Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Day 1 in Southern Africa

It is insane inside the Atlanta airport. South African Airways checks in at the Delta counter and I'm behind some people who must be going on a different kind of safari...perhaps one involving guns. I have a boarding pass from Atlanta to the Isle of Sal, I'm not who "owns" Sal or if it is an independent country specializing in filling up airplanes, but maybe we can get off the plane and stretch our legs. I have my stylish green airplane socks, blanket, pillow, and a menu that looks to be for our flight home. (time passes)

We are still en route to the Isle of Sal. It is 9:30 South African time, and we are getting closer to Sal. The seats have movies and video games. My movie of choice is Firewall. The view out the window is sunny and I can see the Rolls Royce jet engine. Alas, we do not get to get off the plane at Sal.

Almost 9:30am S.A. time now, we'll be landing in an hour. Officially it is June 7 (Happy Birthday Heather). At present we are filling out the customs forms, but do we really need them since we not leaving the airport, just going straight to Livingstone. (time passes)

We are in the plane preparing to go to Zambia. David, from Wilderness Safaris, met us at the arrivals and expedited the process of us getting on our Nationwide flight. He's already made fun of how fast I talk and once he knew I was Mom's daughter he said he would facilitate selling me to a tribal chief in return for cattle and a TV. I've noticed that in his conversation he refers to "white Africans" and "black Africans"'ve got generations of both in South Africa.

Kelvin, our guide for Zambia, and Jeremiah, the driver, meet us at the small and intimate "Livingstone International Airport" and whisk us away through Livingstone (one of the only cities that kept its British name after independence). En route to the hotel we went through Mosi-ou-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) National Park and saw a baboon and 2 common (with square markings) giraffes. At the hotel we saw a vervet monkey and sighs that indicated "beware of crocodiles". The hotel, the Zambezi Sun, is awesome. The buildings have a slight adobe look to them, the lobby is open air with colorful African art and bead work. We were greeted with guava juice.

We went on a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River, the 4th largest in Africa (the Nile and Congo are two of the others...the 3rd is escaping me). We drank sundowners and saw lots of birds, impalas and finally (after much searching) a few hippos. The sun set right at 5:45 (which seems early, but it is winter). Our boat was the African Queen. We returned to the hotel and had dinner at Squires. The Zambian currency is the "kucha?", which I am not changing my money into. There was a band playing by the pool, but sleep sucked me in.

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