Resolutely Wishing For…

When I initially decided to write this post, I had thought to keep it sweet and short, wishing both my friends and enemies the same thing: may 2008 bring to you what you deserve…

Up until a couple of weeks ago, that would still have been my stance, but one of my resolutions for 2008 is that I will attempt to forgive those who harmed or hurt me. Some of it was malice, some of it sheer callousness and some of it cowardice; but in the end it doesn’t matter. Sadly I can not forgive them yet, but at least now I can see that I will be able to in a while. That is a good change.

Strange things, resolutions. People seem to hide from them or ignore them. Yet the new year is the ideal time to make changes; though, to be honest, since every day is the first of the rest of your life, every day is the best day to make changes. New year just makes it easy to draw a line in the sand.

So, my resolutions for 2008:

  1. Work towards and achieve being able to forgive those that had hurt me. Malice, Callousness or Cowardice makes no difference. I’m doing this for me.
  2. Allow love and happiness to find me. Allow myself to go find love and happiness. Yes I need to get over some hurt first, but it is a whole damn year!
  3. Make sure that my weight-loss keeps on track. I’m doing extremely well so far; I should reach the second-last of my goals in time for my next birthday…
  4. Spend at least six hours a week in the Gym. This is going to be tough, since I’m way unfit and even further out of shape. I’m not even properly round anymore, fercrissakes!
  5. Make my new company damn glad I joined them. Yes, I know I’ve already added more value than they had expected, despite the fact that I had been living under a very dark and heavy cloud, but in 2008 I’m going to astound them!
  6. Get out and enjoy the countryside and nature more. Go and see and experience new things and new places. I’ve spent way too many hours inside in recent years.
  7. Bring my friends closer again. During my time of pain I had rebuffed them, and it time to fix that. Sorry guys, I know you were there for me, but I could see squat through the pain.
  8. Achieve at least some of my professional goals. I’ve put some of them off for far too long already.

Yes I know. Plenty. But fortunately most of them are in motion; they’re not here so I can start them, they’re here so my friends can hold me accountable if I stop working towards them…

And then my wishes. Relax, I won’t wish that everybody will get what they deserve…

Someone who used to to be my very best friend in the world parted from me shortly after saying these words: “Sometimes, love just isn’t enough”. To her my message is: “It certainly is… All that is needed is real love”. And thus I especially wish this for her with all my heart: that she will find somebody to truly love in 2008.

For the rest of you, I wish one of two things: that you realise that you have already found your true love and then make then extremely happy that you had, or that your true love gets fed up waiting for you and comes to find you… For in the end, as I had said, love is more than enough.

And then as a final, final thought: Love, peace and happiness to you all. Good Riddance 2007; Roll On 2008!

Reflections on the Falls – Day 2

As Themba’s stentorian snores had lulled me to sleep the previous evening, so they not so gradually brought me to a none-too-gentle awakening. Yep. Still here…

With some caffeine fuelled enthusiasm I had decided that a shower was my first order of business. Alas, no, the miniscule alcove had not over-night magically assumed more generous proportions, no. Oh well, at least I got to leave it cleaner than I had entered it.

After dressing I wandered down to breakfast. And a surprisingly good one at that as well. The cynic in me immediately started wondering what the catch was… The place had not so far managed to fill me to the brim with confidence in their ability to play nicely.

Playing tourist time: Victoria Falls. Truly majestic. Or probably would have been if there was anything actually falling… Okay, that’s a bit unfair. The parts of the falls where there was falling water to be had (not an unfair expectation of some place proclaiming to be a waterfall I would have though, myself) was maybe excessively waterfall-y. Rather damp and everything. And quite high, at 100m plus… Okay. Effing high. 33 Storeys is a bit higher than I feel like falling down from. I did pick up on one thing though. Apparently I’m not really afraid of heights.

Then it was time to go back to the hotel for a blessedly cold beer. And the news that the airline’s licence had been suspended. We had to buy a new ticket. And we got to spend another day at Vic Falls. At our own expense. Oh. Joy.

Nothing but to do but continue with out event-packed afternoon. The elephant-back safari. Something I, as someone who had been reared on Kipling, had been quite looking forward to. And we were only half-an-hour late, too. An auspicious start indeed. We arrive in time for refreshments: anything from Lemonade, Sprite or Water. Unless you happen to want water, that is. But the tap’s in the loo if you would like to go get some…

Finally we were deemed ready for our great adventure; after we had been convinced to sign the indemnity form. It was at this point which an alarm started sounding in my head. Any venture requiring new clothes or indemnity forms are suspect by definition, in my opinion.

The real trouble started when one of the smallest elephants were brought closer and I was entreated to mount the bastard thing. All was fine till the denizen from the lowest of the hells started moving and the saddle started slipping to the side. “Now this,” I thought to myself, “is simply not going to end well.” Which I then promptly proved by valiantly holding on to the reigns which in turn was quite sturdily fastened to the saddle; which in turn decided that there was no way in hell that I would be staying on that damned elephant; it quite gracefully turned on the barrel of said elephant.

Themba and I — yes the very same Themba — now both got dumped, quite ungracefully and very damned hard, on the ground. From there we got to experience quite a unique view of elephants. An encounter I would have preferred to forgo and would really not recommend.

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An earnest attempt now got made, after we had been patched up somewhat and the saddle had been actually cinched, to convince me to re-mount the elephant. Now I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but stupid ain’t really one of them. There was no way, on this green earth, that I was getting back on that damned elephant!

Limping, I made my way to the cooler box, and promptly did my utmost (with eventual success due to Themba’s kind assistance and thorough command of Zulu) to convince one of the rangers that we truly deserved a couple of cold beers.

Nursing a cold beer, a bruised body and my equally bruised ego we find that one of the rangers left to “baby-sit” us is the chief lion trainer for the safari-outfit. Apparently they become unmanageable at two years of age, so the oldest ones he had were all seventeen months old. If you had never seen a seventeen-month-old lion from close up, take my word on this: that’s one big pussy-cat!

Eventually supper-time arrives and I frantically try and find a reason to skip going to “The Boma”. I wasn’t at all too certain that I would survive whatever was in store for us now… In a way what we run into at supper was both better and worse than I had feared… The food was edible. The entertainment was fairly decent. But the “interactive drum experience” (just known as “drumming” to us ignorant South Africans) was a total wash. Well, for me at least. I was sitting at the table in too much pain to go fetch some ice-cream and some over-enthusiastic personification of evil (damn those extroverts!) expected me to be all eager and enthusiastic at the prospect of energetically beating a drum? I was so sore, I couldn’t even lift my beer to my mouth!

Later, with the pain mostly under control due to some decent painkillers (as opposed to my faculties, for much the same reason) I eventually stumbled off to bed; dog-tired and hoping like hell that I would I fall asleep before the painkillers wore off. In fact, I was also so doped up that Themba could have snored all he wanted, he could have started a fire-fight in the room for all I cared, that night I was going to sleep, damn it!

There were some upsides to all of that, fortunately. The day had been so “eventful” that I had little time to reflect on anything. I had been so busy wondering what new “adventure” awaited us, that there had been no time to think about “home”.

Reflections on the Falls – Day 1

“Now, I’ve been to some dodgy places. No, I mean some really dodgy places. But that was behind me, I was convinced of that. I knew that that was history. Which doesn’t explain why I am here. No, it really does not.” These were some of my very first thoughts at seeing the Airport after landing…

It was bad enough when the Airline grounded all flights. Fortunately another Airline decided to honour the tickets. Sort of. After giving us a decent run-around for an hour, we’re informed that, instead of flying into Livingston in Zambia as we were going to, we would now be flying into Vic Falls in Zimbabwe. Ah well, close enough, I suppose. It then got a whole lot worse when the person organising the flight, the one with the transfer vouchers, with the paperwork, the money to pay for the hotel, managed to miss it… Not his fault really, since he would have had ample time to do all he needed had the Airline not decided to lose an engine a while ago, but still; it worried.

Here on the other side another, new, comedy awaited us though. Somewhere, somehow, one of the bags got lost. All got checked in together, and all, but that one, had made it. One managed to “get lost”. But of course it would… It was on Friday. Bag number X000013. It was doomed from the start…

Thistry we wandered to one of the shops. Paying a mil-and-a-half for anything freaks me out just a tad. Maybe a house is still okay, but a bloody ice-cream? Well, to be fair, that translates to just over R333 at the official exchange rate. For a bloody ice-cream? Now, I’ll readily grant that I haven’t bought any ice-cream in a while, but I would have considered R15 to be a tad expensive but understandable: I mean it is an Airport after all. But that’s no excuse for more than a 2222% premium, is it?

We finally got to the hotel, not at all certain of our welcome, since the person who had organised it all is the only one not available to explain to them that it all had, indeed, been organised. Thus it’s just another place, with another adventure awaiting us on this day from the nether realms. I get to share a room with Themba. Themba is okay. I like the dude, I really do. But not enough to share a bed with him okay?

Paying for beer at the local pub proved to be another adventure in itself. One pays in rands for prices quoted in Zim dollars to then get US dollars in change. Most unfortunately they don’t accept coins, ever so sorry. A nice little racket, of course, since it means that everything gets calculated in multiples of R6.77. And then rounded up. As I said, a nice little racket indeed.

Finally it was time for our first “activity”. A sunset cruise. Now it was time to experience the wilds of Africa with man in his natural habitat. On the deck of a barge with a cold beer in his hand. And I certainly experienced lots… Hippos. Crocodiles. Bottom of my beer glass. To be honest I saw way too many of the last for personal comfort; I got too close to the grim reality of it, if you will.

End of the day arrived, and we promptly moved on to Supper-time at “The Makuwa-Kuwa”. Which is great; that is, unless you feel at all uncomfortable at the idea of paying $25 US for a fairly common South African Cabernet. R100 I would’ve been able to justify to myself, but paying nearly R200 for a R50 bottle of wine was a lot, if you’ll excuse the pun, harder to swallow. Being forced to be honest, though, I would admit to the food being very, very, good. Deciding to simply avoid the wine, I’m starting to feel a bit better about this venture. Until, that is…

I went off to bed quite looking forward to a well-earned night’s rest after quite an eventful day. Fortunately it had taken only a modicum of brute force to separate the beds so I wouldn’t find myself sleeping close enough to Themba so that I would end up feeling obliged to make him an offer of marriage. Unfortunately, though, it soon became evident that Themba snores for the First Team.

Great. Just effing great…

Merry whatsit and happy thingamajig…

Much as I wish I’m the originator of this, the vast majority of the following was shamelessly stolen off the “Intarweb”, then changed from the American specific version to be more applicable to the rest of the world. Enjoy…


Please accept — with no obligation, implied or implicit — our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter and/or summer solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practises of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practise religious or secular traditions at all.

Please also accept a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helps make this planet of ours such a wondrous place (not thereby implying, of course, that this is the only planet with intelligent life in the universe or that any other planet is necessarily less wondrous than this one), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)