Rae Dyer

Joined June 2017Living in: Melbourne, Australia
  • Day2

    Club Mitt

    March 7 in Australia

    Anyone who has ever bought their first home will understand the deep connection you have to the house. It’s not just real estate. 9 Mittagong Street, Enoggera or “Club Mitt”, was my actually our first home. I was working for YHA the housing market hadn’t yet boomed and we were on minimum wages. We had arrived back from living in London wanting to get on with life and buy a house so we saved the deposit and after many many ok another many, inspections we fell in love with 9 Mittagong St. For the first 7 years it was all about improving the house, making a dent in the mortgage and just setting up the future.

    Latte was our first pet, Bacci the cat lasted a few days then went back, Shiraz the red fighting fish died in our hands and I arrived home one day from work to a second cockatiel, Benedict. It was also where I fell head over heels for a crazy little rescue dog called Ruby who was prompted renamed Molly. As a young dog she used to run around the perimeter of the backyard so often she wore a track in the grass. It’s probably never grown back the same. Latte outlived them all and I am pleased to say, is still very much the happy chirpy little bird she always was.

    Many friends and family events took place in that house over the years as well. We had heartbroken friends join us with their dogs when their relationships ended, friends from the opposite side of the world or interstate come and stay, a friend who came to house sit and stayed 18 months and family, lots of family. Some of which are no longer with us, many who are. And countless parties.

    Our late 20’s to late 30’s were spent at Club Mitt. Despite the often boozy (very boozy) parties I still remember some funny things. No names have been included to protect the innocent, but you know who you are.....

    There was the great rum gargle competition of Christmas circa, 2002?, the inflatable swimming pool that I may or may not have attempted to swan dive into, Happy Birthday Mr PPP President with associated props, cracking out the musical instruments and jamming like we believed were actually good, the 80’s music that made the police dance at our door when they had to investigate a complaint, and on some occasions me “choosing” to sleep under the stars or on the deck next to Molly. Funny how I usually went to bed in the great outdoors with little comfort yet always woke up with a pillow a blanket and a bucket. The dog box usually turned out to be quite luxurious.

    Last week I closed the door on Club Mitt. It was a sad day but my memories remain happy and I am smiling as I write this.

    For those who have reached this part of the blog, I can only assume you have been or are now jealous as hell not to have been to Club Mitt. I would love to hear the memories from other people of their time there. I may have missed something in the haze ..

    Here’s cheers and thanks, it was the best first home a girl could ever wish for.
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  • Day106

    Busy is the new boring

    December 12, 2017 in Australia

    It’s been a while since I posted to the blog, because quite frankly I have been busy, very busy, too busy in fact.

    Now it’s been a busy year. How often do you hear that at this time of the year! I challenge anyone to conclude on reflection that the year for them has been anything other than busy. It would be refreshing in a way to hear someone say “you know, all things considered I have had a pretty quiet year”. But I doubt that is ever going to happen as 1. it’s probably not true and 2. if it was, no one is going to admit it for fear of being considered boring, so here we are stuck in the cycle of busyness. But funnily enough when you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while or spoken to regularly and ask them what they have been up to they will find it hard to tell you exactly, other than “oh I have been busy. Flat out actually, never a spare minute, sorry I haven’t been in touch it’s just I have been so busy”.

    Busy is the new boring.

    So for those those who have been following along this year, 2017 has been a year where I have had some major highs, major lows, periods of extreme busyness and periods where I felt every single minute like it was a lifetime. There was still only 24 hours in each day, yet some days felt shorter and some longer. If I were asked to describe the year I have had, I would default to busy. So I am going to challenge myself to a new mindset and see if I can describe it another way.

    For me, 2017 has been transformational. When I signed my permanent contract early in the year I could never have predicted the year at work I was about to have. It came with more twists and turns than a Luna Park roller coaster, some days were long and stressful but each of them shifted me to another gear. Career wise, it’s the best year I can remember and I look forward to what next year brings. It was good busy.

    Personally though it was also very sad. In fact, still sad as I sit here writing this as it was the year that my relationship of 23 years ended. We don’t have relationships in isolation of others, so the loss went well beyond just the two of us. Some connections through that relationship have changed and some now gone too. You could say I have been busy grieving. But that is usually an internal busyness and one we don’t articulate well when asked what you been up to.

    Then I had the absolute luxury of 10 weeks globetrotting. I limped onto the plane in June and leapt off in August. Transformed in many ways but still keeping to the core. I am by no means a totally new person but one who has had the time to step back from the daily busyness and work out what is really important for me.

    So what were some major lessons from 2017 for me? The one’s that come to mind are (in no particular order):

    * Everyone is busy
    * No one is too busy to miss out on what they really want to do
    * Kindness must at all times prevail in a break up. No exceptions.
    * Some family and friends will be there for you, and some won’t. That is ok. They are all busy.
    * People are flawed
    * Animals are not
    * The years fly by so quickly, do what fills your heart
    * The only constant is change

    So friends I put the challenge out to you. What lessons has your busyness brought about this year?
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  • Day51

    Password Pain

    October 18, 2017 in Australia

    Now I know this issue is not just something I experience but it’s forming a life of its own and I need group support!

    Passwords.

    Yes those small little digital lines of text that are designed to keep all your money and information safe and secure from those who want to steal it from you. Seems rather noble on the surface but to me this issue has become so present I feel like it has moved in and started drinking my beer from the fridge!!!

    Most of us on a daily basis login to our bank accounts, email, social networking, work computers and home laptops and unless you are super lucky to have the magic software that just remembers the last time you entered the password you will be asked to enter a combination of somewhere between 6 and 8 upper case, lower case, numerical and symbol characters. Now I don’t know about you, and perhaps the amount of big nights I have had over the years are catching up with me, but I have lost control over this. I can’t remember from one day to the next what I put in there, even if it’s only the next day after I have bought a pair of shoes from the site that needs a password and paid for them using my encrypted PayPal account. There are some software programs out there that help but my iPad doesn’t talk to my Android phone or pass the message down the line to my Mac Air who certainly isn’t going to share with my HP.

    So I have done what comes naturally and tried to create some form of logic to apply so I don’t forget it. But logic lets me down. Each company who insists I am better off entering a password has a different requirement. It would be far too logical for them to standardise the requirement or even more logical for them to give you a hint around the order they wanted things in when you set up the account in the first place.

    I know internet fraud is a thing. But seriously this is a thinger thing than that. I want a password amnesty and I want it now. Say no to passwords. What would happen then??? Would our money really get stolen?? Is this just the culture of fear taking over, are we terrified by digital terrorism?

    So digital service providers, hear my plea. PLEASE bring in iris technology and do it soon because I am about to poke my own damn eyes out which of course would leave me high and dry in the future.

    Until then I am going to stuff $50 notes into the lounge like the good old days. I won’t be able to pay my bills online so when the debt collector arrives, I will just pull out a wad and send him or her on their merry way. I am done with single sign on that is anything but that, so I am taking the road less travelled, single sign off.

    Nanoo Nanoo.
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  • Day37

    Gel Fix

    October 4, 2017 in Australia

    In the 70s there was an adhesive glue product called Gel Fix. In conducting a quick search 40 years later I think it has been rebranded to another name under the Selleys label. The product still exists though and this is also a fortunate coincidence because my favourite childhood possession was named after a glue product and he is still going pretty strong today. He could be the poster boy for Selleys.

    So Gelfix (one word) was well travelled and lived a full life before retiring to the back of Mum and Dads spare linen cupboard. He went to America (loved Disneyland), went to Fiji, sailed on the Oriana and had numerous holidays on the Gold Coast, one of which had him buried in the backyard and the whole family searching for him. Fortunately after several hours he was retrieved from his early grave and hung by his ears on the line to dry. This was a good day for Gelfix.

    Gelfix is now around 45 human years old. And despite his nose disappearing some time ago and losing an eye (evidence that it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye) he still makes me smile. I mean when you really think about it, who wouldn’t be happy when they sit back all these years later and think about the first best friend they ever had and go “you know what, my parents were on the money when they let me name a teddy bear after a tough hardware product”. School of hard knocks rule 101..... no soft names for soft toys you hear me....

    So here’s to you Gelfix. Tonight I am going to finish sanding the putty in the hole in the wall and pull out the paint tin. I have some maintenance to be done around here and hey who knows I may even need some liquid nails at some point to finish the job. Keep going strong little buddy! You are just lucky we didn’t call you Selley.....
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  • Day26

    Melbourne Moments

    September 23, 2017 in Australia

    Melbourne has long sat at the top or very close to the top of the worlds most liveable city list. Don't believe me or my bias, it's just a thing. The Liveability Ranking assesses living conditions in 140 cities around the world. A rating of relative comfort for 30 indicators is assigned across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure. Melbourne only loses points for petty crime, culture (seriously?) and climate, yet still scores in the high 90's out of 100.

    But what is also a thing is that no matter how amazing the city you live in is, if you live there long enough you forget how lucky you are. Until quite out of the blue on a random Friday night you find yourself jumping off a tram at the city hall and walking down Swanston St to a bar on the river to meet a friend. The energy levels in that 400 metres of pavement are palpable. The Melbourne Storm supporters are all dressed in their gear heading to AAMI stadium for their knock out final against the Brisbane Broncos, workers, tourists, homeless and schoolies fill every available table and chair in the area because on this night Mother Nature decided to play nicely. The weather was just a perfect temperature for an end of week drink. And there I stood, stopped among it all having a Melbourne Moment.

    This term is not mine, it technically belongs to my friend Rob but for anyone who has moved here from anywhere else you will know what I mean when I say it's the moment that just hits you, where you are captivated and have to pinch yourself because oh my god, I actually live here. No longer a visitor but a fully fledged resident in the worlds most liveable city.

    Today I am going out with a friend who has recently arrived in Melbourne. While we are spending the day somewhere that I have been many times before, it is new to her and I sincerely hope I get to see her experience an MM. I certainly know that I intend to take the time today to appreciate who I am with, where I am and what I am doing and I hope to get another MM myself. I probably will. I am taking my camera today as well. It will be interesting to see what arrives in front of the lens. Hopefully another side, I have somehow not seen before. That would be cool.

    So, it would be un-Melbourne of me to finish without mentioning the weather. Today's forecast, is FAIR. Which means, there will be patches of sun, a top of 27 degrees, some cloud, strong gusts of wind and possibly some rain. Not sure what part of that is fair but I guess when you are the worlds liveable city for years you earn the right to call it what you want.

    And on that, I am off now to get ready to capture another Melbourne Moment.
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  • Day1

    10 outta 10

    August 29, 2017 in Australia

    I went back to work today. - end of blog -

    -------------------------------------------

    Haha, no it wasn't that bad but I have been reflecting on what the highlights have been over the past 10 weeks and am finding it difficult to distill it down, so I have decided to apply a criteria. Naturally the highlight for me was catching up with old friends and making new ones, (always about the people) but the places also deserve attention.

    The first criteria was that the list contains only experiences and locations.
    The second criteria I have applied was, would I do it again and/or did it leave me wanting more.

    Again the list far exceeded the 10 but now, I think I am there...

    Number 10 - Crocodile Valley Campsite, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.

    Paradise in the middle of nowhere! The campsite was on a river with wild animals and this is the place where we had to pitch our tents quite far apart so the elephants could pass through at night. We were surrounded by wildlife, saw lions with their cubs only metres from the safari truck and the camp itself had a beautiful bar area, swimming pool and hot showers with a monsoon shower head. As far as campsites go, this was hard to top.

    Number 9 - My birthday, the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

    The village walk on this day was just lovely. We saw people harvesting rice, we drank banana beer and the lunch was delicious. After that we travelled to our campsite where I was treated after dinner with a Masai song and a birthday cake. The tent was pitched on beautiful soft grass and I slept perfectly in the tranquility of the mountains. It's a birthday I won't forget.

    Number 8 - Blue Dot Festival, Jodrell Bank, England.

    I wrote a blog post about the humans of Blue Dot but the event itself was pretty spectacular as well. The musical line up was excellent from the beginners stage to the big stage under the telescope. The light installations at night were just gorgeous and the science presentations and discussions during the day were really interesting. What a fortunate accident to stumble onto this at the last minute.

    Number 7 - Liverpool, England.

    This was just a lovely surprise. The weather was warm here and it was where I ditched the van for a couple of days in exchange for a hotel on the waterfront with a shower and a TV! The Beatles tour was well worn but also intimate with the guide pulling out his guitar at various locations and singing a Beatles song to the half a dozen of us on the top of an open bus. The setting, the food, the coffee and the beer were all good in Liverpool.

    Number 6 - The Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell, England.

    I could have moved in here. When I think of Heligan I smile. Being a lover of Gardens and the great outdoors this was always going to hit the sweet spot but it was better than I could possibly have imagined and I stayed there for hours. I rolled out my sarong at one point and just laid on the grass staring up at the sky. Mother Nature at her absolute finest.

    Number 5 - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

    Vast open spaces like outback Australia with animals everywhere. We did several days on game drives and every time was different. We saw all the usual suspects with the added bonus of two leopards and a hungry cheetah. I loved that cheetah it was so beautiful and she took off after some impala but fortunately for me, not her, the impala lived to see another day.

    Number 4 - Latitude Festival, Henham Park, Suffolk, England.

    This was by far the largest music and cultural festival I have experienced and certainly the only one with resident pink sheep. It was 4 days of constant entertainment some names I knew, many I didn't but I loved everything from the comedy to the cabaret, to the 1975's and Fat Boy Slim, and the food forage walking tour around the forest followed by a breakfast Bloody Mary. Good old fashioned festival fun for number four. Hot tip, if you ever find yourself in a Campervan at Latitude, skip the open plan shower and take a bucket.

    Number 3 - Zanzibar, Tanzania.

    Arriving in Zanzibar was so exciting, the ferry terminal was wall to wall with people and the buzz incredible. It was an infectious energy and after some long days on the truck it was just what we all needed. We saw an incredible sunset from a rooftop, ate street food at the night market (hellllooo Zanzibar soup!!!) and over the few days also managed to snorkel on a reef and drink cocktails on snow white sand. I thought I would like Zanzibar, but it's number 3 for a reason, it stands high on the list of all my holiday experiences and definitely left me wanting more.

    Number 2 - Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

    This was natures giant zoo. A 20km wide volcanic crater filled from every angle with animals. The drive around the crater's rim was in a rainforest with a mist so thick it was difficult to see anything other than smokey green and a few baboon, but arriving at the edge and driving down into the crater was just sensational. The wildebeests were walking in formation, there were huddles of zebra, so many hippos in the pond you could mistake it for logs in the water and in the far distance a sea of pink flamingos. It was the nature experience of a lifetime and one I would do again in a heartbeat.

    And the experience that through this process claims the top spot is .....

    Number 1 - Lisbon, Portugal.

    Portugal wasn't part of the plan but again just a reminder that plans are never set in stone. Sometimes they are made and go exactly the way you envisage and other times they don't, but for me Lisbon was a happy accident. The sun shone all week, I body surfed at the beach twice, road an electric bike around the mountain, went to a private concert in a castle, had dinner in a very cool part of the city with a new friend, didn't have to worry about coriander in my food, and took a train trip to an old royal castle. It was mostly easy because I had a fully self contained apartment, I shopped at the markets and cooked my dinner once, but mostly I went out so I could practice my Span-Francais-Portuguese with the locals. I was obviously so good at it they respectfully responded in English.

    Si Obrigada Au Revoir Lisboa, and to every other experience that taught me something or made me smile, I say Thank You.
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  • Day31

    Lesson for the real world

    August 28, 2017 in South Africa

    I was not a particularly good high school student. Mum says it's because I was bored and she is right, I just didn't find much of the content all that interesting or consider it particularly relevant for my future. So by and large, I tuned out. But there was one lesson that I do distinctly remember, it is still clear to this day and it's relevance has become much deeper over time.

    It was just another ordinary school day sometime in 1984 and I am sitting in the auditorium next to the library. I recall being towards the back because there was a TV on and the lesson was to watch the program BTN (Behind the News) and write our thoughts about it. The back was where I usually sat but on this day I was drawn to what was on TV and had to move to see it in more detail. They were talking about this thing that was happening in another part of the world, where white people and black people all lived in the same place but they had two sets of rules. The whites could do whatever they wanted to but the blacks were not allowed. There were suburbs only for the whites and the blacks had to live where they were told to live, and the thing I remember the most was that there were white buses and black buses and the blacks were not allowed on the white bus and the whites didn't want to go on the black one. At the end there were lots of questions and mostly around whether it was ever going to change, with the sentiment that day being that it wouldn't. White people are the superior skin colour and thats life. This was my first introduction to Apartheid and a lesson I would keep in my mind indefinitely. As a 13 year old all I remember thinking at the time was thank god I am white.

    Fast forward to another ordinary day in August 2017 and I find myself on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. It was here that Nelson Mandela spent part of his prison time but also a place where ordinary citizens were imprisoned and dished out regular punishments in accordance with their skin colour. The white prisoners were protected and fed well, the coloureds and Indians (thanks to Mahatma Ghandi) had half the rights but the black Africans were publicly humiliated and starved. Long periods in solitary confinement were common with no real crime being committed. To pass the time and make their lives easier they created artworks out of their blankets and the guards would judge the art each week with the winner being provided with a little bit more food.

    Nelson Mandela was a strong freedom fighter for his people. Much has been documented about the Nobel Peace prize winner and his long and tiring fight (or walk) to freedom. He deserves every accolade he has ever received and there would be few people who have lived that have made such a significant contribution to human rights. But today it occurred to me when I saw a young white school girl put her arm around the shoulders of her black friend, did even Nelson Mandela have any idea that he was not just liberating his own people but everyone who would live in the future South Africa? I am not sure even the great man himself could have foreseen that outcome.

    So to my class of 1984, actually things did change. Apartheid was abolished in 1990, there were 4 years of civil unrest where more people died post Apartheid than during that period and during that time there was a change in the government leadership which resulted in Nelson Mandela being released unconditionally and taking a seat in parliament. The peace negotiations began and in 1994, the ANC lead by Mandela won the first democratic vote in South Africa. He finally saw his dream to lead the country and the benefits can been seen clearly today. That is not to say that there isn't still a divide but it's no longer legislative and really it's still early days.

    Oh and one final thing. Nelson Mandela didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize on his own. He shared it jointly with the white leader FW De Klerk who stood bravely to reject the ways of his people in order for all South Africans to experience freedom. He deserves a notable mention too.
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  • Day28

    Twilight

    August 25, 2017 in Zimbabwe

    To effectively meditate the mind needs to be able to sit for a prolonged period between being awake and being asleep. Very few people will claim to have really achieved a meditative state but when you really think about it we do witness this in many ways, sometimes occasionally and other times on a daily basis.

    There is the state somewhere between sobriety and drunkeness, the time that seems to hang between the day and the night, the start of the day when it is light but the sun is yet to appear, and the gap between work and home where time seems to stand still albeit for a brief moment. You are not quite there yet but you have also left the recent past.

    Zimbabwe, but more specifically Victoria Falls is my twilight.

    I still have several days left on my 10 week break but my mind is very much shifting to being at home. Though I am consciously somewhere in between. Today and tonight I said goodbye (for now) to the people who I have lived with almost 24 hours a day for the past couple of weeks. I also did this only two weeks ago. I love the hellos but the goodbyes are much harder. For this moment in time only we have seen what we have seen, met who we have met and photos may help explain but really it's situational. That is the same for everyone, so while I have been in this reality I am also aware that everyone else has been in theirs, their own meditative states that only they can explain.

    So back to Vic Falls. One of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Victoria graced us yesterday with a fine mist on our faces to sooth the heat of the day and in one brief moment she shone her rainbow across the gorge to remind us why she sits proudly above many other beautiful bodies of water on the wonders list. I felt peaceful and in no hurry to be anywhere in particular. Just totally in the moment.

    For me, Vic Falls is the perfect place to sit between home and away. Tonight I took a cruise with some others from my group along the Zambezi to see the sunset. I have eaten good steak, drank a Bombay Sapphire and Schweppes tonic, and this morning for the first time since Lake Malawi, I tasted coffee.

    Tomorrow I am planning to spend my last day here not being annoyed by and maybe even enjoying the barrage of sales people outside the gate with their stone carvings asking where I am from, to not be at all bothered by the red dust that has soaked into my skin and my clothes, and somewhere in middle of it all enjoying the tranquilly (or not) of an African Day Spa where I have booked a body scrub to remove the Serengeti and a massage that doesn't involve the seat of the truck.

    So thanks Africa for the amazing days, nights and every bit in between. And to all those who were there along the way, thanks for the memories. It's been fantastic. I hope to see you all again sometime in the twilight zone.
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  • Day24

    Intrepid challenges

    August 21, 2017 in Zimbabwe

    For my Intrepid families past and present, and for those who have lived as part of an Intrepid family this one's for you...

    Life on the road is precious time when you leave the routine and comfort of home and swap it for a life way more adventurous. It usually involves lots of animals in their natural environment, villages, townships and experiences you just don't get at home. You meet amazing people from all corners of the globe with a variety of backgrounds and all in all, everyone just gets on with doing what the itinerary has on it for the day and the other responsibilities that being part of a participatory camping tour requires of you.

    As with any part of life though, life on the road can also be challenging in more ways than one. I have my own set of challenges that I am about to share, these may not have bothered others and things I haven't listed may have been the biggest for others. I am keen to hear your lists as well!

    1. Getting a good nights' sleep

    The deep, wake up refreshed kind of sleep. It seems such a natural part of the day but over the past 4 weeks there have been some hurdles to overcome (or not) in order to get some good sleep. Things like, leaving your tent zip slightly and I mean slightly undone and spending the night listening to a swarm of mosquitoes who shacked up all around me. Going to sleep in one layer of clothing only to discover that Africa in winter is freezing to the bone and your bladder decides it's ready for a short call at 1.34am. Your 2nd mattress you so smugly displayed on day 1 is a fraction of the size of the main one and you keep rolling off, particularly if over inflated and when you phone dies in the middle of the night and your alarm doesn't go off at 4.30am for a 5am roll out, leaving around 10 mins for a total pack down and a cup of tea before another long drive to do it all again.
    I have at times chosen to upgrade to a room. On that, I have absolutely no regrets.

    2. Hot Showers

    Each day our guide gives us information about where we are staying and it goes pretty much like this ... Jambo Jambo, welcome to Paradise Valley Campsite. Tonight we have facilities with hot showers, wifi and a human watering hole where you can buy your..........drinks. We then pitch the tents and head off to enjoy the facilities with the following chorus shortly being sung back from the crowd. Does anyone one know which tap is the hot one? Can anyone get the wifi to work? Does anyone know where the bar man has gone? I jagged a hot shower the other night after several fellow campers told me of their ice cold experience. I felt a little bit guilty and like a lottery winner all in one. We stayed at the Habitation of Hope campsite last night. Unfortunately all hope ran out at the same time as the gas for the hot water.

    3. African wifi

    See above. Buy a sim. Pray.

    4. Physical inactivity

    Nothing creates the need to snack more than physical inactivity. Several hours of sitting on the truck moving only your bum cheeks to remind you they are still there sets off the part of the brain that tells you if you don't immediately eat a bag of salt and vinegar chips and wash it down with a ginger beer you might not make it to dinner. It's life and death, therefore you snack.

    5. Mental inactivity.

    A big one for me. I have practiced being in the moment by looking out the window and counting any trees with coloured flowers, trying to spot animals (even when in places where there are no animals), and being generally appreciative that I am staring at something other than Microsoft Outlook. My iPod has gone around the playlist so often it sounds like commercial radio and it was on one of these drives that myself and two fellow passengers decided we need to up the game.

    We are now involved in several personal challenges that need to be achieved each day or in the case of the "most interesting photo of a clip on kangaroo" challenge, this is to be judged in Victoria Falls by the trip matriarch Rose.

    The list is long but some of the challenges include, the "Octo flap" this is the skill of being able to effectively flap 8 coffee mugs dry at the same time. This one was proudly achieved this morning.

    We have the Masai blanket challenge and that is for any one of us to be able to get Pato to willingly offer us his Masai blanket. Not achieved.

    The Flap Lap, a mental and physical challenge of running one lap around the truck while flapping two plates without another passenger making a comment about what you are doing, coming to a campsite near you tonight, and ...

    The Jambo Fact, standing up on the truck and commanding the attention of the rest of the truck by confidently hollering Jambo Jambo, something about Bulawayo .... and sharing a historical fact.

    If nothing else it is keeping us insanely amused. We giggle like school girls and the days seem to go faster. Now does anyone have any salt and vinegar chips?
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  • Day20

    Same game different plain

    August 17, 2017 in Zambia

    When I think about the highlights of my time here in Africa I would need a pretty big piece of paper to write them all down, but there is one constant that hasn't changed from the first time I was here in 1997 to now, and that is the game. Not the game as in football or politics but of the animal variety. And simply, my love of it.

    Only ten minutes ago I was laying in a hammock overlooking a river when a deep guttural sound came from down below me. I glanced up to see a hippo and a zebra on the bank and dropped back to my restful state. We are camped among the animals at the moment and while you need to remain vigilant, so far the only injury I have sustained was self induced (refer nasal rearrangement in the photos). The humans and the animals are living in harmony with one another.

    There are lions, elephants, zebra, antelope, monkeys etc in each of the game parks but somehow the setting makes it feel different. For example the lions of the Serengeti were mostly females protecting their cubs and had them hidden away in the bushes, they were incredible to spot because they were so well camouflaged, but today I saw a mother lion proudly displaying her baby while she cleaned it after the evening meal and the cub then feeling comfortable enough to explore the area on its own before giving Dad a playful nudge. The family were no more than 3 metres from me in the safari truck.

    Giraffes look totally different when grazing from the tall trees to how they look wandering across the grassy plain. When they are eating they look like big tall symmetrical animals but walking along they are out of shape and almost vulnerable looking. But on the backdrop of grass you can see their beautiful markings so much clearer.

    Zebra in the Ngorongoro Crater appear to be brown and white strips but the same Zebra a few countries further south seem to be black and white. On this plain they seem to run more than their northern brothers who stood in packs hugging each other.

    Tonight we are doing a night game drive. It will be my first one and I am told we will get to see the animals in another light again. They will be hungry and perhaps on the hunt. The hyenas will be circling for scraps and the bird life should be abundant on sunset.

    And the monkeys.. naughty here, naughty there and just plain naughty everywhere. I love them too.
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