A new lens, Mkhuzi, ‘fancy’ sandwiches and smores

The other day, I started using a lens I have been carrying around with me since I got my camera, but have never actually used. I don’t know why I haven’t been using it from the start of the trip – it’s so much better for this kind of photography than my other lens. It’s a telephoto lens, 80-200mm rather than the other lens, which is 18-55mm, so it has a much better zoom. Given most of the animals we see are quite far away from us, it is ideal. And I have got some much better photographs as a result.

We had a new monitor, Dave, for a few days while Brett was on leave (although he didn’t actually go anywhere; he just stayed here and worked). He’s a pretty mad dude – the first night he produced a kudu (antelope) horn which you can actually blow, as there’s a hole been made in one end. I almost came out with ‘that is no orc horn’ but didn’t think everyone else would be as geeky as me with Lord of the Rings quotes. He also read a Zulu poem about a cat, which I’ll try to track down and upload on here.

On Monday, we went to the local town, Mkhuzi, to pick up the food supplies we would need for the next week. We got to lie in until 8; here, that is absolute bliss. Dave dropped us off at the Spar then disappeared, telling us he would see us in half an hour while we had to collect the supplies.
It must have been the busiest shop I’ve ever been in. A queue of people stretched all the way along the road, just waiting to use the ATM inside. When we actually got in, the aisles were jam packed with people. It was a sea of colour with the beautifully bright clothes of the Zulus and the air hummed with conversation. I hope this doesn’t sound too weird, but walking around there, I felt so incredibly white. I had never really been that aware of my ethnicity before; I’ve never been in the minority. It was a pretty enlightening experience, actually.
Navigating our way around the store was havoc, especially as we had to manoeuvre a huge trolley between the tides of people and we didn’t know where everything was. When we’d finally got everything, we didn’t really know what to do, as Dave hadn’t come back and we didn’t have the money to pay for everything. So we stood awkwardly in the aisle, trying unsuccessfully not to get in the way until Dave came to pay. We then went to get the tyres for the truck fixed (we’ve had 2 punctures in 5 days, due to some moron putting spikes in the road).
We went to this country club for lunch, which is a regular Wildlife Act haunt. It was amazing – I had a seafood pizza, which was really good value. I have never seen so much cheese on a pizza. It was an effort finishing it, and I didn’t have room for dinner that night, but it was well worth it!!

After my run that evening (held my breath past the zebra!!) I went outside to cool down and full-on walked into a cactus-y tree. It was a horrid spiky thing, which cut my arm and hurt like hell. If anyone asks, I was mauled by a leopard…..

I don’t think Dave was too impressed with the sandwiches we have been eating most of the time we’ve been here. They were ‘dessert’ sandwiches, apparently, so he makes cheese, cucumber, tomato, chilli sauce, sweet basil and pepper sandwiches. Victoria calls them ‘fancy’ sandwiches, which I guess they are compared to peanut butter and jelly!! We forgot to defrost the bread the other day, so had to make our sandwiches in situ, which was cool. We also had banana upside-down cake, which Alex had made the night before. It was goooood. Brett was unimpressed though, as he’d been asking him to bake for us since we got here and the night we baked, he was at a party. Ah well, at least he got to party.
The 4th of July was, of course, America’s Independence Day. Although me and Alex were reluctant to celebrate this (it’s not exactly pro-British), Victoria introduced us to smores, which made everything better. I’ve never had a smore before and had to ask Victoria what one was. They are goooooooood: toasted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched in between gram crackers (although we just used biscuits). This is a concept I shall definitely be bringing back to the UK, for better or worse. Along with bacon, egg, cheese and syrup toasted sandwiches. Healthy…..


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