Day 19 – August 1
(PAUL) We drove to Divindu for gas. We had to wake up the attendant at about 12:30am. He was friendly but still sleepy. Then we drove to 3 campsites before finally settling on Ngepi, the only one open. We pitched camp at 1:30am right along the river. I went to the ablutions after getting directions from a young man with a rifle. He said it was to ward off thieves. We all easily fell asleep after an exhausting day.
(SAM) Paul and I awoke early in order to find the Catholic mission that we knew was in Divindu. We had to find the church and find out what time Mass was. We also had to find money and food. Unlike the Sunday before, this Sunday was a complete failure. We asked so many people directions to the Catholic church that we ended up asking the man at the gas station three separate times. Many of the people in Divindu did not speak English. The building that I think was the church was a small concrete block building with no information. This was a sad day in T-weed history because we had never missed Mass on Sunday no matter where we were. Even when we were at Luxor in Upper Egypt, Dave discovered a place where we could go to Mass. Nothing went well this morning in Divindu. There was no place to exchange money and we could not buy groceries until 11:00. The road back to our campsite was more bumpy than usual.
We collected Chris and made ready to eat peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. While Chris and I finished breakfast, Paul collected information from Adi and Yaniv, two doods from Israel. Paul also collected information at the camp’s bar/office. Paul discovered that we could exchange money and employ a local to launder our clothes – all right there in the campsite. We needed to clean out the Asia Rocsta and it seemed like a good time to reorganize before the final stretch through Botswana and Zimbabwe. We decided to stay at the same campsite another night. After collecting laundry, exchanging money, purifying water, cleaning out the Asia, and trying to fix the broken door of the Asia, we were ready to see Mahango park.
At the gate of the park, we payed our fee and the office guy was surprisingly helpful and friendly. He must have been a native of Botswana. There were two good places in the park to get a good view of the hippos and crocs, but they were far off. There were also some great baobob trees with their huge trunks and roots sticking up in the air. Paul was gathering information from some germans and found out that, “most tourists are killed by hippos.” This is somewhat hard to believe. So far, all three of us are still alive. We also talked to some friendly people from Belgium who followed us all throughout the park.
At the same site where we saw the far away crocs, we also saw two baboons fighting and a bird who swam underwater. We threw plenty of rocks to try and stir up underwater hippos. Chris can throw rocks with both his right and left hands; he says he is amphibious. On the way back to our camp site through town, we got gas and discovered that the Spar had just closed. Despite our pleas they would not open. The only place we could find to buy food was a local greasy spoon hang-out. We stood out pretty bad but the people were very nice. We ordered three cokes, three chips, and three hot dog-like creatures to cut up in our canned speghetti. It was already dark by the time we got back to Ngepi camp but the bar was full and the music was playing, a great 80’s mix.
We cooked our food at a nice table right by the bar/office and ate well. After dinner a man named Andre asked us if we wanted to take a boat ride on the Okavango River the next morning. We had planned on a ride on the river to see crocs and hippos and thought the next morning would be swell. Paul then bellied up to the bar to gather information and Chris and I found our wet laundry piled in a basket.
We hung it up and then wrote post cards. While Paul was getting his vitamin V, he talked to Andre about the next day’s events. Andre stoked up the fire and we talked to him about many things while he talked to us about rugby. That night we went to sleep to the sound of loud drunks staggering around the camp.