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June 16-July 3, 2010

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January 29 - February 5, 2011


I’m back to our room after just having had British High Tea whiling viewing the mist come off of Victoria Falls and two warthogs hangout on the nearby lawn. We arrived in Zimbabwe today, Monday, June 21, on a morning flight from Johannesburg. When we touched down, I thought for a second we might have to bribe the local officials to get into the country but apparently $60 US Dollars is the going rate. The economy is so bad here that they’ve all but abandoned the Zimbabwean dollar and have now opted to strictly use Euros and American Dollars which is good if you’ve got the cash, bad if you didn’t come prepared. Luckily, Tiffy plans for everything.

We toured Victoria Falls the following morning, taking a backwoods path accompanied by a security guard. There was elephant poop all over and we saw lots of monkeys hanging out. When we got to the Falls, we paid a $30 entrance fee and then decided to save $3 by skipping out on a poncho purchase. I have to remember to stop being so cheap. We got absolutely drenched. AND IT WAS AWESOME. It started out fairly innocuous with some light mist. As we moved closer to the bigger parts of the falls it moved to heavy mist to light rain to torrential down pour where we couldn’t see the falls in front of us. We dried off a little watching people bungee jump off the bridge between Zambabwe and Zambia. I think I’ve found a new worst job. After you’re done soiling yourself and are dangling upside down, they lower a local guy down on a rope to help you gather yourself and to help you back on the platform.

Later that afternoon we went shopping in town. We had heard a rumor that you could trade clothing for souvenirs so I brought along an old Purdue shirt. Sure enough, right away some guy wants to trade an elephant statue for my shoes. No dice. We stopped at the real stores to buy a $1 soda to break a $20. I guess they don’t have too much American currency because I got back a $2 bill and, I’m pretty sure, the first $1 bills ever printed. We decided to walk to the craft market next when two guys came up and wanted to sell us some trillion dollar bills. Trillion dollar bills? Yes, please. I worked out a deal with the guy but before I could pay a Tourism Police Officer showed up and ran the guy off in another language with me still holding the bills. I thought I might get revenge-killed for stealing but luckily, even though the cop walked around with us, the bill seller snuck into the craft market to collect and I gladly paid him. I’M A TRILLIONAIRE NOW!!! YOU WILL RESPECT ME OR I WILL HAVE YOU DESTROYED (on account of the fact that I have a trillion dollars and you don’t). I MIGHT BUY THE INTERNET OR YOUR CITY. I ONLY EAT BALD EAGLES TOPPED WITH GOLD SHAVINGS AND I WIPE MY BUTT WITH HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLS BECAUSE THAT’S HOW TRILLIONAIRES LIVE.

The next day, we crossed the border into Botswana (complete with stepping on some wet rags because Botswana is against foot and mouth disease and this helps). Then loaded into an open air jeep and headed into “the bush”. I’m fond of this. We got to our camp after a brief elephant encounter near the road. Our hotel is awesome and sits in Chobe National Park on the Chobe River. Across the river is Namibia. Our hotel host says it’s safe to swim in the river. Today we took a boat ride and I saw a crocodile the length of a mini-van. Tiff says you’d have to pay her $7000 to just get in the river enough to submerge her body. So there’s that. We may not get to cross off Namibia. We have seen more elephants than I thought existed in the world. We also saw giraffes (nature’s weirdest animal), monkeys, baboons, water buffalo, a leopard, lions, impala (I haven’t seen a black SS with the nav-i-ga-tion version though), kudu, monitor lizards, bush bucks (our guide said they could “make their meat taste flavorless” if a predator shows up), warthogs (super ugly), badgers, and hippos. Sadly, I have not been able to pitch a watermelon into the mouth of a hippo yet. When we saw the leopard, he was hunting something and lying low on the ground. We pulled up perpendicular to him and watched him lying there. Shortly after, he saw something he liked and started moving – directly at me. I clenched my fists, and prepared to hide behind Tiffany. Then he ducked under our jeep and I got to live another day. There was much rejoicing.

Tomorrow we fly to another part of Chobe Park for more safari-ing and hopefully some cheetah sightings. I’ve been lugging around Cheetos and sunglasses for over a week now hoping to blend in and make lots of cheetah friends. We will see.



  1. Your Mah Said,

    The story of the leopard make me gasp!! I agree with Tiff about swimming in the river. One of my favorite books to read to Kindergartners was A Kiss for a Warthog. Seeing your photo made me decide for sure against ever kissing one. Glad to hear you’re a Trillionaire, cause Dad and I are spending your inheritance! Love you. Travel safely.
    P.S. We haven’t read any of your blog to Keady. We were afraid it would make her nervous and it’s hard to stop a nail biting habit in a dog, once it gets started.

  2. Jim Cross Said,

    Great photos and narratives! I’m glad you paid attention in Ms. Johnson’s high school literature and expository writing class. I envy your travels. Dad/Jim

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