Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Victoria Falls Part 2

Ok, so it has taken me over 2 months to get back to this blog. When I have so much to say, so many pictures to look through, I tend to get slightly overwhelmed and back off until I feel more ready. So back in January, I had a lot of different things going on in my personal life and couldn't face the task of dealing with this blog. Then February came, and I had an opportunity to get back to Botswana (more on that in posts to come). So now that I am back and a little more settled in my life, it is time to pick things back up and tell you about my time in Victoria Falls, March of 2010!

As I mentioned in my last post, I was looking forward to this Monday being the best day of my life. On the agenda: a trip to the falls, a stop at the curios market, jumping off a cliff, an elephant back safari, a dinner at the Boma, and a nighttime safari drive. What could possibly ruin this day? Waking up with the most violent stomach ache that I could hardly stand up straight.  Well, I wasn't about to let that get in my way! Let's do this!

The Livingstone Tree
 Our first stop on our 6am trip over to the Falls was at what has been nicknamed "The Livingstone Tree." For those of you who don't know, David Livingstone was a missionary and explorer and has been credited as the first European to see Victoria Falls. He carved his name into this tree forever ago.

My favorite view of the falls

This picture makes me laugh. I feel like it looks like I'm standing in front of a green screen or something

On our way back the hotel, we came across this elephant crossing the road. Love.
After we finished up at the falls, we headed back to the hotel to grab some breakfast. Since I was so sick, I just went back to bed until it was time to head out for the Gorge Swing! I was so incredibly excited about this, but at the same time...so nervous. But, I agreed to do it, so here we go!
The view from where we were "suiting up"
Me and My Mason

Now, I had agreed to jump with one of the interns, Kirsten, and we were the first to go. I was so freaked out as we were heading toward the edge of the plank that any time she grabbed on to hold me I would snap at her "Don't touch me!!!" It was even caught on video, but I'm not going to post that :) So one by one, we all jumped off the ledge...except we didn't really "jump" as much as "get forcefully shoved off the plank by the man running the show." Out of all of us gals, Miss Val was the only one who jumped on her own. We were so proud! Mason, who was 13 at the time, was preparing for his 6th jump. The poor kid was so nervous though that he kept coming up to me while the others were jumping, give me a hug and would say "If things don't go well here, just know that I love you." Funny kid!
The Courageous Miss Val
After this, we made a quick stop at the curios market, and then it was time for my lifelong dream to come true: ride an elephant through the African bush. I couldn't have been more excited! Oh, except that I still was incredibly sick and couldn't fully concentrate on anything that was going on that day. But I digress: time for the best experience ever!

Oh, and my pants ripped while getting on the elephant. Lovely.

I think that this is maybe the happiest I have ever been
My elephant, which I nicknamed "Adeki" which means "Little One" in Shona
After this, we showered up and then it was time for The Boma! I was so excited for this. It's pretty much a Vic Falls staple...you can't go to Vic Falls without spending a night dining here. It was such a fun experience; you got to try out all sorts of traditional things here: the clothes, a taste of their beer (it tasted like butter and oil. One sip was definitely enough), eat an enormous amount of food (which I couldn't do, because I was still sick), watch traditional dancers, get our faces painted, learn how to play their drums, etc. It's an all-night experience, and I loved it! I have to agree with everyone that was there that night: warthog is the best meat you'll ever have in your life. I find myself craving it, even now. Yum! To end the night, we were serenaded with the song "In the Jungle" (they sure know how to get the American tourists)
Group photo!
After this, we went on a night drive and saw more elephants, baboons, and water buffalo. Very, very cool way to end the trip. So all in all, this was basically the best day of my life, other than the fact that my body was begging me to spend the entire day in bed. I was so thankful for the opportunity to spend time in Zimbabwe at one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World! This was a trip that a lot of people would call "A Once In A Lifetime Opportunity." I like to prove people like that wrong. In February, 2011, I got to go back to Vic Falls! More on that later.