The ladies of Shalott....
Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
138Trip End May 01, 2013
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Walking back to the boat Paula tried to capture the Delta trip in, first, four words; 'Expensive waste of time' and then in a single word; 'Underwhelming'. When Vik was asked for a single word she went off on such a violent tirade that it was beyond doubt that she was having nothing but a fabulous time....!
Our poler made us a wonderful reed flower necklace on our return journey which softened our disappointment a little. Some of the other polers were poling in between texting! Texting? In Africa? They'll be smoking next...(as Uncle Norman used to say...)
Arriving back at camp, we all realised that it was going to be up to us to make our own fun so, ignoring the dagger stares of the women, we set up a 'Downball' tournament, BBQ'd hot-dogs for lunch, swam in the Delta (laughing in the face of snakes, crocs and poisonous spiders...), the boys tried their hands at poling (with varying degrees of success), the girls went on a treasure hunt to collect things for a craft session and we popped some corn - all in a valiant effort to pass the time and make the experience worth while. It seemed to work - our smiles returned as we created effigies of Alun and Bella in 'craft hour', constructed a beautiful 'African Bouquet' and turned our hands to bracelets woven from weeds (we had asked if the women would teach us but both requests were silently ignored - so we taught ourselves!). They were selling their handicraft and had lad out their wares - perhaps not realising we might be more willing to buy their products if they didn't look at us with hatred! Most of us decided that they wouldn't be getting our money!
A sunset mokoro ride was scheduled for this evening (we had already informed our guide that we were not interested in the morning safari as there was truly nothing to see!) so this was our last attempt to enjoy the Delta experience.Three words; NEMESIS SUB-TERRA....or to put it another way - expensive, time consuming, disappointment of the highest level.
We did see hippos basking in a pool but the cloud cover obscured the sunset completely. Last chance saloon closed for business. The one saving grace was the enjoyment we got as we pulled alongside each other in our dug-out boats and were told to be quiet as the hippos were very close. One girl with a wheat intolerance had developed a severe case of flatulence after eating some bread and as the group fell silent she squeaked out a loud parp amplified beautifully by the hollow canoe - we weren't sure what the hippos thought but we thought it was bloody hilarious! Simple pleasures...
Back at camp we prepared dinner, avoided or returned stares from the women depending on our mood, and over a couple of vodkas Paula asked Papillion why the ladies seemed so angry and had we done something to upset them. It turned out that two of the women had an argument and this was the source of the tension - very poor show!
The home brew we had mixed from a packet into one of the jerry cans the previous day turned out (surprisingly) to be yeasty vileness so we gave it one of our polers who looked like he'd been drinking paraffin out of a can for twenty years - he was very grateful! As the discomfort grew between the women, us and the cooking rights we confirmed the cancellation of our morning walk and hit the sack early whereby the women showed their respect for us by screeching at each other for a further two hours..
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.