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Previous Day August 26, 2000 Next Day
Another early wake-up call, another day with no idea about what to expect. Our next stop: Mana Pools, which is a Zimbabwe game park only 30 minutes away by plane (there is no real road to the Mana Pools). Jill sat in the co-pilot's chair this time and after another bumpy ride, Emmanuel landed in a dirt strip surrounded by forest scrub. Emmanuel took off as our bush guide picked us up in a land rover. We drove over a dirt track to the Zambezi river. At this point, our new guide James gave us a quick canoe tutorial, which is needed to avoid hippos and crocs. Turned out we needed that information soon, because downriver we paddled by two elephants dueling in the water. We stopped our canoes in front of them, and James decided we should picnic on the riverbank. We ate and watched the elephants. While eating, an African kite (similar to a hawk), dove at Jill's head and grabbed a brown hair scrunchie from her head! Shaken but okay, she didn't know what hit her. The bird must have thought her hair beret was a mouse. The bird came back and stole a chicken leg off my plate. I felt its wings brush my shoulder and in a feather flash it left with my food. Sheesh - the birds around here have atrocious table manners. Later that day, I urgently needed to answer Nature's call. We paddled over to the bank and while James and Jill explored the surrounding country (armed w/pistol and rifle in case of trouble), I hunkered down to business. James gave me a shovel and said, "Dig. Bury. Then burn the toilet paper. Oh yeah, don't do it too close to the river or a croc will get you." With that last bit in mind, I dug a hole 10 yards from the river edge under a large, umbrella-like bush. While I squatted, some hippos and one elephant came over and watched. I finished to the loud bleating of curious hippos, not really an applause, but I bowed anyway.
We parked the canoe and watched these guys from afar (although it didn't seem that afar sometimes)
The good picnic food kept your mind off having a wet behind
Try relieving yourself with this audience!