The good, the bad, and the ugly

Sun, 12 May 2002 09:27:51 +0900

The good:

4 days in Kruger NP. On our first game drive, we saw 3 Wild Dogs harassing some wildebeasts. Late drives were not so spectacular but we did see the usual collection of elephants, giraffes, antelope, and one lion hidden in the grass. The night drive yielded mostly eyes and impalas. There were a few bush babies but I could only make out the eyes reflecting the spot light.

On the last morning, we went on a game walk. A lone spotted hyena approached. We crouched down so as to appear smaller. The curious hyena nosed around us, approaching within 15 feet before finally moving on.

A couple of leopards were heard, one very close, but none seen. We did see a few giraffes.

The bad:

Yesterday afternoon, I returned to Pretoria. After retrieving my main pack from storage, I hauled my luggage into the dorm. It was then that I realized I did not have my camera bag with me. My first thought was that I must have left it on the tour bus. Frantically, I went to the hostel front desk who phoned the tour company. It's a little unclear who was contacted and when but, as of this morning, the word was that the bag was not on the bus. The group that is currently at the camp site is supposed to check the tents to see if the bag was left there. But I'm not optimistic. I am reasonably sure I had the camera bag on the bus and security in an unlocked, unwatched tent is so feeble that I really doubt the bag would remain there. In addition to the expensive camera, I lost the last roll and a half of film I shot. That includes the wild dog photos.

The Zim trip is pretty much dead. The major bus lines no longer go to Zimbabwe. Information on alternative service is not readily available. And, anyway, I don't think I can cope well with the tricky situation in Zimbabwe with the loss of the camera so fresh.

Plans to extend the trip are also pretty much dead. I remember how I felt after the day pack was stolen. It's going to take a while to recover. Better to go home then to try to improvise under these conditions. I will purchase a compact camera here. That will be adequate for the UK stretch.

The ugly:

It's probably just as well I don't make plans that depend on changing my tickets. Airline Consolidators, from whom I purchased my trans-Atlantic tickets, is stubbornly refusing to be of any use at all. They even told the local Air Canada rep to "talk to Air Canada". It's going to be a challenge to get the tickets re-issued, much less changed.

On a lighter, but still ugly, note: It's been cold here. The hostel has no heat but does have vents and doors and windows that tend to be open. It's beginning to warm but the last few days have been a desperate attempt to cobble together warmth from a wardrobe tuned for heat. The night drive was especially cold even with 4 of us huddled together under a blanket.