Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

And so it continues…..

Check back here for the first post in this travel series……

The next morning we took the bus to the airport, making SURE that we had the carry-on bag in tow!!

Our flights were all great and, honestly, the time went quickly.   I had one moment of “oh no” when I realized that we had only been in the air for 5 hours of our 13-hour leg!!  But I pulled out my I-Pad and started playing with some drawings and the rest of the time passed by!

I loved both of these…..

We arrived in Addis Ababa with a short layover time and a lot to accomplish to get Michael’s firearms checked and approved for the next flight.  But Ethiopian Airlines was ready for us (and all the others traveling with firearms), and we were quickly at our gate and waiting to board.

This second flight was on a smaller and older plane and we laughed at the recorded announcement that said, “since the pilot has turned off the seat belt sign, we are free to use our electronic devices such as calculators, CD-players, and personal computers!!”  We figure that every 15-year-old turned to their parents and said, “what is a calculator?”.

Also, the safety video had a REALLY creepy guy on it…..

The video did not do much to encourage us of the safety of the flight!!

At one point the pilot announced that we could see Mount Kilimanjaro…..someplace new to add to my travel bucket list!!

We landed in Malawi but never deplaned.   It was interesting to look at the landscape there since it was flat, dry, and mostly treeless.   Except for the small, pyramid-shaped hills, it could have been Abilene, Texas!!

Our next landing was in Beira, Mozambique.  The VISA process and firearm permitting seemed to go on interminably, but we finally walked out with a VISA secured in our passports.

We were greeted by Pete, our helicopter pilot for the final leg of the trip.   He was urging us to “HURRY” because in 15 minutes it would be too late to start the trip and we would have to overnight in the city.  We responded by quickening our steps and we left the ground with 5 minutes to spare!

The flight to camp was so interesting.   It was especially nice to be in a helicopter (as opposed to a fixed-wing airplane) because we were closer to the ground and could see things easily. 

As we left Beira, the landscape was more sparse with little pockets of green….

But as we traveled further in, great clumps of trees started appearing and soon we were flying over forested areas…..

We asked when we would start seeing animals, and Pete told us that we would make about half of the trip before we would meet anything wild.  Our first sighting was a herd of antelope, but the highlight was a herd of Cape buffalo.  Pete did a 360 around the grouping so that we could enjoy seeing them in their glory.  The addition of the white Cattle Egrets shining brightly in the sinking sun made the scene perfect!!

I greatly enjoyed the first of my many African sunsets!!

We landed in camp with drum fanfare and greeted by the camp workers and Poppy, the woman that runs Mungari.

After she showed us our palatial tent home, she invited us to join the crew at the fire pit for drinks and appetizers. 

The appetizer turned out to be Reedbuck LIVER!!

 When I asked what we were eating, and she said “liver”, I pasted on my “oh that sounds wonderful” smile while inside I was thinking how glad I was that we had brought snacks!!

But the snacks were unneeded!!  The meat was tasty and did not have that liver-tang!!  It was served in a creamy sauce with thin-sliced toast to sop up the gravy.  I went back for seconds!!

Soon the drums announced that dinner was served, and we trouped into the covered pavilion that serves as the meeting place.  The main table holds twelve people and we were soon enjoying grilled chicken, fries, stir-fried vegetables, and coleslaw.  As I was holding my stomach and thankful that dinner was over, the server brought cake and custard for dessert.   How could I say NO!!

Because the camp runs on solar power, there is only one area to charge up electronics.  Many of the other guests were part of a film crew and there was an IMPRESSIVE array of charging batteries!!

After dinner, Michael and I stumbled back to our tent and fell into bed to sleep the sleep of the jet lagged.

As often happens when we travel, I woke up sometime during the night, confused about where I was.  But when I heard the night sounds of the frogs I realized that we had made it to Africa….a dream come true!!!

Come back next week for more……

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