10 Years Ago Today

I made the hilarious and cringe-worthy decision to look back over my old LiveJournal account recently and read some old entries from when I was a teenager. I came across this entry from exactly 10 years ago - when I was just coming back from a 5 day safari trip while I was living in Zambia. It was so fun reminiscing about this trip. I had forgotten a lot of the details, so I'm so glad I wrote it down, despite the embarrassing writing style! So I've decided to share the journal entry with you as well, in all its unedited and cringey glory!

hey hey party people. here's what went down in the bush.

day 1 - wednesday
Wade (awesome australian guy who runs chachacha) picks me up at my house at 6am. i get to chachacha and it's like dead cos it's frickin 6am and everyone sane is still asleep. so i grab a coffee and sit down and read some magazine about economics or something.
around 6:30 was breakfast and i met everyone who was going on safari with me. Ruth-uk, songmi-south korea, michael and inbal-israel, diederik (deet) and jef - belgium and hannah and rasmus- Sweden. then we all got on the truck (whose name is Lucy) met our guides Brian from California, Levy from here in Zambia and our chef Charlie (also Zambian) and set out on the road.
after about 3 hours of driving on a pretty good road we then turned onto the dirt roads we would be on for at least another 3 hours.
we drove through many villages which was really cool. all the little kids would start screaming and run over to the road and wave and dance and sing. they were so funny.
i was sitting on one side of Lucy so by the time we got to Mvuu Lodge i had one severely burnt arm and one friggin pasty purplish white arm. really funny.
then we had sandwiches for lunch, though i'm not sure what kind (i've told myself from the moment i got here that if i didn't know what i was eating, i would never ask)
then we boarded a boat for a cruise along the Zambezi river. unfortunately as soon as we left shore out battery crapped out so levy had to paddle this big boat back to shore so we could get a new one (keep in mind that Levy is shorter than me and i'm 5'4)
after we got our new battery, we set off and saw LOTS of hippos (which makes sense cos Mvuu means hippo). Deet swears that we hit one with the boat but Levy says it was just the bottom of the river. I actually believe Deet cos after the bump we turned around and a bit later a hippo surfaced for air..
we got hella close to 3 elephants drinking at the edge of the water too. i mean, my camera zooms, but not that well, and i got one guy's head in a picture and that mother takes up the whole friggin frame.
as the sun began to set we enjoyed a nice sundowner. if you don't know what that is, it's when you stop everything and drink as the sun goes down. a beautiful thing. i enjoyed a nice glass of white wine.
we got back to shore and an awesome barbeque was waiting for us of tbone steak (which charlie told deet was hippo steak) and chicken.
everyone went to bed fairly early except for deet, jef, brian and i. we chatted over more wine and brian and deet went to bed. jef and i weren't far behind but the zipper of my tent busted as i was trying to close it so we jef and i had to go on a search for levy the magic tent fixer. i felt bad waking him up after midnight, but there's been reports of hyenas entering unzipped tents and biting things off. people have lost toes and one guy lost a nose.

day 2 - thursday
i involuntarily wake up at 5:30am. the sun rises at that time and since there's no cover on the tent it's awfully bright.
after breakfast we take a drive up to our canoe launch point.
since everyone on the safari came in pairs except me i went with Levy. also the lodge forgot a paddle, so everyone was paddling away in the water, and there was me in the front of levy's canoe just sitting there.
songmi wasn't feeling well, so after several switches in the canoes i wound up with a paddle in a canoe with jef.
then we paddled into our next campsite. we canoed until 3pm and in total it was about 20km.
the campsite was amazing. the toilet and the showers over look the river (the loo with a view) and my tent was friggin right on the edge of a drop-off into the river.
since i was so gross and sweaty from the canoe trip i decided that 3:30 i would have a shower. probably not a good idea. i had an amazing view of the river but the people who kept canoeing by had and excellent view of my... well.. upperhalf...
then we boarded Lucy and headed for our sundowner spot. on the way, we got a flat tire, but that was fixed in about 7 minutes and we got to the location in time.
i had a white wine cocktail (white wine, water, pineapple juice and lots of ice)... well i had 2 white wine cocktails and then a plain glass of white wine.
then we headed out on our night drive. didn't see much. owl, mongoose, civet, porcupine.
right before dinner hannah was in the loo, ruth was in the shower and all of us were at the fire. we heard a crunch of leaves but thought nothing of it and brian also said it was nothing, but levy was like No. let me check. sure enough there was a fuckin HUGE elephant (approx. 45 years old) right at the wall for the loo. levy then told hannah to jump over the wall and join ruth in the shower. (side note- hannah severely injured her knee on the flight over so jumping over the wall was a difficult task! )
charlie came and told us to come have dinner while the elephant was over at the toilets.
we had really good beef stew. as soon as i sat down, levy came over and told us we had to all get out of the dining tent and move down by the river cos the elephant was coming. he passed and we finished our dinner but michael and inbal couldn;t go to bed because the elephant decided to hang out right in front of their tent.
so i stayed up with inbal cos all the guys that were still awake were with levy watching the big ass elephant.
i went to bed around 1am.

day 3 - friday
up again at 5:30 so i got up and had a shower then so noone would be riding by and seeing me again.
we left camp early and headed into Lower Zambezi National Park. i probably should have mentioned before but driving here is scary. it's like an open truck, brian's driving fast and we're in dense bush so you're constantly dodging branches. i was frequently hit in the face and neck and my arms are covered in scratched from the winter thorn trees. those mothers are brutal.
anywho, when we got into the park we had to pick up our armed scout James, in case anything should decide to attack us.
we drove farther into the park and then got off Lucy and had a walking safari. levy showed us many many many different kinds of poop.
then we walked back to the truck and had breakfast and started our morning game drive.
as we were driving we turned a corner and - boom - HUGE elephant right there. we scared it a bit so it got angry started trumpeting and was mock-charging Lucy. what's not a comforting noise in these situations is the sound of James cocking his gun from the back seat. luckily the elephant lost interest and went away. kinda scary but i did get an awesome picture of the elephant with james' hand holding the gun in the foreground.
after seeing many many many more elephants we stopped for lunch and then started an afternoon drive.
it was so damn hot at this point. i can't even describe the feeling. it was around 47 degrees Celsius. not joking, someone had a thermometer (and it was in the shade)
we were speeding through a long grassy area when levy told brian to stop cos he thought he saw something in the grass far in the distance. i have no fucking idea how he saw it but we drove closer and found 7 lionesses asleep in the grass. so cool.
from there we passed LOTS MORE ELEPHANTS and we headed to our next sundowner spot where - surprise surprise - there were 2 more, slightly agitated elephants. we stopped there anyway and james kept an eye on them while we had some Amerula .
then we drove back to camp. on the way i put my arm up to protect my face from a huge branch and received 5 puncture wounds in my right hand cos it was a damn winter thorn tree. at least it wasn't my face.
chicken soup for dinner. well, that's what they called it. it was more like a chicken breast and a potato the size of my fist sitting in some broth. it was really good none the less.
deet, jef, songmi, ruth and i stayed up until 2am talking.

day 4 - saturday
you may have seen a pattern thus far in my waking up time, so i'll just let you guess. why i couldn't sleep longer after 16 hours in the park and staying up til 2 i will never know.
jef and i were the first up so we, along with levy, walked down to the river and started fishing.
we were later joined by michael (who got bored and left) and deet.
all morning the only people to catch anything were levy and deet. they were however after a different kind of fish. jef and i were going after tigerfish and deet and levy used fishingline and a stick to catch fish that jef and i used for bait.
we drove to a really neat escarpment for lunch (guess what kind of animals were there?) and then headed back to camp for more fishing. when we got to camp rasmus said the words i never thought i'd hear in my life ever. "what's the temperature? oh 38? it's cooling down!"
later we were joined by brian and 5 minutes after he puts his line in the water he gets a tigerfish. jef was pretty pissed cos we had been down there ALL DAY but we kept fishing.
brian also works as a stone cutter and makes jewelry with zambian gemstones, so i looked through his stuff and decided to get a pendant of Nyami Nyami (the zambezi river god) with a zambian emerald in it. i also bought some blue tourmaline earrings.
it is tradition that if you buy a Nyami Nyami you have to dip it in the Zambezi river so after sundowner (and a few too many glasses of red wine) we had a little dipping ceremony. it was cool.
deet caught 7 fish in all that day including a catfish (which really freaked him out cos he had never seen one before and didn't know what the hell it was) and another fish (cant think of the name) that charlie took and cooked for us to try.
we had dinner on the observation deck which is built on a termite mound. we had garlic mashed potatoes, corn, salad, deet's fish, tbone, sausage and chicken. charlie wouldn't let me make my own plate and forced me to have some of everything he made. then he brought out chocolate cake. i don't think i've ever had so much food in my life, especially cos my stomach has shrunk since i've been here and can't eat as much as i used to.
anywho levy michael and inbal and brian went to bed early. then songmi, ruth, deet and jef invited me to join them on a trip to south luangua national park, leaving tuesday morning. hell yea i'm going.
then levy came back in a weird mood. he was like "somebody tell some jokes!". everyone's jokes were so terrible (i didn't tell any) they were like "how can you tell an elephant's been in your fridge? there's footprints in the butter!" but we all laughed cos of the wine and the fact that it wasn't funny at all.
then hannah and i had to go to the loo. just as i was finished i heard a crunching noise, but i thought it was my imagination cos i've been pretty paranoid out here. then hannah was like "did you hear that? i think the elephant's back!" it was definitely an elephant noise, so we booted it out of there and got levy and sure enough he was back.
all of us ended up going to bed early around 11pm.

day 5 - sunday
we boarded lucy and headed home. we were booting it down the road when levy said to stop. seriously this guy is amazing cos he found a little chameleon in a tree. so we passed him around and he was so cute.
then at lunch we stopped at a different lodge and had a complimentary bottle beer. i had a Mosi the "truly zambian" beer.
ruth, michael, inbal, brian, jef, deet and i had a swim in their pool and then we had some lunch and were on the road again.
then the rains started. it got so fuckin cold and wet it's not even funny. a lot different than yesterday.
for some reason at one of the police checkpoints they made us all get out of the truck and wash our hands... weird.
when we got back to chachacha, we ordered our dinner and got another complimentary drink. another mosi for erin. then ruth, songmi, jef, deet and i started making our plans for our trip tuesday.
i'm going to be staying at chachacha tonight so we can leave at 5am tomorrow morning. deet suggested that i sleep in his tent between him and jef, that way i won't have to pay for accommodations, so that's what i'm gonna do.
we had dinner, jef bought us all another round of beer and then i headed back to my flat.

the most fuckin amazing 5 days of my life.
really excited for tomorrow.

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