Jim is really good natured, able to talk to anyone and seems intelligent. Tom doesn’t appear to be that educated at all. He says things like, “If you eat a bulb of garlic you’ll be really healthy. I haven’t tried this myself, but . . .” Things like that. Throughout the course of this trip I’ll jot down some of the classic quotes as I remember them.
We are also going to be travelling with a British guy we met at the Sable, who signed up at the pre-departure meeting. His name’s Mike, but he told us his nickname is Gully – for gullible. This guy is so British and so vain. Without offending anyone if I could choose some Chi Phis to compare to this guy I’d choose myself, Nils, pat Devlin, Alex Miller & Derek. Take the general characteristics of these guys and roll them up into a vain guy who didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he signed up for the safari. I’m vain, but I knew what I was getting myself into – it’ll be interesting to see what Gully’s reaction (or mine for that matter) will be when we have to push the truck out of the thigh-high deep mud in Zaire. These are the only other guys on the trip – there’s eleven of us on a truck build for eighteen. The girls are all Gamma Phi beta caliber; four New Zealanders, one Aussie and surprisingly one American. Two of the Kiwis are names Raewyn and Judy – really cool girls, main un peut laide. Tina is wholesome – the homely type. Then there’s Jenny. Jenny is friends with the American girl Stephanie, both of whom lived in Amsterdam together. They’re definitely liberal and free spirited. Jenny’s the graphic designer, creative one where Stephanie’s more the Berkeley nature type. Both are really cool. Finally there’s Brenda the Aussie girl, a little older, maybe a mature 29 or 31. She’s really cool, a mellow woman with a crew cut and quite a few earrings. She works at a cemetery doing the paperwork for coffins, plots, etc. It’s bizarre when she tells us stuff like, “If you’re cremated and buried in the ground you don’t have any legal rights to the land.” Bizarre. That’s just one of the useful bits of info we’ve picked up. The whole group appears to work pretty well together.
And there we go. The morning of the 20th we woke up, packed our bags and went over to the hotel to meet our truck driver and trip coordinator (don’t let those titles fool you). Boz is our “trip coordinator” who is just another Kiwi dude having a good time. The only problem is that he hasn’t been on many of the optional excursion trips so he can never tell us anything about them. Steve is our Aussie driver who’s so mellow. We befriended him because he’s the man to get some cobs from. It appears that our pot is just included in the price of the trip – it’s been fun. Steve’s a funny guy – he’s rugged, like he’s experienced in driving a truck through East Africa, but he doesn’t look the part. He’s got my wiry build only shorter. Too funny.
O.K. let’s move on. The truck finally arrived (it hadn’t been completely fixed before we were to leave) so we piled all our gear on and started our journey out of Harare. Rich and I were relieved, we were finally starting some of the more rugged travelling. It’ll be good; we were relaxed in Malawi after tearing around Egypt, and then we’ll relax again in India after our rugged safari. Our huge German M.A.N. truck with the sides rolled up headed out of Harare to the sound of Brad’s Eric Clapton tape.
The truck is really large – it’s got two rows of seats sitting up on a raised stage area, then there are twelve airplane type seats all the way back. Plus there’s a semi-decent stereo to we can blare our music for everyone to hear. We were heading south west to Masovingo where we’d get to see the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The ruins consist of some towers and walls from an old city that used to sit up on these hills. Now I wasn’t too psyched on these things at all. After living in Great Britain for over a year I have seen so many ruins of old castles and forts I wasn’t too interested in this one.
We were cruising along when out left rear tire had a blowout. We couldn’t believe it, it was our first day out! We pulled over and had lunch while we changed the tire, so it didn’t seem that bad. Back in the truck to drive through the scrub dry land onward to Masovingo. Arrived at the campsite in the early evening and pitched our tents. After our dinner (cooked over an open fire) we began the quest for the elusive Southern Cross. Rich and I mentioned our trouble in finding it to everyone else, but no one seems to know where it is, and these people are from the Southern hemisphere. Haven’t asked Jim or Tom yet, so there’s still a glimmer of hope.
Got up in the morning of the 21st and drove to the Ruins themselves.