Canoe Ride at Midnight?

Okavango Delta, Botswana –

We were all tired from camping out on the Delta so we packed up our camp and got back in the makoros to work our way back to civilization. One relaxing makoro ride, one exhilarating speed boat ride and one very long, hot and dusty safari vehicle ride across the desert later we were back at our campsite. The truck was in town doing errands so we headed to the bar where I wad what tasted like the most refreshing vodka tonic I can ever recall. We stayed in the bar for a while until the truck returned so we could get cleaned up enough to go back to the bar to party.

We got pretty wrecked, entertained by the Botswanans playing their favorite bar game (next to darts). Most bars have a huge twenty foot pole in the center of the room – it’s wooden, polished and might possibly be lacquered, but it’s slick. The locals all try to climb to the pole and if you reach the top you get a bottle of booze. (Unverified info.) It was a really cool watching various people make their attempts at climbing the pole – it kept us entertained for a very long time. When I got bored with that I went back to my tent to go to bed. Everyone staggered back to their tents, but an hour or so later Steve, our driver and Mike, the Brit, came around to rally everyone back to the bar for round two. I’d run out of Botswanan pula (the local currency) so I was just sitting around the bar when Steve and Mike said they’d “found” a canoe on the shore and had been paddling out onto the delta.

We went down to the water and all climbed into the canoe. With Steve as or driver he paddled us out into the middle of the Delta where we proceeded to have a smoke under the stars. It was brilliant. We had some minor navigational problems going back to shore for the current was pushing us against the opposite side of the waterway. After very little perseverance we made it back to shore just in time to follow everyone back to camp to go to bed.

Quick Delta side note: On Thanksgiving Rich and I didn’t ever know it was a holiday. It started when I asked Rich the day of the week because I couldn’t remember. I knew what the date was because I’d been writing in the journal, but the day of the week didn’t seem to matter. “Thursday,” he responded. Thursday! It was the third Thursday in November – Thanksgiving! We had our a Thanksgiving dinner of canned spaghetti mixed with baked beans cooked over an open fire – yum, yum.

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