Monday, December 14, 2009

Back to Life - Back to Reality

Yes, I know. It's been awfully quiet here. Although there has been plenty to report from my recent trip to Southern Africa, I simply couldn't find a practical way to keep in touch with you. Partially because I've been moving around a lot, but mainly because the Internet, as you know it, just hasn't found its way yet to those places I visited.

I'm back in Norway now, where I'm currently converting a great many pages of handwritten notes into captions and stories that you may want to read. As usual, the mountain of photos I have to conquer is a mighty one, so this may take a while. I'll enjoy every second of it.

For now, here's a brief summary of how I spent the last four weeks:

I flew to Johannesburg and immediately escaped to Pretoria, only to find that nowadays it's called Tshwane instead. Or maybe not. They haven't quite decided yet. I repeated a long walk from my last visit there, and I think things have improved, security-wise. I didn't shit myself even once this time around. The closest I got to being physically attacked was when the woman at the tourist information office requested "Will you tell me where you're from, please?", and I apparently, quite rude, responded with "No way!".

Moving on, I had some good days in the Drakensberg and Lesotho. I managed to nearly kill myself only once. I went hiking near Sani Pass in dense fog when suddenly and for a few hours I only knew that I was in Africa, but not quite where in Africa. It could have been worse. I could have been surrounded by a blizzard instead of just fog. Incidentally, that's exactly what I got a few days later, when I ventured into a remote part of Lesotho. Heavy snow wasn't exactly what I had expected from Lesotho. Then again, in hindsight I can safely say the same about pretty much everything I did and saw in Lesotho. It's a funny place.

After leaving behind all my warm clothes with the people of Lesotho, who need them a lot more than I did for the rest of my trip, I went back to Johannesburg. There I joined an overland tour to head into Mozambique, another funny place. I slept in a tent in the wilderness. The camp had no electricity, yet the only thing separating me from lions, elephants and whatnots there was a supposedly electrical fence. Hmmm...

We traveled up the coast, the beaches steadily increasing in beauty the further north we went. In Vilanculo I went on an epic journey to mail some postcards. I celebrated having completed that mission by sailing around the Basaruto Islands in a dhow. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), large crocodiles live on those islands. Some natives kept me safely away from those ravenous beasts, and I rewarded them richly for their services. (They now have enough party balloons to last them a decade, I swear.)

On my way back to reality I made a stop in the famous Kruger park in South Africa for a few days of safaris and game drives. Unfortunately I did not find any new species this time around. I did discover a couple of new rivers, though. They both ran with gusto through my tent during a most intense nocturnal thunderstorm.

That's it, although I now see that I left out a couple of highlights. Anyway, I'm still alive, and that's all I really wanted to say.

Oh, and since I've been gone, my photos have found their way into the annual report of the Gumala aboriginals (here), and there's a good chance my iguana photo ends up on an Iceland CD cover in the near future. I'm thrilled, obviously!
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