- “In space, simply getting dressed for work is an hour-long undertaking. You’ve got your Thermal Comfort Undergarment, your Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment, your Boot Sizing Inserts, your Lower Torso Assembly, your Arm Assemblies and Hard Upper Torso, your gloves with individual finger adjustments, your bioinstrumentation system, your communications assembly, and your helmet.”
- David Sedaris on China, “What you’re hearing, that incessant guttural hiss, is the sound of one person, and then another, dredging up phlegm, seemingly from the depths of his or her soul.”
- Mary Roach researches the strangest things. “What you would not learn is why the FDA might put a limit on insects’ heads and not other parts of their anatomy, what rat excreta tastes like and what sort of person takes a job that entails searching for insect heads in fig cookie innards.”
- Currently reading Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong“.
- Suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge. “The only way to keep people like these from jumping would be to put up fencing, which the Bridge District thinks would spoil the view.”
- Too all the women who saw me on the road on Sunday, saw me struggling, watched me give up on the race and myself, and stop and whispered a word of encouragement, told me to stick with you, told me that a sub two-hour half-marathon was still possible, thank you. I would not have continued if it weren’t for your kindness.
- And in other running related news, I’ve signed up for the Two Oceans Ultra. Now for the hard part – qualifying.
- I’m losing track of all the innocent black men shot down by police officers in the United States. Serena Williams has this to say on the topic.
- Will and Grace have reunited to encourage American citizens to vote. Their take on Donald Trump is brilliant.
- This foodie’s Instagram account!
- If you need a good laugh, this Tumblr account called Racial Misprofiling will do the trick.
- I’m so ready to book my flights to Ecuador. I’ve set a deadline for myself. Those tickets need to be purchased before my birthday in December. Here’s a blog post on touring the Amazon jungle in Ecudor.
- This hostel in Ecuador looks amazing. I really hope I get to stay there when I head to Ecuador. When I get to Ecuador. Not IF.
- One last article on Ecuador. For today. A family bike the Quilotoa Loop.
- If you’re in Cape Town and looking for fluffy, American-styled pancakes, may I suggest Giulio’s Cafe?
- Nicole recently wrote about her decision to enroll in culinary school. As usual her words struck a nerve.“Not taking a chance, not putting myself out there, not facing my fears – none of that will slow down time.”
I got my first taste of magical realism this year through Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, “Love in the time of cholera”. I didn’t love it. I hated it. I found it over the top. Too romantic. Too unrealistic. Just too much.
And if you were to ask me what the novel was about, I would probably reply with something glib, “It’s about a guy, who falls in love with a girl. They exchange letters and declare eternal everlasting love. She eventually breaks it off him and does something sensible by marrying a doctor. He whores around, and hopes that one day her husband will die. Not that he ever does anything to hasten the doctor’s death. Wimp.”
“Like water for chocolate” falls under the same genre, but oh boy am I emotionally invested in these characters. Eighteen pages in and I was whispering to the protagonist, Tita, “Man, you’ve got to poison that bitch.” The bitch of course is her mother, who forced Pedro, the love of her life to marry Tita’s sister.
Here’s a quote from the novel:
“Tita lowered her head, and the realization of her fate struck her as forcibly as her tears struck the table. From then on they knew, she and the table, that they could never have even the slightest say in the unknown forces that fate Tita to bow before her mother’s absurd decision, and the table to continue to receive the bitter tears that she had shed on the day of her birth.”
From left to right:
- Photo of me and the niece taken by my dad
- Last two photos were taken in Kleinsky’s in Sea Point. They serve the most delicious bagels. The photos of prints of embroidery. Work by Danielle Clough.
A list of my favourite travel photos and stories:
I’m looking forward to my next adventure: hiking the Whale Trail. I’m a little apprehensive that I’ll be the weakest link and that I won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the guys.
Here are the last of the Victoria Falls photos.
There are times where you spend years dreaming of a country, palace or monument. Some place magical and far faraway. The type of place where unicorns eat straight from your hands; and all the men are taller than you. You trace the outlines of train routes and flight paths, and you memorise the names of unpronounceable cities. You save up oodles of cash and rack up all your courage to make this a reality; only to arrive at your destination and end up disappointed. (Here’s looking at you Eiffel Tower.)
The Victoria Falls was not one of those times. I girly squealed the minute I laid eyes on the falls. The sound, the rainbow, the light spray of water on your skin, was simply too much for me to contain my delight.
The boring stuff
I went to the falls at the end of July, when water levels of fairly low and didn’t feel that it was necessary to hire a raincoat when visiting the falls. I got slightly wet, but the spray from the falls was relief in the heat.
I visited the falls from the Zambian side and Zimbabwean side. The entry fee from the Zimbabwean side was $30 and $20 on the Zambian side. I definitely think that the view from the Zimbabwean side is better.
On the Zambian side, I walked over to the edge of the falls with a guide. There is a warning sign stating that one should only ever walk to the edge with an official guide. There are also jagged, little rocks at the edge of the river to stop people from doing stupid things and walking towards the edge.
As a South African I didn’t have to pay an entry fee to cross over the Zimbabwean and Zambian borders.
I wish that I’d spent more time in Victoria Falls. I wish that I’d done a daytrip to Chobe National Park. (The price I paid for the 15 minute helicopter ride $165 was the same price as a 10 hour daytrip to Chobe. I do not regret the helicopter ride.) I wish that I’d hiked to the very bottom of the falls. I wish that I’d had High Tea at The Victoria Falls Hotel.
The original plan was to have High Tea at The Victoria Falls Hotel. I use the term “plan” lightly. By plan I mean that someone suggested it and I thought it was a good idea. I took no steps to bring this to fruition. I did no research. I did not jot off a polite query to Professor Google. And as a consequence I have no idea how much High Tea costs, or what time it is scheduled.
In the end, I popped into the hotel on the very day I was to fly out. I walked through the lush grounds overlooking the falls, I snapped pictures of everything that took my fancy, and then proceeded to order the least expensive thing on the menu. I ordered the Eton Mess, a scrumptious dessert of meringue, cream and strawberries. At $10, I can assure you that I scrapped every ounce of cream from that damn bowl.
Anyway, here are some pictures of the hotel.
Side note: The manageress at the hotel was an absolute doll. She showed me around the grounds and stated that the best time to visit the hotel is at sunrise or sunset. Next time!
My credit card statement finally arrived and I’ve spent approximately R14 000 on my four day trip to Vic Falls.
Below is a short breakdown of my travel expenses:
- R7 567 for return flights from Cape to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Tickets purchased via the Travelstart website.
- R235 on a shuttle from my apartment to the airport.
- $30 (R 397) for a taxi from the Vic Falls airport to the falls
- $30 entry fee to the falls on the Zimbabwean side.
- $5 dollars (R80) for a smoothie at the Rainforest Café.
- $10 (R133) for a taxi from the Zambian border to my hostel.
- $20 (R 265) entry fee to falls on Zambian side.
- R200 “tip” for accepting the offer of an unofficial guide to take me to the edge of the falls.
- $65 (R887) for a sunset cruise. Fondly referred to as the “booze cruise” as the trip included free beverages, snacks and dinner. Note that the vegetarian fare is a rather sad affair (baked potato, coleslaw and a green salad.)
- $165 (R2 438) for a 15 minute helicopter ride. I was lucky enough to be upgraded to a 30 minute flight.
- $10 for an Eton Mess at the Victoria Falls Hotel.
- $15 (R200) for a night in an 8 bed mixed dorm at Jollyboys. The free WIFI was absolutely terrible at this hostel.
- $12 (R160) for a night in a 16 mixed dorm Jollyboys.
- $14 (R186) for a night in a 6 man dorm at Livingstone Backpackers.
Photograph taken on the “booze cruise”.
In the end I ran out of time, and I would have loved to have gone on a daytrip from Zambia to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Next time!
About a month or two ago, I booked a plane ticket to Victoria Falls. I didn’t do much research before booking the ticket.
I booked the ticket because I wanted to escape the Cape Town winter and craved the warmth of the sun on my skin. I booked the ticket because I couldn’t get the idea that it has been almost a month since I last visited a new country. I booked the ticket because for the longest time ever I had stared at a pamphlet of the Victoria Falls Marathon on my fridge. I booked the ticket because Victoria Falls Airport is only a 45 minute flight from Johannesburg International. I booked the ticket because I had the money.
If I’d done the research I would have known that there is more than one way to fly to Victoria Falls. I flew from Cape Town to Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe, via Johannesburg. If I’d done my research I’d have known that I could have flown to Victoria Falls via Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, Zambia. If I’d known this I would have checked flight prices for both airports and might have scored a better deal.
If I’d done my research then I’d have known that South African’s don’t have to pay any visa fees for Zambia or Zimbabwe.
If I’d done my research I’d have known that the walk down to the falls is closed on the Zimbabwean side.
(Note: Even though I didn’t know any of the above-mentioned facts I still visited both sides of the falls.)
Here are some pictures taken on my first day of the trip.
At present, the data will only be able for viewing from the interactive map. Please let me know if we can make this information available for download too.
From left to right:
- Sunset over the Zambezi River.
- Hippos seen from a safe distance.
- Me standing at the edge of Victoria Falls, on the Zambian side.
On Friday, 22 June, hours before I was to board my plane from Cape Town to Victoria Falls Airport, the fear and anxiety I had felt when I first booked my tickets, had not dissipated. My imaginative mind kept making a detailed list of all the things that could go wrong.
- My shuttle would arrive late and I would miss my flight. (And if I were to be honest, I would admit that there was a little part of me that was hoping this would happen. A “real” excuse not to do something that scared me.)
- There would be some problem at customs and I’d be forced to fly back home.
- There would be another National Shutdown in Zimbabwe and I wouldn’t find anyone willing to take me to the Zambian border.
- I’d have to argue with every taxi driver about the fare.
- I’d get lost and wouldn’t know how to get back to my hostel.
- I’d be underwhelmed and disappointed by the sight of the falls.
- I’d be painfully and achingly lonely. That after spending only a few hours in Victoria Falls, I’d want to flee home.
These negative thoughts would occasionally be offset by the highlights reel of previous travel experiences. I remembered each an every stranger, who helped me when I lost or didn’t quite understand how to use the subway. I remembered the old Turkish guy, who gave me a lift to the bus station on his scooter, placing my unwieldy suitcase firmly between his legs. I remember taking a “taxi” in Mozambique. The taxi was a bakkie*, with a canopy made of wood. And I remember marveling at the men, who stood on the edge of the bakkie, arms clinging to the wooden frame. And I remember wondering about safety standards of this particular automobile. But only briefly. When we started moving and I felt the wind in my hair, this momentary doubt was replaced by a feeling of being free.
And I remembered all of these things, and I smiled. For a moment, the fear and anxiety I felt about travelling, was assuaged.
*Bakkie is also known as a pick-up truck in other parts of the world …