Sunday, June 22, 2008

Victoria Falls

Hey there, African Greetings, Graduates' Congratulations and Happy Summer Solstice (or Winter...depending on the Hemisphere),

As many of you know, Victoria Falls is not on Vancouver Island near the capital of British Columbia. So where is it? And in which Southern African country? As with Niagara Falls, it's actually between two countries...Zimbabwe and Zambia on the raging Zambezi River. Like each member of our family, the renown African explorer/traveler David Livingston kept a journal. In an 1855 entry describing the falls he writes, "on sights as beautiful as this, ANGELS in their flight must have gazed." Although he named the falls after the Queen of England, they are also known locally as "The Smoke that Thunders!" It is said that 50km away the spray can be seen on a clear day...such was the case today when we visited one of the natural wonders of the world! It truly is Spectacular!!! If you have been to Niagara Falls on the USA/Canada border the following may help describe it. Victoria Falls is 1.7km wide (Niagara is 1km) and 108m high (Niagara is 58m) with an annual average flow of 1 million litres per SECOND, (March to May, at it's peak, the flow can be 9 times higher). Here in June, the flow is still extremely massive.

We're staying in the small tourist town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe where US $1.00 is worth about...yes, you are reading this correctly... 7 billion Zimbabwean dollars!!! (Due, of course, to the world news-breaking political chaos occurring here as I write). The currency is really eye-catching and even heart-stopping...all those 0's...the largest note, I've been told, is 50 billion ($50,000,000,000). That's worth about US $7.00 !!! Ever been a Billionaire?

This morning, while walking to the falls, we were first "inundated" by a pack of rowdy Baboons in the middle of town, some wanting anything we carried. Later, we descended a slippery stone staircase to view the west side of the falls from below, close to the crushing roar of the water and spray. We worked our way east along the edge of the Zimbabwe cliffs opposite the falls where it was frequently like walking through a very fine-spray rainfall on a clear, very sunny day that completely soaked us. I was hoping, when exiting the main gate, we wouldn't be charged extra for what seemed to me as if I'd received a rinse cycle on laundry day since we were so thoroughly drenched. Keeping the cameras dry and functioning was a challenge as we took so many photos of this amazing area. Down river, we crossed the bridge leading into Zambia from which one can find more postcard views of the falls. This bridge has a narrow two-lane road, a railroad track, and one of the highest (111m) Bungy Jump in the world. I'm told only the highest jump (in South Africa) will do so we passed on the jumping today.

Back in Windhoek, Namibia, three new members joined our group. They are Wes and Mo, long-time, close friends of Kees, from Holland and England respectively, and Mo's friend Emma, also from England. Wes is a scuba diving instructing computer whiz who's quick on the draw with his SRL digital Canon camera while Mo and Emma somehow can manage to laugh and enjoy life 24/7. Mo also dropped his former life, sold everything, and travels with an indefinite return date. Their addition to the group has brought lotsa laughs and they've done well putting up with us and it's a pleasure to get to know them and share these life-long memories together.

I'm also told that towards the end of July there's a great opportunity for an adventurer to join us...even for a short while. It may be exactly what you need!?! Perhaps we could share a relaxing, quiet time, sitting in a bamboo or banana grove together enjoying the deep blue sky peeking through lush green branches of mango trees and swaying fronds of coconut palms. Sometimes, there really is a wee bit of heaven on earth....

As usual we appreciate the blog readers and due to technology, some of you more regular followers are known. Consider joining us...the invitation is open.

The best to you and yours,


PS. Oh, Happy Belated you!


At 3:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the birthday wishes...JJ

At 10:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Brandon,
Thanks for writing, there is a sense of miscjief to your blogs that is fun to read, and great information too. I am always glad to hear your 'voice', but somehow my nose always feels achey.... hey small sacrifice to get you together. LOL
Tell Maggs it is about time she got her digits near a keyboard and wrote something. She has disappeared over the past year, and it was nice to get her views too.
Anyways, hope all is well, and your plans are coming together.

Love and Big Bear Hugs
The Bear


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