It's been hectic, but it's all coming together...
26.11.2006 - 26.11.2006
I wrote this entry at work during my last shift for the following three months!
I was in the middle of my final Journalism examinations:
In Television, my final assignment was on Greenpeace – I made a two minute documentary on saving the whales.
I thought I did alright in Media Studies.
I bumped into my Photography lecturer and begged her to give me my mark. I was ecstatic that I got 75%.
I still had two more tests to write the following day. Dena, head of the Journalism department made a special paper just for me, as I would be in Zambia when the other students wrote it. I had just six more hours of writing and then I would be a journalist - woohoo! After that I can't tell people I'm a student journalist anymore, and that the pictures I take of them or interviews I do with them won't be published. It’s going to be tough.
I had now organized most of my pharmaceutical supplies:
140 tablets of Lamotrogine for my bi-polar disorder,
80 tablets of Doxycycline for malaria (it was actually an antibiotic that also happened to stop you from getting malaria),
30 Antihistamine tablets (for bee-stings and shark bites),
20 Myprodols (for migraines),
10 silver oxide plasters (to heal those inevitable cuts and grazes, really quickly),
Factor 60 sun stick that works like underarm - cool for making patterns on your back,
Three packets of rehydrate electrolyte solution - for when I get dehydrated,
Buscopan - for stomach pains after eating bush meat,
100% rose geranium essential oil - from Hartland Farm - to stop the mozzies from sucking my blood,
Bandages, safety pins, Germolene, Zambuk, and
Toilet paper (I'm not a fan of the pouring-water-down-my-crack-and-wiping-it-dry-with-a-dirty-c ommunal-towel thingy!)
I still needed to source:
Tabard or Peaceful Sleep Stick,
Elastic Bands (there is a whole book dedicated to describing the unlimited uses for the elastic band),
Eye Drops, and
Condoms - just in case I get lucky.
I read that the Ugandans were advocating abstinence as the only reliable prevention against AIDS. It’s a pity that they didn't abstain from bush meat though - especially that of closely related primates!
For my personal protection, and to cut biltong and other things, Felix, my brother-in-law gave me a 'fuck-off' knife - a mini machete - crocodile Dundee type. I hoped it would work like in the movies - when a thug pulls a knife and you take out your bigger one - he then turns around and bolts out of there.
My house mate Jikke reckoned I should rather take along some pepper spray!
I sold a book to a medical rep named Julie. We spoke for ten minutes about Ethical and Generic medicines and the price wars between them - I now understood everything! She said I could mail her a list of all the medications I was on, so that the Glaxo Smithkline Beecham doctor could let me know if there would be any dangerous interactions.
I still hadn’t got any film for my cameras, and prayed a solution would manifest itself over the following few days and just accept what would happen. One of my SLR cameras had a problem with its shutter curtain at speeds of 1/1000th and 1/500th of a second - the images came out blurred on the RHS - so I would have to remember not to take any speedy shots with that camera.
Thorntree - the Lonely Planet's Forum for travellers, had answered many of my questions regarding East Africa. (they are at http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com) I was extremely grateful to all the intrepid travellers who shared their knowledge.
I was excited to discover that Shoprite, Africa’s biggest grocery store, was offering a Money Transfer facility whereby one could receive money from any Shoprite for a flat fee of R9.99. That meant that someone could go to their local Shoprite in Brackenfell, Kimberley, Pofadder, Lusaka or even Kampala, and give Shoprite some money. They could then give me the reference number, and I would eagerly collect the cash - in the local currency!
It also meant that I could give them some of my unused Tanzanian Shillings and then pick up some Zambian Kwacha - essentially using them as both a bank and for foreign exchange - very handy indeed!
I approached Shoprite to do a story about it - take pictures and show the public that the system really worked. They told me they would think about it...
I was introduced to some crazy Kenyans - three young-white-posh-english-accent-kite-surfing-girls, who were leaving the following day on a trip home from Cape Town to Diani Beach in Southern Kenya.
They were going to do it in a 1978 Mercedes 300D - with a 2 page list of problems from the dealer that they weren’t planning on sorting out. We shared some knowledge and promised to stay in touch and meet up later. I wished Lindsay K all the best and hoped that the Garmin GPS would get them through Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania , and that the Merc would survive all the potholes.
I had been spending as much time as possible with friends and family, saying goodbye, getting advice, pictures and goodies for my adventure.
I had offers to rent my mini, invites to join me in Kenya for New Year, words of wisdom and warnings.
I tried in vain to get some African bank notes but my attempts were futile. I wanted some Kwacha, Shillings and Francs.
I settled for US dollars from American Express, all in small denominations and newer than 2001. I made sure to get all their one dollar bills to pay for the bribes, cheap camping and meals.
I would update my blog again late on Tuesday evening, as I had to make it to the airport by 03:30 on Wednesday for the flight with Mango. I was still not sure if it would be better to sleep for a few hours or party till late and sleep on the plane and bus - hmmmmmmmmm...