Land of the Giants????

My grandmother use to ask me when I was younger if I was a pygmy. Well I am not but……

I am only a couple of inches above 5 feet tall and proud of it!

However, I did feel a little shorter than usual at Camp Pom Pom thanks to my new friend Max:

Max and me

 

I have always been partial to tall men but let me tell you that I have never had one this tall before! And when Baloo came to join us for a picture, well I wasn’t sure if the camera would even capture me at all!

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Max is a guide at Camp Pom Pom and has become one of my new friends. He has even promised to come visit me here in Gabs so we can go dancing together. Although our blossoming friendship hit a few snags along the way which had nothing to do with our height differences.

It seems that animals aren’t the only ones who are territorial in this stretch of the wilderness.

Upon arrival at Camp Pom Pom, everyone is assigned a guide and tracker who serve as your own personal concierges for your entire stay. I was lucky (but maybe not for them) to be assigned to Rams as my guide and Major, as my tracker. Rams turned out to be my Bush equivalent of Buche. How does a girl get so lucky??? While I only had three days with him our friendship doesn’t end just because I had to come back to Gabs. I am positive that Rams and his family will be coming to visit me in Gabs where I can’t wait to introduce him to Buche. I also have an invitation to visit them at their home in Maun. He truly is a wonderful man and I am so glad that I got to spend time with him. You will be hearing a few Rams stories as I publish my swamp blogs.

Major, well he was something special that is hard to capture into mere words. Part charmer, part goof, part tracker/poler extraordinaire he certainly provided an amusement factor for the entire three days that we were in camp. The first afternoon that I met himMajor, I also met Max and enjoyed a serious amount of good nature flirting when I could catch his eye way up there. So while Max and I were having fun it seems that Major had other plans.

Like the territorial beasts that he tracks, Major decided that he didn’t want Max encroaching on his territory. It didn’t matter that there was a certain young Australian member of our safari party that singularly caught his eye and attention. His on-going rivalry with “Mad Max” meant that Max wasn’t allowed to have any fun with me at all! Or so he thought….

I have it on good authority that a smack down took place in the employee quarters that first evening where, in Setswana, Max was told emphatically to leave me alone. Ah, someone should have warned Major that I have a mind of my own and no threats can convince me otherwise! ¬†When I noticed that my new friend was keeping a wide berth when we were all in the main lodge it was pretty easy to figure out the problem. Let’s just say that Major was made to eat a little crow when all was said and done. However, he also earned my friendship and adoration so all is well that ends well.

It just goes to show that even in the middle of the bush I simply have a way of causing chaos. But it is nice to know that even bush men aren’t immune to my charm ūüėČ

Camping in the Bush

Safariing is serious business in Botswana. Due to the vast expanse of wilderness and wildlife throughout the country it is a tourism industry’s dream. However, the government carefully and brilliantly regulates the industry so that it is eco-tourism at it’s best. The main aim of the industry is to provide limited access to the natural bounty that Botswana offers while providing employment and economic benefits to local communities.

Although Safari lodges are plentiful across the country giving you ready access to all of the main areas of natural beauty and wildlife, these lodges are built to prevent leaving any permanent impact on the eco-system they inhabit. Lodges never house more than 8 or 9 units for guests. All of the food is prepared on site using foods readily available where possible and I have yet to have a terrible meal in any of these places. Local residents fill the staff positions where possible. All in all I believe that the government has certainly gotten this sector of the industry right.

Camp Pom Pom certainly has gotten it right! Other than the Bushman Lodge in Ghantz nothing else can top my experience at this camp. Just when I think that I simply can not top my last wonderful experience along comes a whole new adventure that whisks me away to a land of happiness that I didn’t think was possible.

This camp is located on it’s own section of island in the middle of the Okavango Delta. It is a private concession camp which means that the land is leased from the government and all of the animals and wildlife who live there roam absolutely free. The camp is smack dab in the wetlands and is surrounded by flood planes, grasslands and huge tracts of desert. Truly a magnificent sight to behold.

Upon arrival at Camp Pom Pom, we were greeted by female staff members singing as we drove up! Talk about a warm welcome. But this was just the tip of the iceberg on the hospitality that awaited us at Camp Pom Pom.

After receiving the security briefing  by Baloo, the Camp Manager who advised us that we were smack dab in the middle of the wilderness with wild animals roaming at will through the lodge, we were escorted to our home away from home Bush Tent #6.

 

Our tent was #6 off of Elephant Highway
Our Bush tent was #6 off of Elephant Highway

The lodging at Camp Pom Pom consist of nine permanent tents and a central lodge area where the meals are served and the bar is always open. Truly it is ! You are allowed, actually encouraged to walk up to the bar and accompanying fridge to help yourself whenever you want. ¬†Your package includes everything at Camp Pom Pom and it isn’t just a safari of wildlife. It is an eating and drinking safari as well. But much more on that later.

Welcome to #6
Welcome to #6
Our front door
Our front door

 

It was more like a tent in the trees
It was more like a tent in the trees

 

Our tree tent deck
Our tree tent deck

And we even had a welcoming party just off of our deck upon our arrival

The Elephant Welcome wagon
The Elephant Welcome wagon

 

The view to the left of our deck
The view to the left of our deck

I don’t know about you but my experience tenting certainly has never included all of the amenities that this camp offered. While the tents are canvas with permanent structures holding them up, what is contained inside was beyond what I expected. In fact, I could camp every day if I had a tent like this to do it in!

Our relaxation area
Our relaxation area complete with chairs and a lamp run by solar generator and batteries

 

Pom Pom beds

 

We even had our own loo so no going in the bushes with the hippos and elephants
We even had our own loo so no going in the bushes with the hippos and elephants

AND

Pom pom showerbush shower our very own outdoor shower so that we could shower under the stars at night if we wanted!

 

 

Now can you see why I could camp all of the time with these amenities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting to Camp Pom Pom in the “Swamps”

Early Friday morning, Buche took Risa (a fellow Canadian) and I to the airport for our 7:00 am flight from Gabs to Maun. From there we were to fly into the Delta on a tiny bush plane for the start of our adventures in the Swamps.

My thanks goes out to the amazing work of the Safari Specialists (http://www.safarispecialists.net/index.html) who were able to pull together an incredible Okavango Delta safari package at the very last minute for Risa and I. Their services are the best that I have ever dealt with.

They are located in Maun, which means they are incredibly tapped into what is happening in the Delta, all of the many camps located in the Delta & area and where the game sightings are most active at any given time. They handle all of your tour details and give you such personal service it is hard to believe. In my books, they rate as a Five Star ***** tourist company that I would highly recommend if you are even contemplating a safari in Botswana or Southern Africa region. They truly are that good!

So in the capable hands of the Safari Specialists who personally met us at the Maun airport when we landed, we were then escorted to our own private bush plane for our flight out over the vast expanse of the Delta to our first safari camp, Camp Pom Pom.

The Okavango Delta is in the upper left section of the map
The Okavango Delta is in the upper left section of the map
Map of the Central Okavango camps
Map of the Central Okavango camps – Camp Pom Pom is located in NG 27 on it’s own little island

Getting to Camp Pom Pom was a great flight on Mack Airways with our own personal pilot, Andres.

Andres and our plane
w Andres and our plane
Our Mack Air bush plane
Our Mack Air bush plane

 

The Okavango is a unique ecosystem, an inland delta situated in the middle of the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world ‚Äď the Kalahari basin. This wetland lies like an oasis in an otherwise inhospitable landscape. Were land and delta meet, a mosaic of pans, grasslands, forests and lagoons provide an extremely rich and diverse habitat where a multitude of animals and birds flourish. This wetland is one of the natural wonders of the world, and is a fragile ecosystem that remains one of the world‚Äôs least spoilt and most beautiful wildernesses, and is home to various unique species e.g. sitatunga antelope and red lechwe.

Aerial view of the Delta
Aerial view of the Delta

 

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After a 45 minute flight that provided an incredible panoramic view of the expanse of the Delta swamp, flood planes and grasslands, we landed on the Camp Pom Pom air strip.

Pom Pom International Airport
Pom Pom International Airport
Pom Pom International First Aid Station
Pom Pom International First Aid Station

 

You have gotta love this type of health care on an airstrip!

Adventures in the Swamp

Sorry for the absence but for the past couple of weeks there have been major internet issues in Gaborone thanks to a faulty telecommunications line which made posting as well as emailing impossible.

Then last week I had an opportunity to take a very last minute trip to an amazing part of Botswana, the Okavanga Delta or also referred to as the “Swamps”.

The Okavanaga Delta is one of the world’s largest inland deltas and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in Botswana. It is a delta formed by the inflow of the Okavango River, (or the Kavango River as it is known in Namibia), into the arid sands of the Kalahari Desert. The Okavango River originates on the Benguela Plateua in the highlands of Angola, and the river flows through Namibia entering Botswana at the village of Mohembo. Within Botswana, the river follows a well-defined channel formed by two parallel faults ‚Äėthe Panhandle‚Äô for a distance of ninety-five kilometres before fanning out to create a vast network of perennial swamps and floodplains.

Part of the Okavanga River system from the air
Part of the Okavanga River system from the air

Delta

The final decision to make a five day visit to the Delta took place Tuesday afternoon and we left bright and early Friday morning for fives days and four nights in the Swamps.

It was a trip, experience and adventures of a life time so hang on because I have a ton of pictures and stories to post now that I am back. I hope that you enjoy them!

Happy Canada Day!

I was able to start my Canada Day celebration in Botswana with a steaming mug of “Oh Canada!” David’s Tea curtsy of my very thoughtful friend Mike. It is a little taste of Canada because it is rooibos tea that has been sweetened with maple syrup and sprinkled with delicious maple leaf candies. He included it in a wonderful care package that I received months ago so I had planned on saving some specially for today. Nothing says Canada like maple syrup!

While I might be far away from Canada and loving living in Africa, I will always be a Canadian. A former premier of Prince Edward Island, the land of my birth coined this phrase “I am an Islander first, Maritimer second and then a Canadian”. ¬†And now I can add in an adopted African as well.

While my plans for Canada Day in Botswana are relatively quiet for me and involving relaxing in the afternoon sun poolside, today is also a holiday for some in Botswana as it is Sir Seretse Khama Day.

July 1 is the birthday of Sir Seretse Khama, the man who led the nation of Botswana out of colonialism and laid the foundation for a modern democracy in his country. Khama was born in 1921, when Botswana was still known as Bechuanaland, a British protectorate. He was the eldest son of Khama III, the¬†kgosi¬†or king of the Bamangwato people. Upon his father’s death, Seretse Khama became¬†kgosi¬†at the age of four, with his uncle, Tshekedi Khama, acting as his guardian and regent. Khama was educated at boarding schools in South Africa and began college there, but finished his education in England. It was there he met and married Ruth Williams, a white Englishwoman. Shortly thereafter, he returned to his home country with his wife.
The interracial marriage caused an outcry both among tribal leaders and the pro-apartheid leadership of Bechuanaland’s powerful neighbor, South Africa. Khama was able to win his own people over, but South African authorities were profoundly threatened by the marriage of a black tribal leader to a white woman. They stirred up a dispute with England regarding the legitimacy of Khama’s claims to chieftancy. Due to this pressure from South Africa, Khama and his wife were exiled to England in 1951, and the following year, this exile was declared permanent. By 1956, however, public outcry about the way they had been treated resulted in the couple’s return to Bechuanaland.
Khama formed the Bechuanaland Democratic Party and became the last colonial prime minister of Bechuanaland, serving in that post from 1965-66. He was also honored with knighthood in 1966. On September 30, 1966, Bechuanaland became the independent country of Botswana, with Khama as its president. He held this post until his death in 1980. When Botswana became independent, it was widely assumed the country would have to be dependent on one of its wealthier neighbors, for Botswana was so poor that its tax base seemed too small to support the country. Yet through Khama’s initiatives, Botswana was able to develop an independent, export-based economy.
Sir Seretse Khama Day is a national holiday, honored across Botswana as a day to remember Khama’s contributions to his homeland. In celebrations in Serowe, which is Botswana’s capital as well as Khama’s birthplace, people proceed from various points to the main town center, where musical and religious groups have gathered. Traditional dances, such as the¬†tsutsube,¬†are performed. Speeches and ceremonies are made at the city’s statue honoring Khama, and a wreath is laid at his grave in the royal cemetery.”¬†taken from¬†http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Botswana+Sir+Seretse+Khama+Day

So Happy Canada Day and Sir Seretse Khama Day everyone!

 

 

My Grand Entrance into Zimbabwe

Ah, who doesn’t love a border post in Africa???

Each one is unique and special. To me, they symbolize new territory to explore and adventure on the other side of concrete walls, fences and cranky immigration officers. You always have that heart stopping moment or two as you hand over your documents wondering if you will make it through or not. If all of your paper work is in order. Is your immigration or customs officer having a good day or bad? Some you are happy to visit again and again. Others, well let’s just say once is enough. They are a challenge to be conquered but not to be repeated.

You need to keep reading to discover how I feel about the Ramokgwebana/Plumtree boarder post between Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Having left Gabs at 4 pm which was much later than anticipated due to work commitments Lawrence drove straight through from Gabs to the border posts with no stops except at a tiny petrol station just a couple of kilometers from the border. We were pushing to make the crossing before the border closed for the night at 10 pm and thankfully we made it by 8:30 pm with time to spare.

Pulling into the parking lot on the Botswana Ramokgwebana side we noticed lots of activity. Given the time of night, Lawrence had figured that the crossing wouldn’t be that busy. As we exited the vehicle with me desperately seeking a toilet to relive my rather full bladder the size of the immigration ques became extremely obvious. So like the good traveler that I am, I sucked it up and got in line to hold our place while Lawrence was doing toilet reconnaissance.

When he finally arrived back to the line up looking relieved and happier my stubborn gene had kicked in….any surprise there??? As the line up was moving at a reasonable pace with new participants arriving all of the time, I wasn’t going to jeopardize my spot by slipping out of the que when it was simply mind over bladder. Given that I did not have the Dingwa household address to rattle off for the immigration officer, I needed to remain with Lawrence so we could go through immigration together. Plus, he had to do additional queuing in order to take his car over the border.

Interestingly enough the large majority of those in line were Zimbabweans going home for a visit. Let’s just say that Zimbabweans are much more polite and friendly to stand in line up with than some others. In fact, I have fond memories of a Zimbabwean gentleman coming to my rescue in the visa line up in Gaborone when I first arrived in Botswana. For those of you who missed that story you can find it at¬†https://cheryljdalziel.com/2012/09/29/back-to-the-immigration-office/

I digress. The que was long but friendly and eventually we wound our way to the front and through the paperwork without a lot of fuss or questions. Whew!!! But it is always easier leaving a country than entering in these parts….

Proof we crossed the border
Proof we made it across the border

Exiting the building ahead of Lawerence, who was finishing off the paperwork to take the car through the border I made my mad dash to the toilet with a bursting bladder. Now before I go any further I just want to reiterate for the uninitiated that public and even sometimes private toilets in Africa are not for the faint hearted. They are an adventure in and of themselves. Like border posts, some are better than others…others, well let’s just say that going in the bush is far more preferable.

My best travel advice to date is that “Never, Ever visit the toilets at the Ramokgwebana border post”!!!!!! EVER!!!! My friendship with Lawrence could have ended because of this. Seriously! It is by far the worse toilet that I have ever made use of anywhere that I have been in Africa. I still shiver and cringe just thinking about it.

When in Africa as a female you always carry a roll of toilet paper or tissues on you for use as public toilets never have toilet paper. So it is a given that you carry your purse with you when visiting the necessary. So picture this if you please……a beyond filthy rest room, zero toilet paper and toilets that you simply didn’t want to get within fifty feet of but a bladder beyond bursting. It is simple, you consider it yet another adventure and go for it. So I earned my skills as an acrobat.

Huge purse over my shoulder (now where to set it down), wad of tissue out, the infamous denim skirt hiked up and panties down and a healthy fear of coming within two feet of the toilet seat……..another lesson learned, the longer the delay in visiting the necessary, the fuller the bladder…the longer it takes to relieve it. After maintaining the balancing hovering act for what felt like far too longer the desperation to exit my surroundings was almost equal to my desperation for visiting in the first place.

Quickly exiting the toilet stall which only redeeming quality was that it actually had a functioning lock mechanism (another rarity in Africa) I beat a hasty path to the equally filthy sinks to at least rinse my hands before making my way to the car where a pack of hand wipes were gloriously awaiting me. While standing at the sink two elderly ladies joined me. To my surprise they were actually giggling. Figuring that they like many others that I encounter were not that use to white women within their surrounds I just smiled and greeted them formally. Feeling as if I had paid them the respect that they were due, the giggling only got worse.

Finally as I was turning to leave the room one of them addressed me and said I quote “You have a naughty skirt!”

Remember this was the skirt whose malfunction before I had even left home had started my adventure off. Thinking that perhaps the fitted style of the skirt was too modern for her, I simply smiled, nodded and again turned to exit.

Then she stopped me again saying I quote “No, wait your skirt is naughty”. She then pointed down to my rather ample booty which was prominently on display as my naughty skirt was caught up in my panties. It seems that in my acrobatic state of attempting balance a purse & body in the hovering position and then haste to exit the downright filthy disgusting stall I had inadvertently caught my skirt in my panties. Thankfully they were clean and cute and this wonderful woman prevented me from walking out of the door into the parking lot where it would feel like half of the population of Zimbabwe returning home would have been treated to a sight to behold.

With a proper thank you this time and a far more respectful exit I arrived back at the car more eager and ready to arrive in Zimbabwe then you can imagine. Fortunately my entry into Zimbabwe through immigration and customs was far less eventful and we were soon back on the road with me at the wheel.

When you arrive in Zimbabwe through the Botswana border post of Ramokgwebana you are entering Plumtree, Zimbabwe. Don’t you just love that name? Feeling lighter and happier although it was now almost 10 pm at night, I was set to do the approximately four hour drive to Lawrence’s home in Gweru. Passing through Plumtree, Figtree and other small towns on the way to¬†Bulawayo where we ¬†going to stop to grab something to eat I was in the groove in the driver’s seat….

Until I was rudely stopped by the Zimbabwean police at a road block literally in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Having been warned by Lawrence in advance that the police in Zimbabwe are not always your friend (like Buche tells me they are here in Botswana) I was at least somewhat prepared. Pulling to a stop, which frankly was a little more difficult as I was driving slightly faster than the speed limit was if there had of been any signs telling you what the speed limit was suppose to be, I put on my most charming smile.

Lawrence lounging in the passenger seat next me claimed that he has never seen such a transformation in me. Lawrence has seen many aspects of my personality including my penchant for independence and beating him up in public but he had never experienced me being “charming”. He watched enthralled as I simply charmed my “Zimbabwean Police Officer friend”. Less than five minutes later I was departing the road block with a smile and wave for my new friend, who hadn’t once mentioned that I was speeding. Nor was any exchange of cash necessary which is incredibly unusual as this is the purpose of the road blocks in the first place.

Back on the road with the most charming drivers we soon arrived in Bulaway, Zimbabwe’s second largest city and one that Lawrence has actually only visited once or twice before. So at midnight I was navigating through a city I had never been in before seeking food. Success was easily at hand and arriving downtown it was simply as easy as parallel parking with a captive audience watching the oddity of a white woman chauffeuring a Zimbabwean man at midnight.

While Mr. Small Bladder visited the men’s room ( I was not going down that road again determined to wait until we arrived at the Dingwa household) I stood in line to order food. Are you recognizing the pattern here? I certainly am :0 While patiently waiting to order after driving for a couple of hours I need to stretch out my legs. Then a great song came on and I was a goner. You guessed it, the impulse to dance couldn’t be controlled. Lawrence returned to the sight of me wiggling in line while the manager was yelling “you go girl” and a growing audience appeared at the plate glass windows looking in from the street. To be honest to you, I wasn’t really even dancing that much. Just more wiggling in time to the music. Honest! However, do to the growing crowd and spectacle someone in the back decided to abruptly shut off the music so that the white girl could calm down and the crowds disperse.

With a brief dance reprieve, food in my belly and back in the driver’s seat I was ready to push on to make the final drive to Senga, Lawrence’s village within Gweru. As we entered this stretch ¬†of driving we encountered road construction site after construction site. Each one was marked by “robots” traffic signals indicating when to pause or proceed. Not to lay blame here but due to extenuating circumstances and pressures I perhaps proceeded through a red light that I shouldn’t have. But in my defense so did two others before me and it was 1:30 am in the morning.

Well, that simply led to my second police halt of the night and my brief time in Zimbabwe. I must have set a record! This time I didn’t even try to charm this one because I knew it would be a mistake to even try. However I did make the mistake of showing him my driver’s license…BIG MISTAKE! You see in Canada if a police officer asks to see your license you immediate produce it no questions asked. In Zimbabwe you avoid it all costs. It took my friend Lawrence more than 40 minutes of discussion with the said police officer to get it back for me while I waited patiently and extremely quietly in the car which is hard to do at 2:00 am.

When Lawrence finally returned to the car after 2:30 with my PEI driver’s license in hand, I was willing to forgive his making me wait to pee at the border post. Fair is fair!

This portion of our adventure finally ended half an hour later when we arrived at the Dingwa household to a warm reception even though it was now 3 am. An hour later warmly ensconced in bed under so many blankets that I could have smothered but needed because it really was that cold I was ready for a couple hours of sleep before I continued my adventures again early in the morning.

The connection between food and HIV survival

The connection between food and HIV survival (this article originally appeared on the Toronto Star website http://thestar.blogs.com/worlddaily/2013/06/the-connection-between-food-and-hiv-survival.html

Three decades after HIV first emerged, the virus is no longer a death sentence. Thanks to antiretroviral therapy drugs, a newly-diagnosed 20-year-old can now expect to live for 50 more years.

But a¬†new study¬†by researchers in British Columbia underscores the fact that treating HIV has to do with more than just giving patients drugs — ensuring they are well fed matters too.

The study looked at the connection between food security and HIV survival rates, tracking 254 injection drug users across British Columbia over 13 years.

Roughly 71 per cent of those patients reported being food insecure when they first began their HIV treatments — and the study found that those patients were twice as likely to die.

“The introduction of life-saving antiretroviral therapy has significantly reduced HIV-related morbidity and mortality,” said senior author¬†Robert Hogg¬†in a¬†press release. “However, the impact of insufficient access to food, particularly quality food, on the mortality of HIV-positive injection drug users is alarming.”

HIV/AIDS and food insecurity are “intertwined in a vicious cycle that heightens vulnerability to, and worsens the severity, of each condition,” according to this¬†2009 study.

There are many ways in which food insecurity can increase one’s risk of contracting HIV in the first place, the 2009 study notes. Surveys in Swaziland and Botswana have found that food insecure women are 80 per cent more likely to enter the sex trade and 70 per cent more likely to have unprotected sex. Food insecurity also leads to malnutrition, which can make people more susceptible to HIV infections by compromising their immune systems and “gut and genital mucosal integrity.”¬†Otherstudies¬†have also suggested that malnourished mothers are more likely to transmit HIV to their babies.

Food insecurity has also been linked with poorer drug effectiveness and lower adherence rates to treatment regimens. One paper cited in the 2009 study noted that HIV patients in Uganda receiving free drugs were still forced to choose between spending their money on transportation to clinics and using their limited funds towards feeding their children.

The 2009 study concluded that there is a growing recognition of how food insecurity impacts HIV survival rates but much more research is still needed to better understand the link.

Hogg notes that his study is only the first to examine the impact of food insecurity on HIV survival rates amongst injection drug users.

“The research points to the urgent need to further investigate the impact of food insecurity on the health outcomes of people living with HIV/AIDS,” he said in the press release.

Jennifer Yang is the Star’s global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar

Introducing Tabuchecabs.com

I did it!

This is my good deed for the month. I have been officially deemed the Tabuche Cabs Marketing Manager which means that I get a title, no salary and free rides to Tabuche Cabs marketing meetings. Oh, did I happen to mention that the owner Buche is one of my best friends here in Gaborone.

I am so happy that I have been able to assist him and his company. Now you know why he let me on the two way radio ūüôā

It is my first time ever creating a website from scratch with no IT expertise doing the hard work for me. It is certainly not my area of expertise and is still a work in progress but we are finally ready to send it out in to the Universe for all to see. A big thanks to my friend Gillian who did come to my rescue a couple time and answered very panicked questions.

World, I am happy for you to meet

http://tabuchecabs.com/

Please feel free to share this website with anyone! Who knows when they might end up in Gaborone, Botswana and need the best drivers in town. And make sure that you tell them that the Marketing Manager sent you!

I am Officially a Wimp!

I admit it! I am one of those people!

As a hardy East Coaster use to cold, even frigid cold  weather, blizzards and lots of snow you would think that I could handle winter in Africa. Well, this morning I officially wimped out.

At 6:00 am this morning I went to get out of bed and head for the shower. Instead, I crawled back under the covers after switching on the kettle for a cup of tea and turned on my air conditioner which also provides heat when needed. This morning I desperately needed that little touch of warmth before I could bravely face the world outside of my bed.

 

While I love it cool to sleep, I am not such a fan of getting up in the morning to cold floors and air. And quite frankly there is nothing worse than a steamy hot shower followed by frigid air temperatures. This morning I figured it was about 7 or 8 degrees outside and inside when I was attempting to leave the warmth of my cozy bed. Buche told me that it was actually 5 degrees outside at 6 am this morning. This fact he imparted only after laughing and making fun of me describing my frantic return to bed this morning.

In my defense, the houses here are not built with heating systems other than what the air conditioning systems provide. Nor are homes constructed using any kind of insulation. My apartment does not get any direct sunlight due the direction it faces and the shade providing roof over my patio area. While this helps to keep my rooms slightly cooler from the heat of the summer time sun, it also means that my apartment is not warmed up at all during the day by the glorious winter sunshine.

So I am happy that I took all information provided to me about the coldness of winters here before coming to Botswana seriously. Thankfully I have warm thermal and flannel clothes and even slippers which I never wear at home. Guess who has now decided slippers are a good thing? Although at times I really have to wonder because I never wore any of this stuff back home in Canada where the temperatures dip to far greater extremes. But it is really like comparing apples to oranges.

Regardless, I now know to have slippers and a warm sweater on hand close to my bed for early mornings so I am not making the mad dash back to bed. And oh, by the way, I will also continue to wear short sleeved tops because by 10 am I am sweating like a pig if I am not dressed in something sleeveless.

So early tomorrow morning I will dress for the arctic when I get out of bed but when I dress for the day it will be summer attire with a jacket or light sweater on top proving that I can be just as adaptable as the weather here in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Just Monkeying Around

Well, I might live in the city and I have certainly made lots of jokes about keeping my door open during the hot summer evenings with the danger of a baboon wandering in.

Fortunately with the on-set of winter¬†necessitating¬†me actually wearing the thermal and flannel clothing that I brought with me, I don’t leave my door open at night any more as it is way too cool.

Last night after suffering through yet another power outage, which actually was a blessing as we all got to dine at the main house on Master Chef Peter’s stir fry cooked on a bbq, I was tucked up on my room all cosy and warm thanks to my flannel pjs. As I was lounging in bed watching the season finale of The Good Wife and chatting via email with my friend Linda I thought that maybe Christmas had arrived.

You see there arose such a clatter on my roof that I was sure that Santa and 8 reindeer had touched down. After all it is now winter here in Botswana. As the noise maker clattered across my roof only to make the long jump from my terrace tin roof to the roof top next door I knew it wasn’t Santa at all. The clattering and banging could only be one thing – a baboon!

Luckily, I had brains enough to remain safely indoors and not go out to commune with Mr. Baboon. Perhaps I am finally learning some sense after all. But I just couldn’t imagine my final moments being caught “dead” in a thermal long sleeved undershirt and flannel pj bottoms ūüôā Not an attractive way to go!

Peter told me this afternoon that he had heard the noise as well all of the way in his living room and that I was very wise to not have opened my door. The only reason that the Kgale Hill baboons venture into the housing areas is a desperate search for food. Although my¬†nocturnal¬†visitor likely would have found a veritable feast in my kitchen my compassionate nature doesn’t extend to food preparation or cleaning up after a baboon. Or at least I would prefer to much better attired when I welcome guests for dinner!