When in Rome.....

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of Botswana  ,
Friday, March 2, 2012

Just a quick one before I go to bed, gosh, it is all most 9 pm. Sipping my Irish coffee, no sugar, the only way to get a decent cup of coffee here where Nescafe rules. Anyway, got to get up early tomorrow, the mokoro, a dug out boat, awaits. 
Yes, its booked, 3 days in the delta, I wanted to go longer but just imagine my poler and I don't get on, so I kept it short enough for us to stick it out. But I am not really worried, I'm sure it will be fine and the good thing is, as it is just him and me, we don't have to stick to the normal schedule. 4 hour walks are standard on the menu but not in this heat please, I just want to read and write and swim and lie in the boat, my hand trailing in the water, and watch the world go by.
I had to shop for food this afternoon. The taxi I flagged down was a mere 4 pula, 40 euro cents. Even though Maun is considered a big town shopping here is nothing like in Amsterdam, you make do and realise how spoilt you are. I got chicken, onions, spices and yogurt, which I have already turned into a dish we shall have on our first night. Ryvita, the bread is inedible, margarine, I wince, there is no real butter, corn on the cob, a cucumber, eggs, cheese, biscuits, fruit, a can of tuna, a packet of mushroom soup, pot noodles (in case the poler gets hungry), instant coffee - what's a girl to do? Next a plastic container, after-sun spray and plasters, having just cut my toe. Not sure which to chose I bring several packets to the till, meaning to ask and buy just one, but the girl misunderstands and adds them all on. No, I just want one, so she calls her superior to deduct them. We wait, and wait, after 15 minutes I say, never mind, I'll take them all. Why? she asks. Cos I'm in a hurry. She smiles sweetly as she takes my money. 'Next time you come,' she says, 'my superior will come faster.' Sure she will. I smile back to let her know I am not cross, just impatient.
Next drinks. The liquor store is quite a walk and I am lumbered with 5 liters of water plus the food and stuff. I almost consider doing without, but no, I need something to get me through the Okavango nights. It almost feels like an offense entering the off-license. Guards at the door, no female customers. To my surprise there are no bars here, nor are you allowed to drink in public. Dying for a cold drink in Gaborone I was told my only option was a hotel. No cozy bars with just the right music, no sitting in the shade and supping on a cold cider.
 's Lands wijs, 's lands eer, I'm not complaining, just taking it in.
Hot and tired, I drag myself across the road. 12 Hunters Dry extra to carry, thankful now I couldn't decide on wine, and pray a taxi will soon come my way. Lots do, but they are all full and I see people waiting further down the road who are getting them first. OK, I make my way there, wait for my turn and sigh with relief when I can finally climb in. 'Going to the backpackers?' I ask. Big mistake, of course he is, it is the only way to go, but opportunity knocks and the driver sucks in his breath and says: 'That's a special ride. That will cost you 50 Pula.' 'Ha,' I say, 'I paid 4 to get here.' 'Sorry, take it or leave it.'  Just looking at me this is not a big wager, but come on, this is ridiculous. I start getting out and then think: 'What the hell, it's still very cheap by European standards and I am fed up, I just want to get home.' So off we go and I spend the whole drive lecturing the driver on how this could not happen in Holland where we have set prices and taxi meters. It turns into an amicable conversation, the man is genuinely interested and thanks me for the talk. 'An expensive one,' I wryly reply and he laughs heartily at that. Me too, no hard feelings, nice guy.
So, off to bed now, first pack my things, quietly, for three new arrivals are already asleep in the dorm. 3 men, South Africans I have heard......:)
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