Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Road to Swaziland Epic, Part Three

Note: I have pictures of the wildcat reserve, but my net connection is too shaky to add them. I'll add them later in a new post. In the meantime, make sure to read Parts One and Two of this travel story, below!


Morning: The baz bus is one hour late. I hope it shows, because I don't want to spend another night here.

It won't stop raining — it's been drizzling nonstop, and it's cold to the point that my washing is still wet. Had to beg a nausea pill off the hostelkeepers. Despite my stomach's best attempts, I didn't manage to vomit properly this morning, and I'm not interested in succeeding on the bus.

Evening: Arrived at the hostel. Still raining. Feeling less nauseous except when I try to eat. Accidentally left my laundry on the bus, and I only realized it when I gathered up my dirty clothes for the laundry services. Oops. Can't say this hasn't happened before, but now I don't know the person I left it with; no chance of getting anything back.

So — I'm down to three shirts, two boxers, one pair of shorts, and a couple of impractical, dressy outfits. (And more socks than I'll ever need -- I could give them away like tourists give away candies.) This ought to last me approximately three days if I stretch my wardrobe; that's just enough time to pick up some pants in Swaziland and make do.


There's a minute lizard scampering past my bare feet. His steps look just like involuntary twitches, so I feel like I'm watching him have an epileptic fit from one end of the sundeck to the other. He's one of my few entertainments in this nearly-deserted hostel.

Last night was easier than I expected — I just stole a few extra blankets from empty beds. The dorm was empty of guests except for me and a dude from Mexico, so there were plenty to go around. Still not 100%, but I'm thinking and talking more clearly. Good signs. And this morning the rain stopped and the sun winked to life.

Yesterday, as planned, I arrived at the Isinkwe Backpacker's Bush Camp near the local Hluhluwe Game Reserve. Isinkwe is a lot more comfortable when it's sunny and dry. The swimming pool is usable, you can braai your own food on the communal grill, and the dorms and showers, lacking in insulation or walls as they are, feel quite comfortable. It clouded over for a few minutes, so I'm writing from my room right now, in fact:

There's a bar by the cafeteria, though I wouldn't call it full — I'm confident I could count their bottles on my fingers and toes. Regardless, I'm still sick, so I'm ordering fantas only (which are delicious in this country).

My roommate — a Mexican fellow named Paco — and I went to see the wildcat reserve at their evening feeding time. We both had the same problem: we'd arrived too late for any of the big game safaris, so we had a long stay at the hostel with nothing to do. The wildcat reserve was as far as we went, but we managed to see a couple of amazing creatures.

Sadly, I think that will be it for game parks here at Hluhluwe. I'd rather save my money for sharkdiving in Cape Town. But there are still plenty of opportunities for excitement in Swaziland, so stay tuned! I can't promise on a day-by-day update because Africa is thin on net cafes. I'll let you know as soon as I can, though, just what a tiny African dictatorship looks like.

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