up? A Mexican restaurant, of course! Chiquitos wasn’t quite like any Mexican meal we’d ever had, but it was tasty and warm. We stocked up on Cornwall pasties for supper later and retired to the hotel hot tub.

Doctor Who

Call us whatever you like but we shamelessly paid our pounds to see the Doctor Who exhibit in Cardiff.  Not sure if it was the weather, or that it wasn’t “tourist season” but the exhibit was ours alone.

Please enjoy the pictures to help us get our money’s worth.

The exhibit was housed in the Red Dragon Centre.  This is bigger than a mall with IMAX, bowling, games, casino, bars and restaurants.  In other words a place to go when it is cold and rainy (or Cardiff year round).  Note the alien language on the sign.

These clothes were ripped off of Matt Smith himself.

Lisa and the Tardis

Vroomp .  . . vroomp . . . Tompaul lands on the legendary planet Greenscreen.

True fact: The handles on cybermen’s heads mean they can easily count as carry-ons.

Throughout the exhibit there were bits of episodes playing on the ceiling, walls and in this case floor.

“Harriet Jones, MP, Flydale North.”

The British (I mean Daleks) are coming!

Dalek Bob shows off his lovely new purple outfit.

True fact:  Daleks can be defeated by an unattached lens cap, but only from the Nikon D7000.

Winston wonders, “Does this bowtie make me look fat?”

Don’t Blink.

Cute!  K-9 doesn’t look bad either.