"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Africa Journals, Ch. 43, Back to South Africa

The Africa Journals

Chapter 43
Back to South Africa

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ''As pretty as an airport.”
Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

With apologies to Douglas Adams, but he’d obviously never been to Mpumalanga Airport near Nelspruit, South Africa, when he wrote the above quote, because that airport is gorgeous!

If you have trouble remembering that name, just do as Brian coached us and say, “Ma puma langa than yours.”

Let’s back up and get to Nelspruit first.   We’re still in Victoria Falls, Zimbabe, and the now-located Dr. David Livingstone is in the care of Henry Stanley.   The good doctor’s health is improving with the medicines the journalist brought.   That leaves us free to go to a bush dinner that evening.

We board the bus and take a now-familiar turn immediately before the entrance to Victoria Falls National Park, follow the fence down a dirt road, cross the railroad tracks, and reach the Wild Horizons boma where my zipline adventure occurred.  Men are washing dishes in a couple tubs outside the boma.

We enjoy a very nice dinner beside the First Gorge of the falls, and afterwards are entertained by African native dances.   

Jen, Ken, and I have lots of fun impressing our travel companions with descriptions of our zipline across this gorge.

Washing dishes

 At some point during all this, I am reminded of Stanley finding that everything in Africa bites, stings, or scratches.   I reach for my water bottle and take a sip.   Something stings the tip of my tongue, and thank goodness I don’t have an allergic reaction, because that bite really hurt.   Brian said it was most likely a flying ant

Ever after, the cap went back on my water bottle immediately

Steak, chicken, rice, pasta salad and zucchini.

Henry and Anne join the dancers.

Victoria Falls Bridge at night.

A rhino chocolate wafer awaits me on my pillow at the Victoria Falls Hotel.    

This is our last night in this colonial era beauty.   The next morning, we prepare to board the coach and I see Duli, the head porter, and stop to admire the pins on his uniform.   One is crooked and I straighten it, asking permission first.   A lady standing next to him says, “If he were my husband, you would be in big trouble.”  She is smiling, but I’m still embarrassed.  “In our culture, it is not permitted to touch another’s husband.”  I wonder if that applies to men touching another man’s wife.

International incident avoided, we drive back to Chinotimba, where the working folks live, and arrive at Chinotimba Government School.  


A "Tuck Shop" is a small convenience store.

The kids are waiting for us.

Brian says a lot of improvements, such as sidewalks,  have been made at this school since he has been bringing tourists who make cash donations.

A group of students perform native dances with so much energy, I’m worn out just watching them.   We leave gifts we have brought—pens, pencils, paper, tiny pencil sharpeners, etc.—and board the coach again.

 This time, we cross the Victoria Falls Bridge, from which bungee jumpers defy sanity, and cross from Zimbabwe into Zambia. 

Traffic is jammed up at Zambian customs.   Each truck must be unloaded and inspected.  The line for visas is long, but Brian and our driver take our passports and $50 visa fee and go inside while we wait on the coach.

Baboons are everywhere.  They climb on the buses and trucks.   They tear into luggage and packages strapped on top of the vehicles.   They inspect trash on the grounds and in the trash barrels.

After a long time, Brian returns to the bus and distributes our passports.  “Look at the visa stamp,” he says.  “See the broad line through the stamp?   That’s from the rubber band holding the stamp together.”   Ah, Africa.

See the thick line through the upper stamp?   That's from a rubber band.

Then a short drive to a very nice, new Airport, a quick pass through passport control to leave Zambia, and we board a plane for the flight to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport.

What a surprise.   This is the most spectacular airport terminal I’ve ever seen, and I've seen some beauties.   It isn’t a large terminal, but it is beautiful.

And a little reminder of the States.

I don’t know if it’s legal to take photos, so I grab a couple quick, blurry shots, get my luggage, and board a coach for the ride to Kruger National Park.   

 Back to safaris and I am happy.

1 comment:

  1. I thought .. as I looked at the photos of washing dishes .. what is the purity of the water they are washing the dishes in like? Oh-My .. in India I have gotten very sick from dishes washed in pretty bad water. Also while on a rafting trip up in Nepal as well. Cute the classroom photos of spelling .. fill in the blanks .. as to the correct word. Ah the Visa Thing .. what are they thinking .. and it is the same world over .. big drama .. actually a self-perpetuating bureaucracy I think .. Smiles from Cap and from Patti ..