DECEMBER 12, 1999
In spite of our best efforts to ignore reality, our tickets say that we have to catch the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt on Tuesday afternoon how rude!
I am nowhere near ready to leave, either. There are still many things to do and to see. The climate, of course, has nothing to do with our reluctance to leave!
I would describe it as gruel!
Apart from tasting a bit sour and yeasty, it isnít too bad (as long as you chew it well). If you were very thirsty and there was nothing else to drink, it would go down OK.
It is drinkable and no more sour than say commercial buttermilk, but I could do without the bits floating in it!
|The braai -- Joseph does most of the work||Susan tries chibuku|
Chibuku is sold in two-litre brown plastic kegs, affectionately called scuds. A scud costs Z$15 (about 65 cents). None of the white people we were with had tasted it before. They think we are pretty bizarre for wanting to try it.
African Verdite is a beautiful, dark green marble-like stone that is apparently fairly rare. Zimbabwes deposit of this stone is of the highest quality found anywhere. Most of the works are traditional native figures but some are abstract shapes; they are all very beautiful. The park contains hundreds of pieces and there are 40 or 50 artists and helpers chipping away everywhere.
|Chapungu Sculpture Park|
It is very well done and has large drive-through areas for the larger animals and a walk-through area for smaller animals and also for babies. Like Chipingali, many of these animals originally arrived injured or orphaned and are no longer able to survive in the African bush.
The animals are in enclosures, so it isnt as big a thrill as seeing them in the wild, but they have some baby lions that are being raised on bottles. At feeding time, they let them out of their pen and allow us to feed them.
They are terminally cute. Their paws are as big as dinner plates, which gives some indication of their eventual size. They try to roar fiercely at visitors with their baby voices and just love the attention.
We also watch the the larger lions being fed. The caretaker rolls a wheelbarrow full of beef into the enclosure and makes each lion politely take a turn.
We did notice that they feed the leopards from outside the enclosure, though.
We see our first eland, more giraffes and some blesbuck.
There is also a baby cheetah, a gigantic tortoise and an assortment of wild cats, dogs and hyenas. Hyenas are really homely looking creatures. I guess you could call them the sanitary engineers of the African wilderness, as their diet consists of the dead and dying!
We are invited out of our car to touch and take pictures of a young elephant. There is a keeper there with a rifle, just in case! The drive-through part of the park gives us our first opportunity to see zebra close at hand. We get a bonus because there is a baby zebra in the herd. One of the advantages of visiting during the off-season is definitely the occasional opportunity to get really close to some of the animals as the keepers have the time to spend with us.
Indeed, I was VERY, VERY naughty! Im not sure how we are going to get through customs on the way home.i
One evening, we set out to sample the local nightlife. Our first stop is a bar called the Keg and Maiden, affectionately referred to by the locals as the Scud and Nannie. We are entertained by a well-dressed, but extremely intoxicated black fellow. He orders tequila, licks the salt, tosses down the tequila and then eats the lemon peel and all! The bartender is as astonished as we are.
There are some very interesting breasts in this country!
Well, I guess four weeks vacation wasnít enough time for him to notice anything else about the women!
The instance of AIDS in this country is very high and they say that there is a whole generation missing. This might account for my impression that everyone here is young! We read a newspaper article, which said that Zimbabwe used to have the highest life expectancy in Southern Africa at 69 years. It is now the lowest at 34. One can look, but one doesn't touch.
Locally-produced things like food and clothing are inexpensive and accommodations are available in a wide range of prices. One could probably visit here in the off-season without booking rooms ahead, but apparently during school vacations and the high season that would be difficult.
We will certainly never forget our trip to Zimbabwe and we have promised ourselves and everyone else that, one day, we will be back for another visit.