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Tuesday, October 10, 1995

Africa Journal - Power Lunch

Tuesday, October 10, 1995

Power Lunch

 At breakfast, Bigfoot shows up at the pool and does some pruning of the trees and foliage in the immediate area. Manfred takes pictures of Amy at this end of the pool while Bigfoot is on the other. Bigfoot stops eating to pose for the picture. It is a very small pool.

We take a morning walk with Francis as our guide. Boat ride to an island, and a 2 hour walk. Sights include: elephants, red lechwes, bleached buffalo bones, and a pair of lions at 100 yards.

Our first lion sighting on foot. It feels good to actually get some exercise, but by the end of the walk the heat is oppressive.

Bigfoot joins us for lunch, tromping through the garden at the end of the table, and pulling down the branches from a nearby tree to munch. A dozen bats fly out of the tree Bigfoot is attacking to settle in the tree directly above our table. Manfred (at far end of table on the left) does not miss a bite.

That afternoon we go canoeing with Wayne, Cathy and the two Spanish couples. At one time the canoes at the camp were dugouts, but today they are fiberglass complete with seats & backrests.

Our guide is Letto. He stands in the back of the canoe with a cooler at his feet and a long pole in his hand. He pushes Sigrid and I through the shallows and marshes at a leisurely pace. Wayne calls it Venice in Africa. Not quite, no one is singing O Solo Mio.

Tiny multicolored frogs cling to the grasses poking out of the water. Many beautiful birds. When asked to identify a bird, Leto hands me a South African birding guide (Newman’s) and before I can open it, he tells me the correct page number from memory. This goes on for a while, before I finally stump him on a Sacred Ibis (page 46). A relaxing afternoon.

A couple of Abelours neat before dinner, and more red wine with dinner. During dinner I hear a pompous, arrogant voice holding court on a variety of topics, and am stunned to find that it is not mine. Wondering who is horning in on my customary dinnertime role, I listen as Sarel, the camp manager, lectures on: Emergency medical procedures he could conduct in the bush; The electrfied fence he is building for Bigfoot; The dearth of American culture; How America has wasted a billion dollars on an unused airbase in Botswana; and Why America needs to stop interfering in other country's business. Now, I don’t actually disagree with anything he says, but still feel compelled to retake some of the conversational high ground. I ask Sarel if he is Botswanan, and when he says that he is South African, I assert that one would be hard pressed to find any country that has interfered more with Botswanan affairs than South Africa. I further point out that America spent billions of dollars on an airbase in Saudi Arabia that was unused for years, but that eventually was put to pretty good use and someday, just maybe, Botswana could be as happy as Kuwait to have an American airbase in the neighborhood. That slowed him down a little. The conversation took some strange turns from there, not all of which I remember, as I had switched back to scotch. I do recall people starting to leave the table. Later I offered a Montecristo #4 to Sarel, which he accepted, then put in his pocket to smoke later.


 This is a back-post / cross-post from my first on-line journal/blogging effort - a journal of our Southern Africa Tour in 1995. Originally posted to an abandoned domain (, the term "blog" had not yet entered the parlance. I am migrating the original posts to this blog. Links to the original journal Date Index or Africa Tour Home Page will likely eventually disappear. The images from the original post were graphics and screen caps from video which I am leaving in it's low-rez glory for historical integrity. My intent is to also add some of Sigrid's higher quality scanned photos to these blog back-posts.  The difference in images should be obvious.

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