Botswana trip- Up to the Chobe river at Kasane

It really is spectacular seeing the elephants in the wild north of Nata in Botswana. On our third day on the bikes we rode from Nata up to Kasane, on the Botswana side of the Chobe river. This is a very popular tourist destination for all kinds of adventure tourists- we bikers, those who like to do it in built-up SUV’s with rooftoptents and jerrycans on top. Also a lot of international tourists roam here with hired campervans.

We did not book our accommodation in advance, preferring to discover and explore as we went along. So we had a slight problem- all the camping sites were fully booked, At nearly sunset the good people at Thebe River Camp decided to help us, and gave us a remote corner of their resort to pitch our tents.

I picked up a stomach bug on this day, and were feeling bad for two days. At sunset, when our tents were pitched, I went to bed. We have payed for two days at Kasane, and also booked a Chobe River Sunset Cruise for the following afternoon. I first had to find a doctor to get some relief, and then we went on a three hour sunset cruise.

If this was not on your Bucket List, it should be! While feeling extremely miserable physically, it was still one of the greatest experiences of my life on that big pontoon on the Chobe river, I think I shall spread the photos of this three hours over a few posts… so here are some of them…

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A Bucket List Item becomes reality!

Bucket List Item # 19 became a reality last night! Quite a lot of my friends know that I have never tasted a real lobster or crayfish yet. So yesterday one of my friends, on holiday at a nearby beach, showed up at our holiday house. It turns out that he, always talking to strangers unlike me, met a retired police officer at the rocks.  And this police officer happened to have a frozen crayfish or two in his freezer, as well as a fish closely resembling a Barracuda, that he has sold to my friend.

And so our friends surprised us last night- we had a Cape style evening with fish on the coals, as well as sweet potato and a reasonable amount of red wine that was consumed. As well as the frozen crayfish, that might have been caught when it was still in season…  For my kiddies I bought calamari rings and shrimp, which was also delicious!

IMG_1550So now I also have finally tasted crayfish- I think Lobster is reserved for those with the 2 huge claws? And no, it does not taste like chicken! 🙂

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Share my world week #39- Cee’s Challenge

Share Your World – 2013 Week 39

1. You are given $5,000 and the chance to exchange it for one of two envelopes. One envelope contains $50,000 and one contains $500. Do you make the trade? Why or why not?2. Do you believe in the afterlife?  Reincarnation?

3. If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?

4. If you had to spend one weekend alone in a single public building or institution, which building would you choose?

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1. No, I would take the money, and take my wife on a Bucket List holiday (remember a US$ goes far in our country!)  Would it be enough for airplane tickets to go and have a picnic under the Redwood trees in California? I would love that very much! Also- a childhood friend is a pastor in Brentwood, California, I would dearly love to visit him again…

No photos of the Redwoods… yet…

2. Yes I believe in eternal life- I am a Christian pastor, I should… 🙂

Stained glass window in John Knox's Church in Edinburgh, St Giles Church.   Yes, I'm a Believer...

Stained glass window in John Knox’s Church in Edinburgh, St Giles Church. Yes, I’m a Believer…

3.  Some days it feels like a tragedy with the hero going down in flames, like Icarus.  But just sometimes it is an action movie, and for these moments I live!

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I used to be a good shot in the Army, I am a bad hunter… (around here that is the definition of a Vegetarian…) I love being in nature, even with my hunting rifle (a World War II Lee Enfield Mark IV, customised with a Tasco 4X 40 scope) but I do not like to kill…

4. After all I have read, I would like to spend a weekend alone in the Smithsonian Institute… I have never been to the USA (yet…) but in everything I have read, that is the one institution I would love to visit…

No photos of the Smithsonian Institute… yet…

Fly Inn Modimolle (Nylstroom)

As if last week’s Game Auction was not enough fun for the whole little community of Nylstroom, we are having another huge event this weekend. On the hill overlooking our town is our little landing strip- to call in an airport would be much to big. There is a tarmac landing strip, without any tower. There are a few hangers containing a very few private aircraft,and a microlight or two. But today is the yearly Fly Inn, and the Airstrip is bussling with a lot of aircraft.

One of the star attractions today is the old Harvard. It was used as a training aircraft since World War 2, and for many years the South African Air Force would still be training their cadet pilots in these things, they were eventually replaced by Pilatus aircraftImage

These Harvards are still lovingly maintained by dedicated enthusiasts. They fly on days like these, and for R1800 (US $ 180) you could go for about 15 minutes of historical flight.

Next to the Airstrip there is a huge informal settlement, as in squatter camp.  Someone paid the price for three boys of the informal settlement to have a flight in the Harvard. If this photo doesn’t win me a Pulitzer…  Look on the joy on this child’s face- priceless! Image

And then it was up, up and away…

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It was a huge day for my eldest son, it was also his first flight ever! He and a friend from nursery school flew together in a Beechcraft.

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I now have a few more days of beautiful photos to share, just a last one for today… Image

Did I ever tell you I would  LOVE to be a pilot, and that Aircraft and Flight  has fascinated me since my small boy years?

Bucket List Item #27 Kissing the Blarney Stone

Today’s Daily Prompt just don’t light any candles inside the dark and dusty attic in my head…    I just can’t write about that…

So one day I saw a sign in a little town in Far Far Away- the people there were emigrating to Sierra Leone, and sold all the belongings that would not fit into the shipping container. Some of my most cherished possessions were bought at such garage sales. It happens A LOT that people of my tribe get the feeling to go Walkabout on another piece of the world. These sales are quite a normal part of everyday South African life…

And there it was: a small model of the Blarney Castle where the famous Blarney Stone resides in  Ireland. The touristy type of junk you buy on a vacation, and leave above your fireplace  to gather dust. This old memorabilia were practically on offer for a few cents. And it prompted memories of a travel in our lives.   I bought it, and a few cans of Guiness, and we had ourselves a lovely Irish evening on that holiday. The next morning my head felt like a little Leprechaun had hit me with an ugly stick… Blarney Castle model

Now the real story- My wife’s little sister is living in Ireland, she and her family are now Irish citizens.  And as families tend to do, we had this great longing to go and visit them. In 2006 we went over to Britain, and Ireland, to visit our sisters… 2006- come to think of it- that is a LONG time ago… gears in my head starts spinning, I feel the birth of a crazy idea coming on…

IN any case- my wife just wanted to visit her sister, and stay in her home, for a whole week.  So I went on a walkabout in Ireland, I hired a car, and drove around the country- 2 hours later I was back in Sligo… 🙂  No, it took 3 days- the Irish are very very patient (read slow) drivers in the countryside…

The one experience I want to share, is Bucket List number 27.  The legend states that if you go and kiss the Blarney stone, you will receive the kiss of the gabb. Well, as a pastor, I need to speak publicly a lot. And no, I do not believe that is where my inspiration comes from, but, as I was in the area, I went there…

It is a beautiful castle, and it was a beautiful day in July that I visited it.

Reis 2006_326 And Yes, I did lie down on my back and kiss the stone. And no, I did not pay the huge amount for the photo of it. And no, it did not improve my verbal skills at all…

And as I walked away, I turned around and took a last picture of it, glad I could tick this one off…

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But I still look forward to my visit with the Green Lady of NYC… that one is not even on the horizon yet… (Bucket List Item #44)

Ps. The beautiful Blarney Castle model is made by: www.vivmarston.com  an is a real piece of art, not like the plastic models for sale at the tourist shop at the gate…