Archive for July 28th, 2007


How I destroyed a coral reef and gained a scar

July 28, 2007

I know, I know I have been on the internet a bunch today, but I hadn’t really had a chance to catch up on things previously and besides I figure I should just say a little bit about my day. Basically I did something really stupid and dangerous, but yet it all worked out okay. Early this morning after arriving on the bus from Sharm, Z and I were talking about what to do today. I said I was thinking that I might go snorkeling, I wasn’t particuarly in the mood, but I figured what the heck else should I do when I am staying in a hippy beach town where the reef is only 30 meters away. Z said he might go kayaking and so we set up a time to meet, then I ran into Grace in the internet cafe (we had rode the bus together from Sharm) and after writing a bunch of blogs and bumming around I figured I really had to go snorkeling.

So I got ready (a process that involved multiple steps because we had to have already checked out of our hotel and I had to rent goggles and flippers) and headed off down the beach to find a place get into the water. I found a spot to store my stuff and headed into the ocean. I soon realized that getting out to the reef was harder than I realized, but I managed and soon I was floating along looking at amazing coral and fishes. Then I kinda thought to myself, hmmm the waves are kind of big here and um there is a current, and umm, I don’t have anyone with me and ummm maybe this is kinda stupid of me. Soon after this realization I decided to head back, then my decision was confirmed when a stray peice of coral teamed up with a wave and bit my hand. This started to bleed rather quickly, and remembering information about blood in water and predators, I decided it was definitely time to head back in. I managed to get myself back up to the beach and applied pressure to my hand (the coral also bit my leg).

When I got back to my clothes on the beach, a waiter from the resturant noticed my predicament and came over and got me some iodine and a bandaid and helped swab up the scratches on my leg. Then I got myself cleaned up and while I was doing this, he also brought me over some juice and made sure my hand was feeling better. All of this without one word about baksheesh or any slimy stares (I was wearing my bathing suit after all) and I have to say this one interaction with an Egyptian man totally makes up for a lot.

But anyways the realization of my stupidity was growing on me and then when I finally met back up with Z and Grace for dinner, Z filled me on the depth of my own silliness (he had assumed that I was snorkeling with Grace when we were making plans in the morning). So there you go Parents, yes I can be stupid sometimes, but I guess I am also pretty lucky, cause I am still in one peice.


Unposted blog post from Swaziland 5/7/07

July 28, 2007

I have been trying to journal during the past week, but generally failing.  I am sitting on the back porch of our house in Mlilwane Game Park, the girls are playing Egyptian Rat Screw and birds are chirping and doing other cliche bird things.  To my right a hill slopes down to a grass valley meadow where we have seen Impala and baby Nyala feeding. 

This morning I had my very first horse ride on Silver (a creatively named whitish silver horse).  It was your basic head to butt ride, but wow, the scenery was amazing.  I saw zebrus from just a few feet away, Kudos, Blesbuck, Wildebeasts and of course Impallas.  As for the riding part, I loved it.  I was kinda nervous at first, but it quickly became more relaxed.  I would have enjoyed having a bit more instruction, such as should sit forward or back, straight backed or relaxed, feet out or slack, reigns tight or relaxed.  Highlights from the ride for me included crossing two small streams and getting my horse to kinda trot with my heels.  On our way back to the camp we came through a small forest where the trees reminded me of young aspens and there were eucalyptus plants lining the path.  The combination of the sun filtering through the trees and the eucalyptus smell made for a beautiful experience.

Being in Mlilwane has been a nice change from the chilly high veld cabin in Malolotja.  There the wind whipped over the hills and except for the 3 ft. radius around our wood fires kept us quite cold at all times. 

I should also note at this time that I have fulfilled another life goal, my passport is officially full, in fact I went with Mary to the embassy in Mbabane to get an insert.  This makes me so happy, because this has been my goal ever since I got my passport back in 2000.  It has the stamps from my trip to Germany, Malawi & Tanzania, Columbia, Northern Ireland, to London and China and of course most recently South Africa and Swaziland.

UPDATE: I was informed by certain parties who shall remain unnamed *cough* Z *cough* that I managed to misspell most of the animals that I named.  So to avoid further spreading of misspellings here is the list of correctly spelled animals:





wildebeest (gnu)


Reaching the finish line

July 28, 2007

This morning I found myself almost crying in the shower, not because of any traumatic event, but I can just tell that I am getting close to the end of my traveling endurance.  Throw into that meeting really cool people and leaving them, seeing close friends hang out (I have really been missing my girls!), getting very little sleep for the past 3 nights running, having amazing first of my life experiences (scuba diving and go-carts all in the same day!) and you get one very emotionally tired girl. 

While I definitely wouldn’t change a bit of this summer, I have to admit it has been rather chaotic to have these three so distinct experiences all jammed together like this.  I have been noticing over the past few nights the moon is almost full again, and it I find it so weird to realize that the last full moon was back in Edinburgh, almost a month ago.  I haven’t entirely decided what kinds of things I am supposed to be learning during this trip.  Seeing 2 very different countries for the first time and seeing 2 ones again is of course incredibly educational in and of itself, but yet I find myself feeling like very much the same person. 

How exactly does travel effect a person?  I now know a few more phrases in Arabic, a few words in Spanish (mainly cuss words thanks to Roberto and David’s careful instruction).  I have seen Mt. Sinai, climbed hills in the Lake District, seen a black rhino from only 10 ft away, scuba dived in the Red sea, had hard cider in the Eagle and Child, slept under mosquito nets in Swaziland and heard animals foraging in the night, rode camels around the Pyramids and sailed the Nile.  I have met wonderful people from Holland, Los Angeles, Canada, Spain, Australia, etc.  I have spent too much money, taken almost 4 gbs of pictures, bought several halves of Africa, and taken ferries, buses, trains, cars, planes and even felluccas.  Maybe when I get home I will be able to sort through these experiences and tie them up in a nice little knot, but right now they sprawl all over the place and continue to remind me how radically blessed I am to have the chance to do these kinds of things.