Monday, August 26, 2013

A fortnight of quatrains

First, an apology!  I'm sorry to have missed the last 14 days.  When I started this process,I told myself I would blog every day for a year.  Of course, that commitment was proffered with the realization that we were headed to Africa for a two week period, and at least a majority of those days would be sans Internet.  (It is difficult to connect in a tent with illumination provided by candlelight and flashlight!)  The next best thing would be to keep a written journal and then transcribe it upon my return.  The best laid plans...  Instead, what you get is the trip in doggerel form--each day synopsized in four 4-lines of rhyme (one could truly never call it poetry!).  So here it is, broken into days by Canto's for you to vicariously experience our experience in the Dark Continent.  Enjoy with the knowledge that you are loved!

Canto 1

We're up awfully early,at ten minutes to four
Our luggage is loaded, we head out the door.
The plane leaves at six--we're exactly on time
An auspicious start for this travelogue rhyme.

From here to Detroit, the plane ride is fine
Six hour layover, on breakfast we dine.
Then on to Atlanta and plane we do swap
We wait on the tarmac for rainfall to drop.

The captain informs us we're on a long flight
I'm hopeful the crew will get it just right
Johannesburg later, we're pressed no for time
Great people solve problems--we cut right in line!

It's been 15 hours, this leg of the flight
We've lost a whole day and most of the night
Great row mates and movies help time to elapse
But legs and my buttocks think this ride is the craps!

Canto 2
Directly from this flight we're back on the plane
Lusaka does beckon, more sitting the bane
We're met at the airport by company nice
To take us to lodging, and this will suffice

But first to the offload, our luggage to get
There's just one bag missing from South African jet!
Thank god for some planning, an outfit I had
We're off to hotel, and then off to bed.

Or so went the planning, my patience quite thin
The staff says they,re sorry, no room at the inn!
Now picture this concept, for tired we are
They tried to explain it...they didn't get far!

Eventually room for the travelers appeared
Avoiding catastrophe both of us feared
Whoever has opined the trip's half the fun
Had better be praying I don't have a gun!

Canto 3
The luggage can't keep us from going to play
Oh wait, our next plane ride is hours away.
For reasons uncertain we're not on the plane
Our traveling companions were taking...insane!

Some juggling, persuading, the problem they fix
We're off to Mfuwe, then out to the sticks
The transport?  Toyota.  Land cruiser, no goof
It's perfect for Billy to sit on the roof!

Our lodging?  Perfection!  An optimum blend
Of rustic and comfort and staff to depend
And then for this writer, it's giggles and laughs
And a tear here and there for sighting giraffes!

Add to this some elephants, mongoose, baboon
Impalas and puku and kudo so soon
And later that evening, with spotlight in hand
We're looking for wildlife...a leopard we land.

Canto 4
The next day elusive  pontoon we do find
And into the park with one thing in mind
The lion eludes us but never you mind
Giraffes and some zebras by gosh we do find.

Now here's something really important I learned
The term that was zebra by language discerned
But thanks to this lesson that made lots of sense
'Tis zebra (rhyme Debra) I'm sad I'm so dense!

More wildlife and scenery do pass by our eyes
The herd of cape buffalo. Delightful surprise
Then back cross the river to rest and relax
I' m tired and happy and those are the facts!

Then sitting, relaxing, some thrashing I hear
I look straight ahead and what should appear?
An elephant crossing the river so near
My breath it was taken...a memory dear.

Canto 5
Good bye to this wonderful place we did stay
Goodbye to the friends we made long the way
On to the second camp..this time it's tents
A little more rustic if that makes some sense.

The trip to location five hours I surmise
Was our introduction to their tsetse flies
Prolific, obnoxious, they're ugly to see
I stop to "check tire", it's swat, swat, and pee.

The tents are like houses, by staff we are spoiled
The food is fantastic, this machine is well oiled
And toilets?  There are two with a unique spin
If shovel is gone then there's someone within!

From here on it's walking we're off to have fun
But something is different, Isaiah with gun!
Experience our teacher an elephant nears
We're happy Isaiah and Jason no fears!

Canto 6
Warm water awaits us as early we rise
Today's filled with walking, it's this we surmise
In search of illusive king of the beast
We pass by the carcass of buffalo feast!

But wily this feline, eludes us once more
It' eight miles of walking and still we don't score
But lunch is amazing, siesta time near
The day is half over, it's time for a beer!

When memoirs are written, I'll stress this a bit
I ate something found in elephant ( story best told in person!)
The afternoon walk elicits a smile
Cuz searching we go for some crocodile

Into the river, it's barefoot we search
If they find us first, we'll be left in the lurch
Then sundowners habit,it's loss I will dread
Meal fit for a king, and then off to our bed

Canto 7
It's early to rise for today is the day
They take all our crappers and shower away
We hike point to point and when we reach camp
It's all been reset...right down to the lamp.

But not without sorrow , the morning hike done
It seems that the others have had some great fun
No matter what effort, we truly tried hard
Three miscreant creatures can't find the lizard!

Siesta time reaches, it's quiet and nice
For thinking and writing, no need to state twice
The habit of afternoon nap could catch on
but writing takes time, and slumber time's gone

Wherever we go.  Whatever we do
The animals rare, we see a gnu
When on our trip home, the eland appears
But one things still missing...a lion my dears.

Canto 8
For all those observing, you'd probably say
Not my day for toast....or water ballet
The former!  Burnt offering to minimize strive
The latter?  I am dry with great thanks to my wife!

The river before us we proudly do ford
The Chevrolet antelope don't say a word
At tea time the view from the bluff is divine
Alas my dead batteries cause me to whine!

I sit here now writing neath mahogany bloom
Aroma amazing, could sweeten a room
The river is flowing within vision's sight
At least for the moment, everything's right

Tomorrow with sorrow we bid camp adieu
Krystabel, Geoffrey  Issiah .too
They'll take down the tents when we hit the road
But no one can minimize memories bold!

Canto 9
It' on to the road that's tsetse fly heaven
As usual, we're gone ere the clock strikes Seven
I may be oblivious, may be inured
But flies aren't as bad, they're mostly endured.

The trip goes quite quickly, of course there is lunch
Jason has learned how to handle this bunch!
We're nearing Nsefu, the river we cross
The hippos are fighting, the crocs think they're boss.

The camp is amazing with wildlife galore
There are elephants, baboon, Puku out our door
There's water that's hot and the shower's inside
There's beer in the fridge, my smile I can't hide

Following tea time we head out for more
It's rover for touring to see what's in store
We stop for a genet, full vision we take
And hooded the cobra...our very first snake.

Canto 10
The memory's exciting, a leopard we spot
And speaking quite frankly, some spots mean a lot
Giraffe are amazing, both he and some she
The smile on my face is as big as can be!

A sobering sidelight, two elephants found
That poachers have murdered for ivory round
It's hare to believe that what we have seen
Was human in action, no sense can I glean

The lunch it is filling, we share table tall
With Ollie, Irene, Lynn, and author, p. hall
I'm anxious to try a novel he wrote
Will do so directly...I'll write me a note!

A record for setting, a record indeed
The number of genets sweet George did exceed
A porcupine siting right after the civet
Some pictures will do but it's better to live it!

Canto 11
Five thirty arrives, knock knock it is heard
To breakfast we go to get the good word
Direction will change, something new we will see
How little we thought that it better could be!

Hyenas on beaches and lions right there
Giraffes in the area, I can't help but stare
Then lion the second does amble right by
Whilst batteries I'm changing, the rest get to spy.

The on to the hot springs, two lions await
We're paddling footsteps, the heat does feel great
The morning, amazing, it truly will stay
In memory most happy.  It's why we do play!

Tonight bitter sweet, safari is done
Can it really have been ten days since begun?
Tomorrow the plane to Lusaka we go
Then homeward our plan, with hope it is so

Canto 12
It's off to the airport, our trip is soon done
We'll miss the adventure, we'll miss all the fun
But wait, as we leave, three lions we spy
And elephant family really close by

The elephants think that the path it is theirs
They make themselves known tell the lions bewares!
Then tusks raised in anger and trumpets do blow
The kings of the beasts?  Oh look at them go!

En masse they do chase them, a wondrous sight
They gave those big kitties a terribly fright
Escaping the rampage, toward us they to come
They rest near our jeep, they bathe in the sun.

A curious giraffe has watched from afar
He too now approaches and comes near the car
A fitting goodbye from a trip now we end
In person the tale gets much better, my friend.

Canto 13
We leave from Mfuwe, "international" port
Lusaka does beckon, we'll be in room short
The Radison treats us much better this time
Nice upgrade to room and a place to write rhyme.

But crossing the street to the mall just away
Is not feat that's easy, no crosswalks you say?
We stand behind locals, we're ready to dash
We make it but barely, we avoid the road rash!

For dinner?  Amazing?  Rhapsody is picked
We've chicken on spit and crumbs they are licked
The food?  Like the rest of the trip--truly great
Then wander the mall to a bookstore first rate.

We sleep really fast but there's no need to rush
The plane leaves near midnight--look at pictures and gush!
Then off to the airport--our flights?  Nineteen hours
But things go like clockwork, we're home to our flowers!

Canto 14
 But how can we end without ringing a bell
To Greg and to George, Merle, Krystabel?
And Jason, dear Jason, our guide and new friend
Our thanks go to you and love we do send.

I wish you had met them, I wish you'd been there
Experiencing joy and the scenery fair
In essence you were there, for frequently thought
How friends make a difference--this lesson it taught

So into the house with all bags intact
The puppies are glad--how sweet they react
Just four lines remain--say it short and sweet
Synopsize in one verse the lesson replete!

I've said it before and I'll say it again
It's not in the journey, it's not in the end
It's truly about from gavel to gavel
The people you choose with whom to travel.

What he said was...
(Inside joke--four of the six of us were hearing impaired, and it made for the most enteraining converations!)  Quite frequently they began with this term!

And there you have it.  Of course, there are a few (over 1000) pictures and stories (about the same number) that could be told and probably will down the road.  For now, it's back to routine and the joy that is normal!  May you all be blessed with experiences that change your life for the better, and always know how much you are loved!

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