Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Overland: Day 1-3 - Greetings from Botswana!

First thing's first: You can reach me via my MTN cell number (785954285).

Next, here is the summary of the trip thus far.

Day 1: We flew from Entebbe at 6:30 on Monday morning after spending the night with our friend Rob from the CDC. AWESOME guy! He hooked us up with great beer, BBQ pork and, um, more great beer before we all crashed WAY too late for the early flight.

Entebbe is a very nice airport, and we were through customs quickly. Our flights were VERY strange in that in order to get to Jo-burg, we had to fly first to Nairobi, Kenya, wait two hours, board another plane for Kigali, Rwanda, wait 45 minutes and finally board the final plane to Jo-burg, South Africa.

I got HORRIFICALLY ill on the way to Nairobi! Not a good way to start a trip... I was having heat waves crash over me, I was sweating profusely from time to time, my head was hurting and my mind was spinning. I know what you might be thinking: Malaria. Me too. But, thankfully, I don't believe it was anything more than motion-sickness. I puked a bit on the plane to Kigali (I FINALLY GOT TO USE A BARF BAG!!!!!!), puked a lot more in Kigali (they were offering me a doctor... sweeties!) and crashed on the final plane to SA waking in the middle feeling relatively stable and ravenously hungry. The fog cleared over the next two hours, and by the time I landed, I was bright, sunny and stoked to have just finished a small bottle of Concha y Torro Cabernet. For those who have never flown with them, Rwandair is FANTASTIC!

Jo-burg: Dave had a friend in the city who met us at the airport. Gaven. Freakin' incredible human being! He drove us to his place in South Jo-burg where we showered, unpacked and met his wife before heading out to dinner. Tasty food, good beers, great company. The night ended with a long, deep sleep. The perfect end to a strange first day.

Day 2: We rose early, had some granola and yogurt and headed to the airport. After a brief goodbye with Gaven, we went through the issues with money exchange (FOREX at the airport is criminal), and getting Dave squared away with his money issues (he brought no money... only a stanbic card... and STANDARD does not take STANBIC, so he was in trouble). Once that was worked out, Natalie and I got in touch with the Bus-man who gave us some brilliant, though horrifically convoluted directions from the airport to the downtown where we would be able to catch our bus to Bulawayo (our original plan was to go straight to Zimbabwe and then transfer there onto something that takes us to Victoria Falls). Long story short, he along with everyone else freaked the living hell out of us about Jo-burg. Let me explain:

Jo-burg is VERY VERY VERY dangerous. We were told this by every single person we met. "Jo-burg is DANGEROUS. BE VERY CAREFUL!" We heard stories about people getting jumped in broad daylight, jumped in stores, alley's, streets, everywhere... my god. And the city is HUGE! So we were on high alert passing through town. On the surface, it looks amazing... like Kampala might look after another 100 years. Smooth roads, big nice buildings, ordered streets. Perfect. But always in the background, that fear of getting jumped. So we got our business done with the busses ASAP... which took quite some time.

We ended up catching a but to Gabarone, getting there late at night, realizing we had nowhere NEAR enough money to stay in such a nice place and hopped immediately on another bus Francistown.

Day3: After a strange ride (hallucinations from lack of sleep), we pulled into Francistown at around 4 am and left to the bus park to catch another bus to Kasane in the northernmost corner of Botswana. After some tea and fried bread, we caught that bus and somewhere around 6 hours later we arrived.

My god, I have run away typing again... As of now, we are finished with 18 hours of travel in the last 24 hours, and we are about 70km shy of Victoria Falls. We'll be there tomorrow jumping off of the bridge with buyngee cords on our feet! YEAH!!! Then, we'll likely stay around another day before heading into Namibia and continuing onward.

So! I am safe and loving life. South Africa and Botswana look a lot like America... EXACTLY like America, actually. It's freaky. There is just that damn underlying fear. Ugh. And then there are the prices... if we were coming straight from Jobs in the states, we'd have a much easier time buying the necessities (beer, beer, a place to set a tent, beer and... oh, food). Unfortunately, everything here is two-times more expensive than the states, so we're pinching pennies.

But we're making it.

Life is good. I'm doing GREAT. This is already one of the greatest adventures I've been on, and I am only a tenth of the way through :)

I'm off... I just shut down an internet cafe with this post.

Thanks for reading!

I love you all (but especially you, Michelle!)


P.S. Next update, I expect, will come from Namibia!

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