Lions, elephants and bears oh my
Trip Start Jan 03, 2010
84Trip End Ongoing
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A firm hug, a smile, a laugh...life was good. I was able to once again see my dear friend I haven't seen since our goodbye in the New Zealand airport. We found the man holding the sign with our names on it (I do love this) and were taken to a shiny black limousine where we would depart
We were taken to Sandton, outside JoBerg, where we would stay with my other dear friend Shanne and fiance Stephen. Shanne and I studied at university together and had managed to reconnect on the infamous Facebook. It was a beautiful place. I was overwhelmed... I was able to see two wonderful friends within an hour of eachother. A cup of hot tea was waiting...of course. One thing I remember about Shanne and her family back in Mequon was tea time...every few hours we would have biscuits and tea. Her mother loved me with my appetite and willingness to eat, drink anything set before me. Good memories of home. The four of us were able to enjoy a few hours of conversation before heading to our luxury master-bed where we would sleep for 12 hours... Jet lag had set in.
The following two evenings in Sandton were absolutely exciting and entertaining. We were invited to join Shanne and Stephen for "a few drinks" after work Friday evening. I, being a bit of a home-body at times...yes...reluctantly agreed to join. They live in one of those places you want to wear your ugly sweatpants, big slippers and oversized sweatshirt and lay on the couch in complete comfort and satisfaction. It turned out to be a great night out in the town however, meeting new friends, having good conversation, amazing food and laughs... In between inhaling the wonderful food that evening we discovered 80% of the dinner table was going to the Coldplay concert the following day
We had them. Within an hour we had tickets to the concert. Happy girls. Happy belated Birthday to me, Happy Trip to us...Happy Happy day! Getting out of bed the following morning was a bit tough but we made it happen. We met 20 some people early that afternoon where we would be shuttled to the concert grounds. What a day. A beautiful, warm day where we spent hours in the parking lot having a braai and a few Savannahs (my favorite South African drink) before the evening would begin. What a concert. The Parlatones opened for Coldplay and wow...incredible music. We were entertained from the beginning to the end. A concert to not be forgotten.
The following morning we awoke early as someone from the safari would be arriving to pick us up. It was safari time. Safari time baby. Sweet little Joy would be our driver to Kruger Park...a 5 hour ride. She turned out to become one of our new friends along our journey. And of course "Lyman" or Lyme I should say...her boyfriend, partner in crime, safari man! They had worked met working for another safari camp and had relocated to Tydon Safari Camp where they would continue their journey with the wild animals of Africa
So I of course enjoy changing peoples names...adding to a name, taking away a portion of someones name and making it fit my humor... I enjoyed the name Lyman more than the original Lyme. So I changed it for him. It stuck. It caught on by all... Lyman soon became the brunt of the jokes and was a bit harassed while we were there, but all in good fun.
The safari was amazing. Wouldn't have changed a thing about it. Six days on safari was perfect. We stayed in luxury, canvas domed tents with comfortable beds, vanity, showers and toilet right in our room...it was beautiful. Each day they would come and clean our room, fold our clothes (which okay wasn't necessary) and freshen things up. Amazing. The food was incredible. Absoulutey wonderful. South Africa once again was adding to my waistline which was causing problems with my limited wardrobe. Surely this needed to stop but I couldn't! I was raised to finish my plate, eat the "little bit left in the bowl" so mom didn't have to stick it in a tupperware. "Oh come on Shana...it's just a little, eat up" my mom always said.
The animals. The main point of this entry right? No bears, I know what some of you are thinking because of my nice title up there. We saw it all though...we saw the Big 5 within the first day and a half. It was incredible...unreal to see the animals with my own eyes in their natural habitat roaming the land
The night drives were some of the best moments on safari. We were able to off-road on the private reserve of Sabi Sand which was right up my alley of course. Up and down steep hills, bumpity bump bump...I loved it. I practically begged...okay I did beg, to be the spotter on the front of the vehicle for the evening drives but was denied. Lyman denied me. I tried hard to impress him with my far-distant spotting of hippos and such but when revealed to be a large tree stump I think I lost my ground for privaleges.
I think I can speak for Kristy and myself in saying we learned much, had a wonderful time, were spoiled with wonderful treatment from the staff and had a few belly laughs about the American engineers that joined us for 4 days. Yes...I was a bit nervous we'd be talking scientifics with them but it turned out to be good fun
For a few hours one afternoon the group joined Lyman for a guided bush-walk. Intimidating at first it was seeing as how Joy informed us "not to get out of the vehicle" during our drives (I wanted to jump out a few times and get my free monkey ride...I've pretty much "ridden out all my options these days")...anyhow, and now we found ourselves walking in the path of the lions. The American young-man in front of us caused a few laughs to say the least. Definitely not an outdoors man, a man who can handle a few branches touching him, a little dirt on his shoes or the sun on his face. We had a hard time holding in the internal outbursts of laughter and "what the hell are you doing on safari" comments...but I remained nice. We'll never forget it. We felt like real women!
The final day came and went. We were taken back to Sandtonn where we would once again spend time with Shanne and Stephen...after renting our box-car rental at the airport of course. We had arranged to rent a car for several days which would be wonderful freedom on the roads of Africa. I was the sole driver. A bit nervous of course initially as the Africans have a way with driving, beside the fact it's once again getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road, opposite side steering wheel and manually shifing. But we did it. We literally were a tag team driving out of the airport. I needed help on all levels driving that dang white car but we made it. And by the following day I was doing my usual 20 over on the highway! Just kidding mom...ha!