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Tuesday 7 Apr
Cape Town, South Africa

One trip to go.

Well, I've finally come to the end of my first trip and I've got a few mixed feelings....  All in all the trip has been great but being with some of the same people for such a long time, day in and day out has been trying. Don't get me wrong, Heidi is a great girl but there's only so many times I can provide a shoulder to lean on when the same thing is being repeated again and again...  As for Mat and Mark?  Mark and I managed to spend the third leg winding each other up, not on purpose but there was always a comment made that was taken by one of us the wrong way.  Mark decided that the easiest way to deal with that was not to talk to me for the last five weeks! Oh well.  And Mat, nice guy, but totally wound up in Heidi to pay any attention to anyone else...

Group wise, this last one has probably been the best.  The breakdown of groups goes something like this...

Group 1 - Me, Heidi, Mick and Marie (UK), Gerry (Spain), Hollis (USA) & Phillip (French-Canadian) - this was all a bit strange.  Heidi, Mick, Marie and I all bonded over helping each other out with tents, cook groups and a social drink.  Gerry did nothing and up-graded to a room when ever he could, English wasn't his first language so he didn't really talk to us much.  Hollis had an unfortunate accident and cut her toe, the unfortunate part being that she told us about it every day from then on.  Phillip was pretty much like anyone of French descent, arrogant about his language to the point of saying that english Canadians weren't real Canadians.... Phillip and Hollis told loads of stories about getting drunk but they never really joined in with the social side, drinking or otherwise.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that Hollis had accused Heidi and I of ignoring her cause she wasn't drinking.  Not so.  She just wasn't anyone either of us would have socialised with normally.

Group 2 - Me, Heidi, Mick and Marie, Louise and Neil (UK), Tony and Sue (UK), Jen and Kelly (Canadian), Bob and Jackie (Canadian) - this was a couples trip, the only singles being Me and Mark.  The Canadians were great, Bob and Jackie were a very very pretty couple who took the piss out of themselves at every opportunity. Jen and Kelly were lovely.  Tony and Sue were the eldest wtih them both being retired, they did a silly little squabbling arguement thing which tended to get on my nerves but were very nice.  Lou and Neil were brilliant and I'm glad they stayed on.  Everyone helped out on this trip which was a vast improvement on the last trip!

Group 3 - Me, Heidi, Lou & Neil, Ian (Canada), Sarah (UK), Anna and Judith (Dutch) - back to singles.  Ian was a nice, if somewhat strange guy. Heidi had a couple of run-ins with him that totally annoyed her, all I could see was her over-reacting.  He had a very stange sense of humour and a smart mouth which she didn't appreciate. Anna and Judith were a newly qualified doctors who had been doing some volunteer work in a hospital in Tanzania, English was not their first languge, but unlike Phillip from the first trip, they spoke English all the time, even when in their tents by themselves. As for Sarah....possibly the less said about her the better.  She was discribed by Anna as broad-spectrum autistic.  She was strange.  I have some very fond memories of swimming in the Zambesi on sand bars while on the canoeing safari and her walking off the edge and disappearing under the water.  This didn't just happen once but three times!  I've never laughed so much in my life.

Group 4 - Me, Heidi, Lou & Neil, Cath and Graham (UK) and Hilary (UK) - this was a pretty well balanced bunch.  Hilary has resigned from work, sold her house etc and is spending a year or so travelling.  Cath and Graham are just on holiday.  Not much to say about this lot apart from that we all socialised together and all got on well.

As for the rest - I enjoyed truck life. Mostly. The truck is a bit old and leaks like a sieve, it's got a dual rear axel so the further back you are, the worse ride you get (I stayed in the same seat all trip!). Travelling by truck was kinda like doing Africa Lite, you got to see loads, but missed heaps as well.  Camp grounds tend to be out of cities so you're away from the general population and we would always tend to hang around or do an activity or something that kept us away from the locals...

Would I do it again?  Probably. It's hassle free, pretty much.  You have someone else organising food and accomodation.  You know where you're headed but with a small group there's still enough flexibilty to change things....

Anway....That's this blog done.  I have a few bits to fill in in the middle which I'll do over the next couple of days... 

Looking forward - I leave on my next trip on Thursday.  Apparently I'm on an Intrepid truck (they've got some sort of sharing deal with Dragoman) which will be a bit different, a newer truck and an africian crew as well as being pretty much fully booked (20 odd of us) so it'll all be a bit stange and I dear say I'll be wanting my truck back along with Mat and Mark pretty soon...

Take care...



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