Sep 192011

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July 25, 2011 (Bovu Island)
Itinerary:  Nothing

Today is our last day of vacation.  Tomorrow we will take various flights to get back to Marseille and eventually back to our respective homes.  But today will be a great vacation day as we spend the whole day doing absolutely nothing on one of the most laid back islands I’ve visited.

It was a cold morning waking up, but since we had no plans we stayed under the covers until about 7:30 or 8 before facing the sun.  The only warm place on the island was in the sun and we copied the baboons by sitting and facing the sun as it rose above the tree line.  We ordered a leisurely breakfast from the kitchen and then set out to relax.

The showers were very nice after I waited for the sun to rise and fill the area with warmth.  An oven sat between the shower houses to keep the water warm.  Flat rocks and a drain to the outside set the base of the shower and warm water smelling slightly of burned wood came through the faucet in a steady stream.  This morning Mark and I did our own thing.  I spent some time in the morning doing laundry and organizing our belongings while Mark found a good place to sit and play on his iPad.  At one point I found a book in the library and a pile of cushions to lie on and read.  At another point I sat at the table with Mark with my telephoto lens pointed at the trees waiting for a bird to show.  I took a little time to catch up on my spiral journal as well.

After a great day of nothing, we met some new people for dinner that night and then went to bed early again.

July 26, 2011
Itinerary:  Drive from Bovu Island to Livingstone airport, Fly Livingstone to Jo-burg, Jo-burg to Frankfurt, and Frankfurt to Marseille

We spent another morning relaxing in the sun and eating our breakfast before eventually taking the makalo canoe back to the mainland where the truck was waiting to take us back to the airport.  However, this time it was not just the two of us.  Many people had places to go today.  A family who had shown up yesterday was taking a ride to tour a local village, the staff was going with them to give them a tour, and then several others were along for the ride into town.  I’d say we managed to cram at least 12-15 people in the back of the truck.  Luckily the village was not too far away and we left most of the group there.  Then, Mark, I, and a couple others took the ride into town.

For the first time ever on our African trips, we were stopped by a road block and asked to pull off the road.  We still had plenty of time to catch our flight, but we had no idea what was going on.  Everyone was speaking in a local language and no one was telling Mark and I what the deal was.  We decided the best course of action was to just remain seated and quiet until spoken to.  I envisioned pulling out cash to bribe our way through.  I imagined a scenario where our bags were searched.  I conjured up images of us sitting in the hot sun all day and missing our flight.  However, the only issue was something with the tire was not passing inspection at the road block and the driver just needed to pay a fine.  Finally we were on our way again and made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

The Livingstone airport was a little smaller than Victoria Falls and rather confusing to navigate.  We walked in and couldn’t figure out where to go first.  All we could see was an xray machine and a security guard.  So we went to him.  Our names were on the list of people flying out today, so we put all our bags through the xray machine and emerged into a small room with all the airline check-in desks.  There was a huge line going out the back of the room and then airline desks with no employees.  We tried standing in a variety of lines before we found which desk we were to check in at.  We dropped off our checked luggage and then joined the line at the back of the room that was going through passport check.  Our names were checked off a list again and our passports were checked and then we were in the one large waiting room.  There were a couple little shops around the edges and one bar that had some snacks.  I bought some chips for us to snack on for lunch and we waited in the large room.  There was only one “gate” with another xray machine that lead to the outdoors.  One flight was called at a time and everyone lined up at this “gate” and had their bags xrayed.  There was certainly no information computer anywhere listing flights and flight status.  Our flight from Livingstone to Jo-burg was fairly short, but as our flight time got closer and closer and finally passed and we were never called I stood up to go find someone.  I walked around looking for someone to ask without finding anyone.  I went back to the airline counters, but no one was at the desk.  Finally I found someone who told me the flight was running late and they’d call when they were ready for us.  Well, as long as we didn’t miss the flight, I was happy.  =)

We flew from Livingstone to Jo-burg, then from Jo-burg to Frankfurt, then from Frankfurt to Marseille where we arrived on July 27th by 10am, exhausted and ready to relax in the hotel.  I figured the Best Western wouldn’t have a room ready for us this early, but we tried and they had our room!  I’ve never been more excited to get a hotel room.

The rest of the day has already been blogged about here: and then our return home here:

Thank you so much for being patient as I slowly sent out the day-by-day adventures on our Zimbabwe trip.  This whole trip was absolutely phenomenal and certainly the best vacation we’ve ever taken, by far!  We took about 6300 photos during our trip and it’s taken me the last 8 weeks to sort through them and process them for you to see.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the tales of our adventures and soon you’ll be hearing from us again as we fly to Greece on September 21st.

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