Monday, October 8, 2012

Just think if lions ate lettuce

I had a full day on Traditional Night. I've been in camp long enough that it's changed from day of the week to meal of the week. I can figure out the day if I think about it, when I see Magidah and Kelefe rolling the grills out to the patio, I know it's Braai night, which means BBQ'd spare ribs/Wednesday.

Anyway Traditional started with an 0700 pick-up at Kanana and a transfer to Nxabega (Usually the 'x' sounds like a 'k' but in this case, it's silent. Fucked, huh?). My passengers sat on the Botswana Tourism Organization board. They needed a helicopter to get to a few camps that were airstripless.

So I land at 0655 and watch my guests roll up in a Landcruiser. They stayed two nights in the Bush and each of them had more luggage than I took to Africa for a two year stay. My outside air temperature gauge read 28. I had plenty of room to get to translational lift but that was the easiest take-off of the day.

The Nxabega staff greeted us at the helipad with song and cool drinks. I checked in via sat phone and learned I had four scenic flights to do. After three lumpy men and bags, a solo take-off was a major wheelie-popper.

I busted out the scenics, then hopped BTO from camp to camp until dusk. Going solo, max gross, solo, scenics at 30 knots, solo, max gross, solo improves one's skills immensely. Take home lesson, raise the collective slowly.

And there's a new leader for stupidest tourist question ever. "Are elephants vegetarians?"


"Then how do they get so big?"

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