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Showing posts from April, 2010

Botswana and Beyond

Last night I went on a walking tour of Victoria falls and they were breathtaking (and I got soaking wet, thank goodness for the waterproof camera!).

After that I went on a sunset cruise of Zambia river - that borders Zimbawe. I saw a hippo and was within about... a meter from a crocodile!! I screamed when he moved - scared the crap out of me!!!

I'm just checking out of my hotel now in Livingstone, Zambia and then making a drive to Elephant Lodge in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

I'm trying to put together a bunch of posts on the activities of the last few days....the pictures I took can't begin to fully show how beautiful it is here. I'm dissapointed to not have spent a few more days in Zambia so that I could learn a bit more about the culture, it is so incredibly beautiful here.

(Apologies for the unanswered emails, I have been a bit rushed seeing the animals and tours, etc and am thinking of you all.)

Not sure what kind of internet connection I'll have...it may …

Z is for Zebra

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I had just finished eating my warthog, crocodile tail, and antelope and was on my way back to my room.....

And then I saw them. And I let out a yelp. Hearing my gasp/yelp, a bar staff asked me, Are you scared? It's okay!

I said, NO!! I'm fine....BUT there are zebras!!! In the grass!!
Now....I can understand his confused look - because basically this is the equivalent of a someone from Europe or Asia coming to Jasper Park and freaking out that they saw an elk or a mountain goat or something... but I completely freaked out.

I was....like....THREE feet from wild Zebra.

Wild Zebra are in my backyard. And...I haven't even started the safari tours.

I ran back to my room, grabbed my camera.....and I couldn't stop saying over and over again (in a whisper-yell - so that I wouldn't scare them) OH MY GOD, THERE ARE ZEBRAS!! OH MY GOD, THERE ARE ZEBRAS!!!(and yes, I FOR SURE looked like a crazy white woman....)



I have been having a really hard time grasping that I'm in Zambi…

No worries and a full belly

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Hi Everyone!

I've arrived safe and sound in Livingstone, Zambia after a quick two hour flight from Johannesburg.

This afternoon, I took a very quick tour of Victoria Falls (one of the seven wonders of the world) and will be back again tomorrow for a guided tour. Zambia's (aka Northern Rhodesia) history - from what I've learned so far, is amazing.
I've taken, oh....a few hundred pictures or so....and until tomorrow when I get a chance to upload them, here's what I ate for supper:
Antelope (tastes sort of gamey - but very similar to the zebu I eat in Madagascar Crocodile tail!! Just the tail section for some reason??? It was a cross between....chicken and fish. And lastly...warthog!! And...vey surprisingly...it tastes like chicken! It was really good and I loved it!!




But now....I can't seem to get that Hakuna Matata song from the Lion King out of my head...

Snorkling Pics - Reunion Island

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Look - if you're expecting some Jaques Cousteau pics, check out another website...these pictures aren't anything spectacular - but I've had this peice of crap underwater camera for nearly a year and haven't put it to good use until now. So here are some of the better pictures of when I went snorkling at Hotel Du Grand Lagon last week.

Have I mentioned I have an irrational fear of fish???

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I think...and hope this is a sea cucumber? If not, Reunion beaches are really, really yucky.... Yes - I'm smiling. Mainly because I'm just happy that any fish haven't bitten me (which is part of my irrational fear...).


That's it, folks. I would one day like to get the courage to learn how to scuba dive...but...let's start with making it back home alive after this Safari trip....

Zzzzzzzzambia

Zzzzzzz....It's 6h00 and I'm just about to leave for breakfast and the airport. Was up really late last night, didn't sleep (excited) and am now very sleepy. Zzzzzzzzzzz....

Yesterday I went shopping at a mall in Johannesburg and felt relatively safe. Had an awesome, awesome taxi driver who answered all of my bazillion questions and talked about the history of South Africa. I can't beleive how different life is here for the blacks and the whites - and especially how different it was until 1994.

Today is the celebration of independance here - where Nelson Mandela overturned all the rules against the blacks. Up until this day in 1994, black people weren't allowed in certain parts of the city, had a curfew, couldn't use the same toilets as white people, the list goes on... I'm kind of dissapointed not to be spending the day here, I'm interested what the celebrations would be like.

So, I'm off to Zambia. I'm excited, nervous, anxious, scared, EXCITE…

Living the life of luxury....

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Starting off with a trip to the laundry mat

And WHAT a deal!! Only €5/load!?! (Actually...it is a good deal. I looked at the hotel and it would have cost me over €140 to do my laundry...) I drank a sports drink while I waited. Being in +30*C, 80% humidity, and having done a quick work out earlier on - I was feeling a bit quesy.
Followed by a fancy dinner at McDonalds (confusion previously described here)
And then to bed....by about 22h00.

Am I crazy (okay - don't answer that) that this was one of my funnest days on vacation yet?

When in....

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When in Rome France, do as the French.

I know...is this scandalous, or what? But I felt left out being the only one on the beach with a top on. Note to new topless sunbathers - that skin - is very sensitive: Apply extra sunscreen.

Twilight Zone - Reality Version. I think.

Tonite, I went grocery shopping, bought laundry detergent and face wash, went to a laundry mat, and then drove thirty minutes to have McDonalds for supper. McDONALDS!?!? I never knew such thing existed - on an island - that is 63 kilometres (39 mi) long; 45 kilometres (28 mi) wide - had a McDonalds.

There were two of us, and I'm the only French speaker - so I went up to order. It went something like this: (but in French)

McD worker: Is this order to stay or to go?
Me: Um...to eat here. Like, in the restaurant? Is that okay?
McD worker: Okay, what would you like.
Me: Um....do you have Big Macs?
McD worker (patiently): yes
Me: Okay. Um... a Big Mac? And... a medium french fry? And... a drink? Can I make that drink a Coca? (for some reason the French drop the "Cola" - don't know why)
McD worker: Okay. Would you like to make that supersized?
Me - very confused: Um... no? I don't think so?

This continued while I ordered my chicken Mcnugget meal. I paid, and then as I was walk…

The Accidental African Adventure - Part II

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A little different than the first Accidental African Adventure...but I think it qualifies as accidental - since technically I'm supposed to just have finished some dental surgery back in Edmonton. A few cancelled flights, a couple of phone calls and instead I'm in Reunion, planning a spur-of-the-moment African Adventure....

This is probably one of the most surreal moments in my life. I don't even really feel that excited. I'm thinking that will come tomorrow maybe...

I just confirmed my itinerary - here it is...



April 25, 26, 27: Johannesberg
April 27, 28, 29: Zambia
April 29, 30, May 1, May 2, May 3: Botswana - Chobe National Park
May 3, 4, 5: Botswana - Okavango Delta




May 5, 6, 7, 8: Western Cape, Cape Winelands, Frankshoek
May 8, 9: Johannesberg
May 9, 10, 11: St. Denis Reunion
May 11: Tamatave, MG



In light of anything else to say....holy sh*t!!!!!I'm going on a Safari!!!!


Reunion Thanks

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Here is what I first saw when I first saw when I arrived at the St. Denis Reunion airport. Is it crazy that I was nearly jumping for joy?

I really wrestled with my decision to change my plans and not to come home to Canada... but when I saw this...and then realized if I had kept my original plans - I would be waiting - in airports - for who knows how long.... I felt a sense of releif.


So - rented myself a car and started the drive to the bestest resort on Reunion Island.


The scenery is always amazing. Last time, it was rainy/cyclone season. Now it's sunshine skies!




Ahh....Le Grand Hotel Du Lagon. Upon arrival, the staff greet you with a cold cloth and cocktail and then are guided to your room.

And then it was time for dinner. Sunsets just after 18h00 here. I watched the sunset tonight - it all happens in about 30 seconds. The sun just dissapears into the ocean. (Next time, I'll bring my camera!!)


The buffet restaurant. Fairly decent food, and only €38/person for supper. (?!?!?!…

Manje-ah Pionne Paris

My original flights to Paris turned out to be cancelled. This means that instead of lounging on the beach this morning, I would have been STILL at the airport fighting to get on a flight out - along with the other thousands of people whose flights had been cancelled for the past five or six days.

I had a lot of doubts about putting the kaibosh on this trip back to Canada....and I think I was THE ONLY one jumping for joy when I saw the cancelled flights - confirming that I made the right decision.

I still don't really know what I'm doing yet.

I had been wanting to see a doctor in a first world country for some time, and the wonderful people at the Expat ER have arranged for me to see a highly recommended doctor in Johannesberg the day after I land!!!

I have a list of potential activies and where to go once I arrive in Johannesberg. (I still can't beleive I'm saying this) You can count on seeing some pictures of an African safari on my blog by next week.

I think I am - o…

Multiple Choice Test

Should I...

A) Stay up all night, checking for updates for flights to Paris and then from Paris? And then scramble to find alternative arrangements at the last minute and risk getting stuck on this freaking island?

B) Drive to the airport, all packed and ready to go, and then find out my flights have been cancelled and spend a number of days trying to find a way off of this freaking island?

C) Succesfully make the flight to Paris, but then risk the chance of getting stranded in Paris? End up on a waiting list to take the next flight out?

D) Make a bunch of flights with ridiculous waiting times in between connections and fly for a solid three days. And hope there are no delays/cancellations....and then hope that I can get back on my original flights back to Tamatave?

E) Cancel my flights to Canada and back; suck it up and realize that June or August are so not far away and I can see my family/friends then; reserve a seat on the next flight to Reunion, book a suite in a five star hotel Reuni…

The solution for dealing with the challenges of expat-life

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is to:



...And repeat as necessary.

Not always easy as it sounds...

Crazy Ash

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Does it sound just a little crazy that I'm stressing out because I might not be able to make it to
Canada as planned because of that stupid volcano in Iceland?

MG isn't the most convinient place to get to. (No big surprise there, as it's an island the Indian Ocean that still remains on the government of Canada's list of places to avoid for any "non-essential travel". ). The easiest, and quickest route here and back is to Toronto, Paris, St. Denis Reunion, and then Tamatave. This "quick" way takes 40 hours.

Unfortunately, Paris airports - still remain closed. Urgh.

Let's see....Here are my major plans in Canada:
- FOUR dentist appointments (one is surgery, ICK!)
- one doctor's appointment
- a whole shwack of running around and errands.

If, by Tuesday, the ash hasn't cleared enough for me to fly to Paris and onto Edmonton here are the alternatives:

1. Fly to Bangkok, then to Hong Kong, then to Vancouver, then to Edmonton (which would be incredibly …

Sunday Birthdays

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The past two Sundays were spent at birthday parties!
Birthday #1: Sunday, April 4

Decorations by the expat pool:

One of the birthday boys lovin' his gift. Walmart does this really cool thing where you upload like 25 or so pictures and they make a collage. We had it framed in palisandre, a local type of wood. Figured he needed a special gift since he was turning the big "5-0"!


Party almost in full swing....
The party quickly became a game of "who could beam who in the head with a nerf ball the most" and "who could push who into the pool the most". I think I lost both contests...


And the birthday cake. Any birthday cake in MG never actually makes it to the destination in one peice or without some major damage...
We tried to fix it with chocolate sauce....but this was after a few drinks...

It's supposed to read, Happy Birthday Old Folks (it was a double birthday party).

Uh....don't worry - I won't quit my day job....


Birthday party #2: Sunday, April 11…