Dr. Livingstone I presume...
02.07.2010 - 02.07.2010 74 °F
Peter and I woke up really early so we headed to Victoria Falls to do our own sunrise tour. We went to the front desk and got our raincoats and wore our sandals. While near the falls you have to yell at each other because the roar is so loud. We walked along to the end of the path and in certain areas it was like standing out in the pouring rain to be in the falls' mist. Locally, they call it the natural shower. After the falls, we went home and woke up Wil to head out for our day.
Remember the Wil I have spoken of who is engaged and engaging and has enjoyed everything we've done? Well, he must have been left with Lucky at Mala Mala because the surly teen Wil from Boston that I know (and don't particularly love) has arrived in Livingstone. At least for the morning (deep breaths Mom!).
We had breakfast in virtual silence (becuase I refused to allow him to bungee jump off one of the largest free falls into a gorge next to the falls.) The vervet monkeys were wreaking havoc at breakfast as everything is open air. They would run into the restaurant, grab something and run back out. The little gids were in fits of hysterics while cncouraging the monkeys bad behavior while the hotel employees and adults, especially those that lost their food, were not amused. (I found it amusing, must be that I'm a kid at heart.) Interestingly, a hotel employee stood around with a sling shot but never used it. However, I'm sure those monkeys were familiar with him as they kept their eyes on him. Even that little breakfast circus didn't arouse a smile out of surly Boston boy.
After breakfast, we headed on an elephant back safari. This TOTALLY turned certain attitudes around! It was fantastic!!! We learned about the African elephants and got to ride them for an hour plus give them treats and snacks. It was so amazing and they were so respectful of the elephants. The elephants only do 2 safari rides a day and on their off hours are turned out into the bush. Like domesticated animals they come back at snack/feeding time for the next ride. It was really enjoyable and fun to be riding such large lovely animals. We didn't get to be on them alone, we had a ranger that rode and hanled our elephant. My ranger was a delight and we talked about our children, the economy, life in Zambia vs USA, etc while I had my arms wrapped around him so I didn't slide off my large elephant! Towards the end of our ride he asked if I had a Facebook account and said he'd send me a friend request. I told him I'd enjoy that and want to hear if his oldest makes the professional cricket team.
Once we got off the elephants we got to feed them in their mouths as well as by their trunks. It is a tad bit disconcerting to put your hand in a big elephant mouth to give them a handfull of pellets. Wil was a little nervous so at the first elephant he threw the handful in! All I could think of is he is going to choke the poor thing. Once corrected he was able to do it. African elephants truanks are different from asian elephant trunks where they have to fingers so they can pick up anything off the ground. Asian elephants only have one so they can only poke at things. It is odd to have that trunk wrap around your hand to get the pellets.
We were dropped off at our hotel and decided to take Wil to the falls so he could experience the natural shower. He enjoyed it and Peter and I re-did our morning tour. There is a local market on the way back which Peter and I went to. Here things are done by batering and I tried to channel my brother, Scott, to get deals and can honestly say, I'm not Scott but I'm WAY better than Peter! :-)
Peter and I decided that we had spent too much time at the hotel and got a recommendation for a local (traditional) Zambian restaurant in downtown Livingstone. We learned taht is is very safe to walk the main street (and it really is only one street) until early evening but not safe at all at night. So we went to have the local Zambian lunch and had, from the Zambezi river the bream (fish), a chicken in peanut sauce and a beef dish. The really interesting things were the sides! We had pumkin leaves, sweet potato leaves, wiled eggplant, which was very much like a yellow plumb tomato etc. It was all delicious! We then walked down the main street and facade-wise it was like walking down Main Street in the 1950's. The kids were getting out of school so there were LOTS of them in their uniforms looking at us as we smiled at them.
We got back to our hotel around 4:30pm and needed to shower and get to the Royal Livingstone hotel (part of our hotel complex) by 6pm to meet our Land Rover mates from Mala Mala. We had such a nice time with them that we had this evening overlapping and met for a drink on the deck overlooking the river while a man played the flute. I really like them! Too bad they live on the other side of the world. But, what a GREAT reason to go to Australia!
We are currently ending our time in Livingstone in a grand ballroom watching a movie screen viewing of the World cup match of Uruaguy vs. Ghana. I have to say I'm rooting for Ghana, an African country should win the World Cup! The hotel also has a large screen up next to the pool at the outdoor bar too. I love it!
Tomorrow we head to Botswana for our final days on safari and in Africa. We are goign deep into the bush into Chobe National Park and selected a resort that has only 7 rooms which are individual structures like at Mala Mala. Of the secen only one is a family structure (which we got!) where Wil will have his won room with his own entrance. However, they pride themselves on being off the grid so there is no internet. Therefore, there will be no more updates until we return to the States on July 7th. We will do it the old fashioned way and write it down and post it once we're back online. The guide in Chobe has big shoes to fill with Lucky. I'm excited to see the differences!
Until our return...