Game Park

Trip Start Sep 15, 2009
Trip End Nov 21, 2009

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

We headed out with our new people onto the open road for a semi-short drive.  The new guys are a couple from Aussie(Allie, James), Dutchie(Tamar), and a Brit(Donna).  They are all our age and seem pretty cool so far.  This morning, I decided to shave my beard because of the simple fact I was bored.  I guess I like change so much that I broke my promise to myself and to so many people even though I said I would keep it growing the entire time I was on the trip to Cape Town.  So I made my way early before we would set off back to the barber from the previous day and told him to shave it all off.  I brought a friend and he took some pictures of the process.  It was first trimmed down to its lowest level and then he gave me a shave with a dual disposable razor blade.  It really felt weird to have the beard be completely off since I spent a lot of time growing it and not caring about it.  But it was finally off and I kind of felt better for it.  Maybe it’s the OCD in me, or maybe it ’s the old military guy in me that has to look clean shaven at all times.  I think I also look less serious with a clean face too and a lot more friendly to the locals which I think can go a long way.  We were both picked up by the truck and all of the group was really surprised that I shaved my beard off.  I was received with a warm response and I felt a little better.  -On the road again.  It is kind of weird to be on our last leg of the trip, and to have new people.  I think when a bunch of us first started the trip, there were many people that were just finishing their two months together and didn’t really bother with talking with the “newbies” too much.  I knew this would happen to me and I can totally understand.  After 5 weeks of this kind of traveling, it can become a little daunting.  And you can only ask the same questions to the new guys like, “where you going/been, where you from, what do you do….etc.”  Not that we don’t ask these questions, it’s just that I guess we are kind of warn in and the initial excitement has warn off a bit.   But I think we do still try to make everyone feel as though they are welcome.  My friend Rasmus from Denmark has been going through a few hard days because I think he is kind of beat in from this trip and because he has lost a person he really cares for.  The only problem is that she(Paula) didn’t feel the same way about him.  Poor guy!  I think he just looks in all the wrong places for it and falls in love way too quickly.  They remained friends despite the differences of opinion.  Another border crossing into Botswana which makes it my 7th country in Africa I’ve been to.  Sweet!!!  I did manage to find a branch to do my pull-ups on and of course I couldn’t find it anywhere hidden from people.  So I had to do my routine in front of people that of course were staring.  If I could choose to, I would choose to do it away from people.  But I would rather do it in front of people than not do it at all.  
Chobe 10/30
We had an early morning game drive through Chobe National Park which I think is the premier game park of Botswana.  It started at 6am but would only last until 9am.  So we had to move quickly if we wanted to see some animals.  Botswana is famous for its super-tall elephants and we sure did see a lot of them.  It was a nice park but nowhere near the amount of wildlife as in other parks.  Especially the Serengeti or in the Ngongonoro Crater.  But I still enjoy them.  We did see a family of lions that had two little cubs but we could only see them for a very short time before they disappeared into the bush never to be seen again.  Nothing really much happened on this drive.  We had a few hours to chill out so I managed to slip in a two hour nap since I just didn’t feel alive all morning after I woke up.  I woke up in a pile of sweat on my pillow and sleeping bag.  It was noon and lunch was only an hour away, I knew I would have to act fast if I wanted to run before I ate.  Since I knew I would be feeling great soon from my nap, I quickly got ready to run and then set off quickly in the hot mid-day sun.  I ran 15 minutes out of town and then back again.  All in desert like conditions that not too many people would run in.  Except for a-holes like me!  Again, I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to do it and I take it when I can.  The heat doesn’t bother me but it was hot as hell out there!  Soon after lunch I took a much needed swim in the hotel pool before our boat game drive.  3:15pm rolled around and we all shuttled onto our boat for a Chobe River game ride.  It was actually a pretty good boat ride.  We saw the usual wildlife, but it was from a different perspective so it was really neat!  We saw crocs, buffalo, hippos, birds, deer things, and elephants.  The best thing we saw was a huge herd of elephants crossing the river together.  It was about 20 adult male elephants crossing together and they just had to walk across it and they were good.  The water came up to the top of their heads but they raised their trunks to breathe air.  The procession was really amazing to see them all cross so effortlessly.  When they reached the other side, all the elephants took dirt and threw it all over their bodies.  I assume to protect them from the sun.  Soon after the elephant crossing, the sun set and it was a pretty beautiful setting.  We made our way back to our hotel right before dusk and ate some awesome chicken cordon bleu.  Thanks Denford!  
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