Top of Mt Doom, NZ, black and white
Top of Mt Doom, NZ, black and white
  • Goodbye Yellow Truck Road
    • 22/10/2017
Vic falls and farewells

Oh yeah nearly forgot. I'm not dead, and the trip isn't over. Well, the Oasis Overlanding part is. Weird to say goodbye to the yellow truck that has become home and the rag tag bunch of fellow employment dodgers who have become family; have been commenting recently how life on the road just feels normal, no longer a holiday.
The trip finishes on a high though, at Victoria Falls, as our overnight train pulled in right on schedule, three hours late. The falls are spectacular even in low water, with half of the span dry, but I didn't feel the same "wow" factor as when I first saw Niagara. Maybe just becoming blasé to world wonders.

The upsides of low water are plentiful - reduced spray and vapour clouds, so the falls actually visible, "devils pool", a natural infinity pool right at the edge of the falls safe to visit, (via a one day border crossing to Zambia - more passport stamps!) and the full 19 rapids available for white water rafting, ranging from 3-5. I fell out approx 5 times but still not drowned.

Vic falls the town is a 20th century bubble, where the restaurants have touch screen tills and everything works. The streets are however plagued with locals selling the usual tat, plus the amusing slash appalling billion dollar notes from the days of hyperinflation.
I've got a ten trillion, but doubt it'll help such with the retirement fund.

So with this chapter at an end, I should be reflecting and summing up right? Na, that sort of cool analysis would be an admittance that fun times are over.
I hate all those questions about "best bits" and highlights, so don't ask.

The continent is a fascinating blend of old and new, lifestyles barely changed for thousands of years alongside modern technology. When the rest of the world has its nuclear meltdown, Africa will carry on unaffected.
You can't help but be affected by seeing people living in such basic and poor conditions when compared with our developed nations, but have to remember they never had anything more.
One of our fellow passengers returned home to write a scathing commentary on the voyeuristic nature of this type of tourism, and questioning whether our presence even in a considerate and sympathetic capacity is an intrusion and interference.
To that I'd say hmmm. All tourism is voyeuristic. Pointing cameras into peoples faces and lives like theyre zoo animals just because they're different is not OK anywhere in the world - but seeing these things, different cultures, landscapes, customs, lifestyles is exactly why we travel - to broaden horizons and understanding of others, rather than feeling no connection to some place name you hear on the news once in a blue moon. And I'd much rather see things first hand rather than on tv, even if the experiences are sometimes somewhat staged.

Now I've arrived in South Africa its struck home even more how ignorant I am of African history. Should I blame the school curriculum for not discussing imperialism or apartheid at all, whilst focusing so much on Germany and Russia, or is that classed as "current affairs", and my own fault for not researching?

Wow, that was a big digression.
So yeah it was nice to see the animals doing their thing, the vast landscapes, the colourful culture.
It was fun to travel in a group, (most of the time!), and it was certainly nice to have no logistics to think about. On the downside, the pace of the trip was sometimes too quick, well, it would have been nice to linger and explore pretty much everywhere, but that was not the remit of the tour, and as an introductory overview it served its purpose well.
I don't want to pull out anecdotes and name names, so much happened that I've already forgotten half of it. And you had to be there.

Oh one last thing. At Vic falls airport security, my spork set off the security alarms, and despite my protests and invitations for the security personnel to assault me with it (to prove its harmlessness), it was deemed a potential weapon and not allowed in hand luggage.
But as I was despairing the prospect of losing my beloved cutlery, I was led through various corridors and coded doors to the baggage sorting section and allowed to repack it in my hold luggage! Unprecedentedly helpful! Hope for Zimbabwe yet?


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