Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Quickie! ...

Remember the bottomless glass story here? Well, I've managed to get a copy of the only photo taken, by Matt, from Jackie! The glass had been washed but it had contained fruit juice - until it ended up all over the floor *lol*

Thanks for dropping by .....

Friday, 26 March 2010

Safari over ...

... and on to the next stage of our adventure!  But first, whoo hoo!  Dad's finally had his ears syringed so here come the new hearing aids - well, after he's been for a fitting for them on Wednesday.  Docs had brand new syringing machine and lovely nursey let me have a look into Dad's ears (I'm a nosey so and so - *lol*).  Anyway, back to Paradise ...

20th February ... and it's hot, hot, HOT!!!

A lay-in this morning as no morning safari drive - just breakfast by the pool, overlooking the bush, before we said our goodbye's and made our way to 'Terminal 5' for our flight to Dar.

We were woken with the normal knock on the door and the tea/coffee tray left outside. We also had another early morning caller! A praying mantis on the netting but one I recognised and a lot bigger than the previous one that had resulted in Maasai visit *LOL*. Jackie wasn't too keen on getting up close and personal though ... can't think why! Mind you, neither was I really.

It shone like gold ... so pretty that I just couldn't resist a close up.

We watched the plane land on the airstrip and bonus!!  It was a VIP one - a proper VIP one!  Sacha (Beho's manager) said that this plane was used by Government dignitaries when they needed to fly internally.  There were only 6 proper passenger seats, the pilot and co-pilot seat (which was occupied by a passenger).  Real luxury with deeply upholstered leather seats and loads of space ... pity the flight from Dar to Pemba wasn't as luxurious. *duh!*

We had a 3 hour wait at Dar for our connecting flight and that was delayed due to all flights being held back to allow the President of Tanzania to take his leave.  He was flying out on some jaunt so us lesser mortals had to suffer for a while longer!  Suffer because Dar Domestic Airport does not have aircon apart from one small area outside of cafĂ© - which is where we parked ourselves while 'killing time'

Pemba flight called and ... what a difference to the earlier one taken that day.  This one was on a 'large' plane.  By large I think somebody said it was a 21 seater!  It might have had 21 seats but ... for midgets!  I had a single seat but I couldn't sit properly as there was no leg room.  Had to sit at an angle with legs in aisle (well, gap between the seats to allow people on and off).  It was very hot and none of us could get the airflow working.  Poor Jackie and Anie had squeezed themselves into the back, double seats.  Big mistake!  If we hadn't landed at Pemba when we did I think Jackie would have been carried off plane.  45 minutes of sheer hell and from the 'cor blimey to the ridiculous' in one day where the flights were concerned!

Pemba Airport

Arriving at Mkaoni Port, Pemba. 
Fundu Lagoon (pronounced Foo-n-doo) is not accessible by road so, after a 45 minute, absolutely fascinating, drive from the airport near Chake Chake, the island's capital, we arrived to pick up our next transport.  Nope, not dhows ...

... or this luxurious specimen but ...

... this! 
Feeling the breeze through the hair was certainly welcome ... and cooling.

One of the first sights of Fundu.
Hidden amongst the trees it's not easy to see until you're nearly on top of it.

The sea end of the jetty ...
...which all Fundu life seems to centre on ... with view of resort.

View from the 2nd room we were given on arrival and the room we occupied for the first night there.

Unfortunately the first room we were given was at the top of a very steep path with lots of steps. I took one look at it and thought ... there's no way I'm going to get up there!  I followed - very, very slowly - Jackie and staff person (not too sure who it was but it must have been somebody we interacted with at some point through the holiday) up to room ... arriving about 20 minutes after them!  OK, slight exaggeration but only slight.  I arrived, having had to stop half a dozen times to get breath back, collapsed in a chair and cried!  There was no way was I moving from that room to do the climb again that day. 

The view was amazing - well, it would be, being right at the top of the resort - but that wasn't much  compensation *LOL*.  Next thing - Anie is telling us we're moving ... immediately, just for one night,  then we'd go into another room more suitable - and so, we spent our first night in Fundu in a beach front room .... after I'd had to endure another climb to the top of the resort to attend the cocktail and canape evening in the pool area *duh!*
Thanks for dropping by .....

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Real life ...

... is still getting in the way with appointments here and there and days out with crafty friends *lol* On top of that I've been spending a lot of time sorting and editing photos from the holiday and uploading them to a photo site. The holiday seems so long ago now yet we've not been back a month :0( I've also been 'composing' a photobook of my balloon flight last September.

Yesterday I spent the day at Jennie's (Pippa on the imag-e-nation forum) with a few old reprobates (oops, sorry ladies *lol*) they being Debs, Elaine (Burnee), Cathy, Cally and Kim. As ever Jennie was an exceptional host and she treated us to some excellent homemade minestrone soup for lunch. We played a little and chatted and laughed a lot .... along with a few renditions of - well, songs ....with us singing is probably too strong ... and nursery rhymes! Cathy seemed to think we'd enjoy "The sun'll come out tomorrow" from Annie playing on our minds all day, no matter what else we tried to cover it with - not even "Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake". We sort of got the idea of a little gift bag and not too sure if we got the idea of a marquee card or not but hey, we had a laugh at Elaine's attempts to pass the info on! Peaceful afternoon with us all punching little flowers and leaves from 123 Click punch sheets (I think that's what they're called anyway) that Kim had bought with her. Just got to do something with 'em now *lOL*

I'll start to post the next stage of the holiday photos in a day or three, when I've sorted Dad out with a couple more appointments and I've decided on which ones to do. There is likely to be fewer as the last fortnight of the holiday wasn't as 'busy' and they're more a reflection of life around and about, beautiful scenery and amazing sunsets. There will be a few stories though - *lol*

In the meantime I've put together a slideshow to show more safari photos and as a summary of the first 5 nights of the holiday ....

If the slideshow fails to load for you just click here.

Thanks for dropping by .....

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Look forward to the new products from Provocraft for use with the Cuttlebug (and other similar machines) - from extended plates to quilling dies! All due out over the next few months.


Intermission ...

... from the holiday postings 'cos 'real life' has got in the way! Mother's Day on Sunday (or more, catching up with laundry etc).  Nice British Gas heating engineer, repairing boiler to give us hot water back, on Monday and yesterday ... a 'Dad' day and an evening out with mates! Today it's car insurance quotes and tax man query, although it looks as though I've got to wait on another tax code notice to arrive. Seems, because I'm coming off of Self Assessment it's confused 'em and I'm going to be having a variety of tax codes for each part of my income, because it comes from 3 different sources. Before SA I had one tax code and all my tax was taken from one source - the biggest. Now it seems I might have it taken from all sources so need to be extra vigilant over how much I'm paying ... You'd think I was on a large income instead of a tiny one but the Government certainly ain't gonna get rich on me - *LOL*

Weather has been lovely, if a wee bit chilly, the past few days. Yesterday I had to take Dad for his chiropodist appointment and he told me he was looking forward to the ride out. Conversation moved on, with good weather and ride out, to thinking of places to go through the summer to get him out and about a bit. I asked him if there was anywhere he'd particularly like to go. You could have knocked me down when he came up with the first suggestion - Druscilla's. It seems that he wants to go anywhere where there are animals and somewhere to have a cup of tea and something to eat. Looks as though I shall be hunting out all the local-ish animal places that children like ... farms, wildlife parks etc ... so here's hoping for a good summer so we can do the visits. Reckon we might even have a few little people join us *LOL*!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Safari - Day three (2nd instalment) ...

... and probably the highlight of our time at Beho Beho but first! We have heating back but no hot water - doh! Nice kind British Gas man (fixed price repair) came yesterday and gave us a 2nd opinion. Boiler not quite dead and is repairable ... just not an easy repair so, our suspicion that the last guy just didn't want to do it was probably a fair assessment! Part is ordered and nice British Gas man will be back on Monday to fit part and we should have hot water back. It will give us time to sort something out re a new boiler - *lol*

Back to Beho Beho (oh, I wish!). Cold, wet, 4-wheel drive experience, slipping and sliding all over place. Usual giraffe, impala, wildebeest, ellie we could nearly touch, rare wild dogs and side-striped jackal and the 'lucky' ant army. We had no idea quite how lucky that ant army would turn out to be. Salum had a plan but we had no idea what it was however, we were never gonna find out 'cos all of a sudden vehicle swerved, Salum's fist started punching the air and he starts uttering about how lucky we were .... again! (Very enthusiastic is Salum - he loves his work and it comes across!) Man with eyes in back of head - and everywhere else - had seen something we'd missed until we were on top of it ....

Tracks .... lions!

We found them and Salum was suspicious of actions so we drove past, prepared breakfast and drove back and settled to watch ...

We watched for some while as Salum wanted to time them. Dependant upon time between 'actions' - as Salum called them - he could tell how early in the mating process they were. We'd passed this area the day before so, unless they had hidden themselves, he suspected that they were on the first day and sure enough, 15 minutes later it started all over again. 15 minutes is the time between on the first day and the time increases every day after, until the 7th day. I won't go into details but suffice to say they're very hungry and thin by the end of it all as it's a 24/7 process!

The Sundowner drive in the afternoon (and our last drive of our stay) saw Matt and Anie join us along with Tam .. the manageress of Beho Beho. Salum asked what we'd like to find for the afternoon, my suggestion being a leopard (the only other animal that was difficult to find and one we'd not seen) but as Matt, Anie and Tam hadn't seen the lions and we knew that they'd be in the same area we drove to find them. There's a time limit in the Selous Game Reserve. All game vehicles have to be back in camp by 7pm and there is a very hefty fine if they're not back - and it's checked! The lions were some way from camp so there was no time to take a 'steady' drive to them if we were to spend time watching them and make it back by 7pm. Salum became an F1 driver and we held on for grim death *LOL*

We found them easily as they hadn't moved from the place they were in earlier so we drove past, prepared our Sundowners...

... then drove back to watch ....

(This time I remembered I had video on my camera!)

An amazing end to our safari experience!
(I've had to upload the video to YouTube to get it on here and I'm not sure it's uploaded with the clarity of the original but reckon you get the idea - lol!!)

Thanks for dropping by .....

Friday, 12 March 2010

Safari - Day three ....

19th February ... little, large and all sizes inbetween!

Woke to heavy rain following a night of it with thunder and lightening. Not sure we would be going anywhere because of weather and we were awake before our 5:30am call however, call came and we duly made our way to our vehicle at appointed time. Matt and Anie had decided to stay behind and have a relaxing morning so it was just me, Jackie and Salum. First problem hit us immediately - lol! Vehicle didn't want to start. It didn't like the damp or the cold and yes, it was cold ... ish! Salum decided it needed a push so big, tough Jackie offers help! Now, you've seen the size of the vehicle and it was parked on a slope, facing downhill with a bit of a drop over an edge! There's Jackie, stood in front of vehicle and Salum at the side, both trying to push this blooming thing - uphill - to get it started. There's me, not quite believing what I'm seeing and killing myself laughing until vehicle starts rolling forward and threatening to flatten Jackie and push her over the edge with vehicle following close behind ... ooops! Fortunately Salum managed to put brake on before disaster hit and decided to go find some of his colleagues to give a push. 15 minutes and 3 strong guys later we had the vehicle fired up and away we went.

Didn't get very far before Salum was whooping, punching his fists in the air and telling us we were 'very lucky ladies'! No idea what he was on about as we'd only got to bottom of camp road in the area of Terminal 5 and the usual occupants of the airstrip - impala and one solitary wildebeest.

Then we saw them!

Wild dogs!
It was only the previous evening that Salum had told us we would be lucky if we saw any as they were now an endangered species and here was a pack of 13 - adults and pups, stalking the impala on the airstrip. The next half hour was spent with us stalking the dogs, stalking the impala, which ran towards the camp, until zebra, with young, turned the tables and started to chase the dogs. Amazing sight all told and right on the camp doorstep!

Wrapping ourselves up in Masai Shuka, to protect against the cold, we continued with the drive. 

We hadn't gone far when the vehicle stopped again but this time it was for an army!  Can't remember what kind of ant they are but the Tanzanian army was named after them because of their ferocity ... and they were very large - a good ½ inch long!    Every one of them was carrying a termite and Salum told us that if you came upon an army like this then it should be allowed to pass and we'd have luck!  Just how much luck we were to have we were to find out very soon ... and will be the subject of the next post!

I loved the shape of this tree.  Salum did say what it was but I've forgotten and didn't have my notebook with me - doh!

Another rare sighting that made Salum a happy man ... side-striped jackal.  A small family pack of half a dozen.

A better part of a track that had become a victim of the overnight and morning rain.  As we approached eagle-eyed Salum spotted something (that man had eyes in back of proverbial) and stopped dead!

Just as well he did otherwise this little fellow wouldn't have survived to tell the tale .... a terrapin!  He came out of a mud pool that had accumulated in a tyre track.

I loved the views this particular morning.  The rains were still around and cloud was low but here it was starting to lift and I loved the way the Beho Beho Hills started to poke through.

A termite mound. 
These mounds were huge and some were built next to trees and the tops intertwined with lower branches.  This one must have been in the region of 10 foot (3m) tall.

Nearly ran over this little fellow on the camp road.

... and a squirrel!  Not quite as we know them but these were in the camp and there were several building nests in the roof.  We'd been warned not to leave things laying around in the bathroom (like our toiletries) but to put them in wooden boxes supplied 'cos the squirrels came in and ate them - lol!!

We had a brilliant morning and the drive was as good as any funfair ride, fording rivers, mudslides and even having to divert because of impassable tracks - a proper 4-wheel driving experience.  However that was nothing to what we found halfway through the drive .....

Thanks for dropping by .....

Safari - Day two (3rd instalment) or ...

... bottomless glass, bats and praying mantis!
No pictures but I've got to tell a story! Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin ....

Arrived back at camp for a well deserved drink after our long day and wonderful cruise. Lovely, cool, long drinks with a twizzle stick. Jackie picks up her glass, gives it a quick twizzle and ... the bottom drops out of the glass. New drink, untouched, all over carpet on floor! Ooooops! Now Jackie's had some duff stuff in her time but this has got to take the prize for duffest of all. Just soooo glad it wasn't me 'cos I'm usually the other one that gets the duff stuff if Jackie doesn't - lol! We all examined the glass but it was a totally clean 'break' but it wasn't a break. It was just the bottom coming clean away. Had to be seen to be believed and I didn't get a photo! Matt took one but, as yet, he's not shared any of the ones he took :0( That was the first bit of trouble and from there it just got better!

Turning in for bed that evening and Jackie in bathroom, getting comfie when I heard her scream ..... "BAT!" Jackie in bathroom. Bathroom open to elements. Dark. Bats regularly flying around (and yes, room open so they flew in ... and then out) but this time bat managed to fly into bathroom, hence Jackie's scream. Quite what she thought I could do about it, with her in occupation and bats using sonar I had no idea. Told her to be brave! Now, not sure whether that was the first incident or the 2nd (think it first though) 'cos can't remember the order of events now and notebook doesn't make it clear either (yep, I had a notebook I was using as a diary but it didn't tend to get updated every day - unfortunately!) but ....

Jackie got into bed only to inform me there was 'something' in the netting! This 'something' was about an inch to an inch and a half long although Jackie will tell you it was about 3 times that size! I've still to get ready for bed at this stage 'cos me, I was chasing geckos to photograph (and anything else I could find to take photos of). Anyway, netting had an overlap and 'something' was caught in the middle of the overlap. Putting my 'brave head' on ('cos there was no way Jackie was going to even find one let alone put it on) I tried easing said 'something' out of netting. I certainly succeeded in easing it out ... the wrong way! Instead of it coming outside the netting it ended up on the bed side of it - with Jackie fast exiting on the opposite side of the bed! Now I became as big a wuss as she is 'cos the only way that this 'something' was coming out was somebody physically climbing in to get it and it was going higher and higher up the netting until it was out of reach of either of us.

I now need to explain - when we arrived at Beho Beho and were shown our room we were given a few rules. One was that nobody, but nobody, walked around camp after 6:30pm without a guide because of the strong possibility of meeting a wild animal in the dark (in daylight, if we came upon one we were told to stand still and slowly back away). We were also shown a small tub that held insect repellant, insect killer spray, a wind up torch and an airhorn. The latter only to be used in dire emergency ie: if a wild animal should find it's way into our room (remember, it's open verandah and, although protected by electrified wire, it's always a possibility)

Anyway,at this point we decided we needed help. We had no idea what 'something' was or what it could do to us. We knew we'd been the first to leave for our banda and that nobody else ie: Matt & Anie had yet left the main building (we'd have heard them pass if they had). We decided that, although we might consider this 'something' to be an emergency it was unlikely that Tam and Sasha (the managers) or Matt and Anie would agree with us so, using the airhorn was NOT an option, no matter how tempted we were. Thinking heads on we decided we'd try to attract the attention of those left in the main building .... which was some distance away. While I kept an eye on 'something' Jackie opened banda door and called for help. I would say shouted but her call - I find it difficult to even call it that - was so pathetic I don't think anybody passing at the top of our path would have heard! Then she comes up with the idea of morse code ... with the torch ... and starts shining torch out of the door, switching it on and off. I decide to help by calling louder than she did *LOL* Next thing, we jump out of our skins as body suddenly appears halfway down our path. As it comes closer we see it's a Masai! Now reason we were given not to use airhorn, except in dire emergency is 'cos nice Masai (night security) get upset if horn used in non-emergency so here's us calling for help and flashing torch hoping to get help from main building and what do we get? .... Masai ... and we didn't even use the airhorn!

Anyways, Masai comes in and we manage to get him to understand what the problem is. He takes one look at what I was pointing at, gives a grin, pulls back the netting, does a little jump, grabs 'something' and puts it outside. So that 'something' was obviously 'nothing' but stupid, gushing English women can't thank him enough, despite grin on his face saying just 'stupid!'. We decide not to mention said incident next day only to find out everybody knew about it by the time we saw them all! Obviously we'd amused Masai enough that it gave him a good story *LOL* The only thing we could come up with? Well, we didn't use the airhorn! ... and the 'something'? It was a praying mantis but not in a form I recognised, although we did have one that I did recognise on our last morning ...

The night finished well ... with thunder, lightening and torrential rain. So much so that we had quagmire's and a brilliant 4-wheel drive experience the following day!

Thanks for dropping by .....

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Safari - Day two (2nd instalment) ...

... however - loaded back onto vehicle and away we went!  A few twists and turns and a few more giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, baboons, warthogs etc. etc. later and we came to a large expanse of water .... Lake Tagalala!  Loads of wading birds and little dots in the the water in the distance - hippos!

We travelled a little way round the shore of the lake, the idea being to cross a ford but Salum had got stuck there the week before and had to be rescued.  He wasn't too keen to repeat the experience .... lol!

Decision made and diversion taken.  Without the diversion we wouldn't have found a skeleton of a baby hippo.  Salum reconstructed the head for us.

Next thing, we turned a corner and there - out of the blue - was a table all laid out for ...... breakfast!  Yep, proper breakfast in the bush with it all cooked fresh right there, waiter service, proper (well, porta) loos and all!  Could it get any better?  Well, yes, it could *LOL*

Our cruise ship (nope, they hadn't been joking!) ... SS Beho Beho II (you don't want to see SS Beho Beho I, trust me *hehe*) with a 'come as you are' dress-code.  Now that's just the way I like it although I wasn't always too keen on the other prospective dinner guests  *lol*

Official photographer.

Captains dinner?  A kamikaze jumping fish!  If they weren't jumping over the boat they were landing in it.  Unfortunately one slapped poor Anie right in the face and left her with rather a bruise.  It didn't live to tell the tale!

Take off?.
Yellow billed stork

Hippos (just a few in this shot but there were loads!)

Captain Salum and Stewardess Anie.


Just loved these dead trees in the middle of the lake.

A couple of large crocs
There were hundreds of the things all around the lake.  Apparently this particular lake has the largest concentration of crocs in the world.  We got a bit too close for comfort to some of them, for my liking!  Salum took us right up to the shore on some occasions, just to disturb them so they would come into the water.  Mind you, we ended up being more frightened of the jumping fish than the crocs & hippos - *LOL*

Having enjoyed a good hour or more on the lake we took our leave.  There was a large group of impala by the lakeside and, as we approached them they started to run and jump the water.  A beautiful sight. 

The next item on the day's itinerary was to visit some hot springs for a swim but by this time, nearly 8 hours after we'd started out, we were all tired and decided to pass on that idea and make our way 'home' for a well deserved rest and drink ... and thereby lays the start of the next story!

Thanks for dropping by .....