Saturday, March 16, 2013

Home is where the heli is

I've slept no more than three nights in any one place since I've returned from leave. I enjoy bouncing around from place to place, camp to camp, dinner menu to dinner menu.

This morning I woke up at Abu. Prior to that, I was at Selinda. Well not Selinda proper, but the support camp. All the beds were taken at the camp so I stayed a twenty-minute boat ride and a two-hour truck bounce away from the heli. I had been looking forward to chatting with the guests in camp. They were on day 18 of a 24 day around the world trip put together by National Geographic.

The group flew from country to country in a customized 757(breakfast at the Taj Mahal, dinner at Angar Wat) that wasn't allowed to land in Maun because the airport fire department didn't have the required number of tankers. Well, it had the required number of tankers at one time but two had gone missing.

The guests flew all the way from Gaborone in several PC-12's. I was on my way to Selinda camp when they were arriving at the airstrip. It sounded chaotic until I got to camp and heard all the handheld radios squawking, that made me change my definition of chaos. I spoke with the head chef about how it was going. A wry smile grew on her face and she said, "Too many chiefs is all."

Because the camp was, "Full, full," I stayed with the camp service crew. I dug it. A relaxed South African couple ran the nerve center. I cooked dinner with them and had great conversation. What a treat to do some cooking. The only bummer was that the entire complex was mirror-less. I used to shave in the shower no prob, but with an electric razor, there's always a spot or two that you need to attack from many angles to get. Without a mirror you end up looking like a drunk that tried to put himself together for a third DUI court appearance.

You know what would be awesome? If someone got into the helicopter and said, "All we want to see are impalas, we don't care about anything else." They do say that just about every flight if you replace 'impalas' with 'lions.'

Flying back to back to back to back to back to back 45 minute scenic flights requires some serious effort to avoid becoming a robot. Luckily I'd never done a scenic in that part of the world so I explored and made every flight a little different. The one thing every flight had in common was that I flew over the lions eating on the hippo kill that I found on the first flight.

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