Tag Archives: 2010

The end of the year and the start of a long road trip

Two weekends ago I danced on a bar stool and didn’t fall off. It was fun, and rare and since it was  the closing night of what was a fabulous panto, had such a sense of celebration and relief about it. It was a dancing tonic; so much so that now it is my New Year’s Resolution to go out and dance a whole lot more. It is necessary to get out more, feel alive and grab a bar stool to dance upon now and again. I certainly don’t do that enough. So with thoughts of New Year’s resolutions it is time to wrap up 3limes for 2010 and take a short break. Of course it is always tempting to look back on the year in a sort of Top 100 moments flashback series but I won’t. The few highlights that spring to mind start with the extraordinary New year’s eve of last year, spent camping on the Delta in Murchison Falls. Then more trips spring to mind; Lamu, London, Amsterdam. I have been a lucky girl travel wise this year. On the home front the pictures that make me remember and smile tend to involve the girls. Princess on stage in the Sound of Music, both girls as mice in this years Pantomime, Trooper on the soccer field giving it all she has, Princess as Veruca Salt, singing her little heart out despite the fever she was fighting. They are good, happy, thriving,

 

We are heading out on a Road Trip Through Kenya in a few days; in my mind it will be the Road Trip to End All Road Trips. 17 people, 4 cars, 2400km, 5 stops. I will return with a survival tale and photos. I promise.

 

Until then it is time for 3limes to take a little holiday, freshen up and come back more inspired and ready to see things in a new light.

 

Happy Holidays to all.

 

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Camping with the Hippos


New Year’s eve was spent on the Murchison Delta. I had no idea what this meant or what it would be like until I actually did it, it has taken on quite the legendary status amongst campers here. The Delta is basically a game park, about 70km down river from the powerful Murchison falls. At this point the river is calmer and many animals gather to drink or cool down. Unlike a traditional camp site, there is no designated area to camp, no showers, toilets or any facilities at all. You just select a spot whilst driving through the savannah, quite close to the river and pitch a tent. It is certainly quite extreme and for someone who is not a seasoned camper it can be a little nerve wrecking. The truth is, I was not excited and when the two nights were reduced to one I was relieved.




Not only was it a full moon, it was also a blue moon and there was a bonus 20 min partial eclipse of the moon. Once the campsite was up, the fire was roaring and dinner was cooking over the flames we began to relax. Due to some delays at the ferry crossing to enter the Delta we only arrived at our chosen spot at 6.40pm. As we were zipping through the savannah, past gorgeous birds and giraffes we were up against nature’s clock. The tents had to be up before sunset or this camping trip was not going to happen. And every lodge within a 2 hour drive was booked solid. Like the intrepid and experienced camper I am not, I was hurling luggage and chairs out of the back of the car, setting up tables and putting out the wine like a Dervish in a whirlwind. Everyone was battling with tents or finding firewood, worrying about where to pee and sorting out who would sleep in whose tent. There were 3 adults and 6 children so we were totally outnumbered. I was amazed at the ability of all these mini campers to stoke fires, unroll bedding and deal with tents. I hadn’t a clue, and still don’t.  I poured wine, took photos and chopped veggies for Kebabs.

Of course, for the sake of safety we had Joel the guard and his trusty gun beside us at all times. He is a game ranger and was hired by us to sit and guard our little camp all night. Guard us against what? You may very well ask.




Joel was quite informative while we munched on chargrilled vegetables, cheese and very baked potatoes.

“ This is the favorite hunting place for the lions!” He eagerly informed us. “ And many times the buffalo too, and many hippo walk here at night and graze while you sleep.”

“Really!?!?!” I replied, chewing my flame cooked red pepper. “Did you ever see lions while you were guarding?” I asked, nervously.

“Oh yes, many many times. Even there behind where you sit just now I saw three lions just the other night.”

“Oh,” gulped Princess, did you shoot one?”

“No. No need to kill lions”, he replied with some authority, “ we just wait and if they come too close we make one, maybe two shots in the air, pow pow!”

“Ahhhh,” we all breathed out. “So no danger then, really.”


“No danger Madam!” He laughed. “You cannot worry.”

Strangely we didn’t really worry all that much. The wine helped, the flickering flames, the little paraffin lamps, the full moon, New Year’s eve; it was all so extraordinarily romantic and so terribly cool to be out there all alone with not another person in sight in the middle of Africa.

At 10.30pm, with another hour and a half before the champagne and count down we decided to go on a nighttime game drive. We hid the food, just in case, ensured that the fire was well stoked to keep any curious animals away and all hopped into the large white Range Rover Defender that belongs to our friend, Indy.  He had done this many times before, having spent close to 20 years in Africa, and we felt safe in his capable driving hands as long as Joel came along as the last time Indy had been on a night game drive he had got quite lost.

There are no photos to accompany the description of this night drive but the images taken from that experience will never leave my mind. At the sight of a hippo, rustling through some bushes Indy whipped that tank of steel to the right and before I could say Indiana Jones we were chasing that poor hippo like there was no tomorrow. The kids were screaming, Princess was trembling, Trooper was laughing and I had visions of cars tipping over and accidents, but onward we stormed at some speed and that hippo waddled at some speed away from this never before seen roaring  animal on tires. Our head lights were pinned onto his vast bottom and short yet terrifically fast legs. I know that hippos, as enormous as they are, are only really dangerous if you get between them and the water, their safely zone. I was very worried that just to be funny and maybe even too thrilling for his own good Indy would try to chase the hippo and overtake it.  (I learnt the next day, this was a controlled risk he was taking, he wasn’t really that stupid.)  As we finally veered away from the hippo, we turned our headlights and caught the startled eyes of a very large buffalo. When we started to chase him Indy’s daughter yelled “ NO DADDY STOP NOW!”

When we got back to camp we breathed a giant sigh of relief and prepared to crack open the champagne. Under the full moon, with 1 watch, 2 phones and 3 ipods at the ready we started the countdown to 2010. With a pop and a squeal the new year was here.

Climbing into my tent sometime later I listened for the silence and instead heard the hippos. Hippos sound like a very large and uncomfortable pig trying to burp with something stuck in his throat. It was the perfect sound and one that sent me to sleep until the rain came beating upon the tent some hours later.

No, the lions never came. We were all safe and I am hoping to do it all over again when I get the chance. It was perfectly magical and it made the lovely lodge we moved into the next night even more special and luxurious.




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Goodbye ’09

I find myself planning my life even while I am living it. You see my life resembles the window of one of those fashionable and international shop windows, although Winnipeg proves to be a bit of a blip on the scene.

Trendy Shop Window

Johannesburg  London  Hong Kong  Tokyo NewYork Strasbourg  Montreal  Winnipeg  Port of Spain Kampala

So what is next? And why I am plagued by this interminable inner moving mechanism that ticks and tocks and winds itself around the nerve endings of my brain even when I am perfectly installed and still?  The plan is to stay here for 4 years, to move out of our little box house, eventually, and move into a home with a garden and a gate that opens onto a street where it is permitted and possible to go for a stroll. In this shiny future there is also a car that works, and all my worldly belongings, that will have travelled from the distant shores of a storage facility in Montreal, will be safely installed. I am not one for sitting calmly and waiting, rather I am plagued with a disease called impatience and it is a nightmare for those who live with me. Perhaps this ants in the pants syndrome has arisen as a consequence of all my moves. In any case, change can’t come fast enough for me. I want it all, and I want it now.

The whole world seems to be reflecting on the past decade, it seems we have a habit of looking back when we reach some milestone, or just a year with a zero at the end. I find it all quite nostalgic and since I am connected through my beloved Pomme ( yes, I name inanimate objects) to the Big Shiny West I have been reading all sorts of reminiscing and prophetizing about the cusp of this new decade. (I have also been reading about all sorts of trends, movies and recipes that make me hungry for shops, cinemas and restaurants, but that is another story.) If I look back to the year 2000 I am immediately transported back to a time when I held a crying baby adorable Princess in my arms. The past ten years have seen me embrace two careers, a photographer and then a teacher, and seen my little girls grow into little women. I have lived in three countries and made extraordinary friendships, travelled through the Caribbean, the States and discovered Africa. I cannot fathom for one moment what the next decade holds, but I am convinced that there will be adventure, discovery and a great deal of movement.

So as this year and decade draws to a close I wish for Peace, both outside in the world and inside myself. I wish to spend more time with people I love, visiting those that are so far away it seems impossible. The most shocking thing is that within the next 10 years both Princess and Trooper will leave home, but that is a thought that I will push to the nether regions of my mind.

While you pause for thought and perhaps look back on the decade that was, have a laugh and look at how these people do it.


Wishing you and yours a wonderful and peaceful 2010. Fill it with discovery and purpose.

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