Rain and manky hair

Posted: 06/08/2011 in Africa

Lake Victoria Sunset

It rained over night. Actually that’s a lie, it stormed a loud heavy rain with thunder and lightening. My second night of camping and I’m about to get flooded. The tents though are very water proof and aside from a little trickle on the floor it’s ok. When I wake the rain has stopped, however, the moment I step one foot outside the flap a torrential downpour starts and I have to pack up a tent I have never taken down before. This was not in the brochure, I’m sure they promised 55 days of sunshine. The bus is a mere 30 meters from my tent yet by the time I get to it with my gear I’m drenched, well my hair did need a wash. And as for my hair, well that’s a whole other thing. I can see how easy it would be to just go all dreadlocked as your hair gets so manky and dusty and washing it frequently is just not always going to be practical. I have this dry shampoo stuff but I will tell you right now it does not work in already wet hair. Huh, its shampoo, go figure. What was already a knotted mess turns into some kind of weird birds nest on my head. Anyway digressing. Its at this point I realise how handy my raincoat would be…the one locked inside the truck. Hmmm, am completely drenched with manky birds nest hair and I haven’t even had a coffee! I want my expresso machine….

I figure a raincoat at this stage is pointless so I begin to unpack the tent (and by unpack I mean stand in front of it scratching my birds nest hair and try to remember how it was put up). At this stage Will runs over all coated up and sends me to the truck to change while he packs away my tent. Normally I’d be all “hey I’ll help” but I’m wet and cold and have no idea what to do so I gratefully leave him to it. Now I have to find dry clothes in my crazy locker mess, get them up to the truck without getting them wet, change before the other boys get on and try to do something with the birds nest! All this and its only the 2nd day!!

Breakfast skipped, suitably dry and packed up we head back out on the road to cross into Tanzania. 2 hours into the trip and I am so nauseated I could cry. 1 of our group have already had the runs but I had been more careful than anywhere I’ve ever been so was really peeved to say the least. I do not want to be on the truck, needing a loo, in the desert with no bushes! It was over in an hour so I put it down to the anti-malarial tablets. Stupid mosquitos and their disease carrying capabilities. It’s amazing how quickly the scenery changes, from the greenery of Kenya to a vast desert land with shrubs, prickly bushes & little huts everywhere. Kids would run out of houses screaming “mzungu” (white person), waving, laughing and smiling. Their smiles are so bright and genuine and they are so excited when you wave back. It’s a little disconcerting too because the truck is really high up. Our seats actually look down into a semi-trailers cab. So you pass through towns in this massive truck from which you can see everything and it makes you feel a little showy.

The Africa-in-focus truck itself is brilliant. It comfortably seats 16, has an onboard fridge and library as well as 12 volt chargers for all those electronic gadgets we carry these days. Each set of 2 seats share a massive lockable foot locker with a small safe inside for passport, money etc… Each foot locker is below a roof hatch that opens when passing through a game park. So you stand on the foot locker with your head out the hatch, a perfect view of the game park. At that point your really, really high up which is kind of handy when you consider the types of animals I’ll be seeing. The windows are glass rather than plastic as many trucks have. Each pulls down for perfect viewing and photography. Under the truck is a big locker for 2 people to stow their gear as well as lockers for chairs, tents and mats. The entire backside of the truck contains the kitchen and tables. Underneath is gas bottles and a massive water bladder with drinkable bore water, yay no water bottles with dodgy superglue, just fill up your bottle whenever you need. I love this truck and more so when I see the other trucks on the road. Of course with such a tiny group we each have a locker and foot locker and row of seats to ourselves – brilliant!

Anyway we arrive at Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest inland lake and I’m telling yo it’s huge! It may as well be a the beach as you can’t see the other side and there’s sand and waves. The bird life is amazing and at dusk we have another photography lesson on how to shoot in a sunset. I get to wash my manky birds nest although it’s one of those scary shower experiences. Afterwards I try to wash some clothes but the brownish water is full of sediment (at least I hope it’s sediment) and is discolouring my clothes. Yep the same water I just showered in. I no longer have a birds nest but who knows what might now be multiplying in my hair! Hey at least I can feed any birds that land there. So off to bed I go to the sound of waves in beautiful warm weather.

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