Cultural Learnings in The Delta

— 06 Apr 2012 —

Today I had a lazy day. There was an early morning safari walk scheduled but they told me it would be a total of 4-5 hours of trekking so screw that shit. I’ve had my fair share of safaris so it was my morning to sleep in and chill.

Awakening only because the heat in my tent was too much to handle (*M didn’t want to park our tent under a tree incase a branch fell on us at night), *B, *I and I chatted about Germany whilst *P cooked us a traditional English breakfast. With wors instead bangers. And here is where I learnt my first lesson. Drink beer. Wherever you go. You never know when you’re going to need emptys to construct something else (that was *P’s excuse for drinking anyways).

Later when everyone else was now chilling, my Poler decided to give me a lesson in poling. It consisted of forward, right, reverse, forward, reverse, left, reverse. And more reverses. It was embarrassing. And to top that, 4 of the group were waiting for me at the inlet to go swimming. They left as soon as I got there. That’s how long it took me to get to the inlet which was less than 100m away. Fail. So lesson two of the day, experience different cultures but don’t feel bad when one doesn’t get it right. At least I tried. It’s better than any of the others.

During my brief dip (by myself, so sad) the Poler and I heard the hippos calling over the reeds. The Poler said they were about 300m away so we went for a little joy ride at my request. We were going to look for hippos! Following the narrow channels to the lagoon, we found them slothing at the edges (the blobs you see in the bottom photo). In amongst the reeds, chillin’ and cooling off from the afternoon heat. I don’t blame them, I wanted to do that myself but not in hippo territory. So lesson 3 for the day, don’t willingly go and look for hippos although the thought of doing it seems awesome at the time. If you didn’t know, but they are the most dangerous animals in Africa.

After a brush with the deadly animals, the Poler thought me how to make traditional waterlily necklaces. The result? The Delta ecosystem was short a bunch of waterlilies. Well, I did have to make some for the group aswell. And *P did look rather sexy with one of them on.

Leaving *P to do his thing with the potjie, we headed off for the sunset cruise. Thinking it was going to quite a long cruise, we were all giddy in our mokoro. But to our disappointment we stopped at the lagoon and headed no further. Maybe because of the pod of hippos? In the end it wasn’t much of a bother because of the excellent view we had in the lagoon. The colours are stunning. I don’t understand what makes an African sunset so much more different to the other sunsets around the world.

Headed back, the full moon (and the smell of the potjie) guided us. It provided us with so much light that night. So much so, the J-team (including girl *J) couldn’t find a proper hiding spot to smoke local weed. I was quite disappointed at the full moon and the cloud cover because I wanted to go star-gazing. *P had mention The Delta was the best place for star-gazing but it was ruined by the full moon, as stunning as it was.

Oh well, there’s always next time! (And no, it’s not my excuse for having to go back I swear!)


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