It finally happened! I made the Boozy Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese that I’ve been hinting at in a previous post here, and here. Oh. My. Word. It was delicious!Continue reading
Day 47: Nightmares on Not-Elm Street
I’ve been plagued with nightmares the past few nights. I’m not sure if coronavirus lockdown is getting to me, or if I’m receiving a message from a Higher Power.
Sometimes I wake up shivering yet drenched in perspiration. It means having to take a shower, change my pajamas and bedclothes in the middle of the night. It’s not a fun task, but as I stand under the often-almost-cold water (because I don’t run the hot water cylinder all day, every day), I don’t remember the dreams, I just know they were unpleasant.Continue reading
As the sun begins to set on 2019
I reflect on where I am,
what might have been…
I remember the rivers I cried:
How, in March, I wished I had died.
So much has changed this year
Yet much is the same
Family, friends, job, dreams
Yet the solid ones remain my team.
I remember the laughter and smiles:
Gatsby, weekends away, foresty miles.
Often it was tough, but mostly good;
I loved and lost and stumbled and fell
But like a Phoenix, I rose
and finally understood
I remember feeling undefeatedly victorious:
The freedom of turning forty, so joyous!
Excitement grew, as did my dreams:
Of travel and writing
Of leaving what’s safe, to open my mind
To see new places, to spread my wings.
I remember the sad goodbye of dear, dear friends,
But our bond is stronger than time’s end.
I remember standing in speechless awe
Of the Mighty Zambezi and Victoria Falls
As 2020 looms, undoubtedly with challenges of it’s own
I take solace knowing I won’t have to face them alone.
**Unless otherwise specified, all photos are my own and my not be used without my prior written permission.**
Review: Old Drift Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Arriving at the five star Old Drift Lodge was an experience in itself. I was welcomed by the Manager on Duty, Farai and the resident “Granny”, Hilda, who is learning the ropes. To ward of the sweltering heat, I was given a cool, damp towel and my suitcase was whisked off to my quarters, while I was checked in, over my first (of what would be a few) cocktails.
The main area of the lodge, where all meals are served, overlooks the Zambezi River. The furnishings are classy and comfortable. The décor speaks to the history of the Old Drift Town, and has the touch of Africa visible throughout, with chessboards that have wild animal pieces.
Every day the lodge has brainteasers up on the chalkboard, which is a great way to get the travellers (which are from all corners of the Globe) to interact with one another.
I was escorted to my accommodation by Granny and taken aback by the size of it. The king size bed was covered in crisp white linen, and there was an elephant made out of the towels on my bed, along with a personalized note, welcoming me to the lodge.
I was given a quick tour of the lodgings and told that if I needed anything (including a change to the beverages in the minibar), it would be arranged. I tested the theory by asking for a bath to be drawn for me upon a return from an excursion my last evening, and it exceeded my expectations.
While the lodge specializes in being a couples-destination, the luxury tents are able to sleep four persons: two on the king size bed, and two more on twin beds, in a separate room. My personal feeling is that this is not the sort of place to bring small children, given the wild animals roaming around, and because the idea is to retreat from life and truly rewind.
The bathroom boasts beautiful his-and-hers handbasins, made of copper.
There is a large indoor shower, as well as one outside. What sold me on this lodge (and I considered a few!) was the outdoor bathtub. Who wouldn’t want an indulgent bubble-bath, while overlooking the Zambezi, with the possibility of view game as an added bonus?
If you’re wanting to cool down, every room is equipped with its own private splash pool; sometimes used by the passing elephants to grab a drink. If this happens and the water is left a bit murky ‘n muddy, one call to reception is all it takes for it to be turned back into sparkling blue. On my last day, I enjoyed an ice-cold local ale, Zambezi Lager in the pool.
After dinner every evening, each resident is accompanied to their room by a ranger, in case there are wild animals roaming about. This is a requirement of the National Parks Authority, and a necessary one. One evening there were both Cape Water Buffalo and a herd of elephants roaming around the lodge.
I had a busy time during my holiday, wanting to do as much as I could in the short time I was in Victoria Falls, but the staff at the lodge are flexible and always willing to help. For example, lunch is served between 13:00 and 15:00, but if one arrives back from an excursion a bit later, something to nibble on can be arranged.
The lodge offers sunrise-, and sunset cruises (whether a single person, or a number of people) are booked, as well as game drives, and nature walk safaris. The sunrise cruises include coffee, hot chocolate, and tea for your enjoyment on the river. For those that can’t resist, there is Amarula for the coffee too. Oh, and the most delicious biscuits too; the oats crunchies are dangerously addictive!
During afternoon excursions, there are alcoholic beverages available – on the sunrise cruise you can enjoy a sundowner while you gently chug along, and the game drive has a pop-up bar somewhere along the route, where travellers can sip on something cold, enjoy some bite-size snacks and soak up the breathtaking view.
All the guides that accompany guests on the excursion are extremely knowledgeable of the area, the animals and the vast array of birdlife that can be found in- and around the lodge.
The meals at the lodge are next-level delicious! Chef Gabriel and his team indeed know their onions. The menu is a five-day rotational one, as Farai explained to me, but if there is something specific a guest would like to have, it is easily arranged.
Breakfast is a continental one to begin with, and guests can order an assortment of hot meals, which are prepare to order. I had eggs benedict one morning, and the Rangers’ breakfast the next. One thing that I love about the meals served is that the hot meals are served on hot plates, keeping the food warm throughout.
At every meal, Chef Gabriel makes a turn at the tables to make sure the guests are enjoying their meals. The waitstaff are polite and always at the ready to fill your water glass or get you a drink to have with your meal. I only had lunch at the lodge once, given my hectic schedule. It was Fillet of Tilapia (one of the 80 types of fish found in the Zambezi).
The dinners at the lodge are a culinary experience, with a selection that caters to all tastes.
I had dinner on two of the three evenings I was at the lodge (as I attended a dinner excursion on the Bushtracks Express one evening).
The travel agent that booked my stay at the lodge is a friend, and mentioned to them that I was coming to Victoria Falls as a to-myself-from-myself-40th-birthday-present. On the last night I was there, the manager on duty, Lessley, joined me for dessert. Halfway through that cheesecake, all the staff on duty came out singing “Happy Birthday”. For a minute I thought it was Lessley’s special day, but it turned out that I had been blessed with a birthday cake, which I was quite willing to share with the other guests, but they were all “well fed” with no extra space for cake. I ate a piece and had the rest divided amongst the staff.
On my last night, I came back to my room to find an envelope with my name on it, and a note inside. Again, it could have just read “room 6”, but that personal touch made it special.
I wish I could remember everyone’s names to thank them individually for their incredible hospitality, but for fear of (unintentionally) leaving someone out, I am simply going to say a universal “thank you!” to everyone at Old Drift. Being at the lodge has opened my eyes to the beauty of Victoria Falls town, the Mighty Zambezi and given me renewed hope for the future. I arrived at the lodge as a weary stranger, but left feeling like part of the Old Drift family. I’ve left a part of my heart there.
You may be rated as five-star by travel standards, but in my book, you’re a 10 out of 5 😀
Thank you for the memories! Ones I will treasure forever.
Bang, Bang! You Shot Me Down…
…Bang, bang! You shot me down. Bang, bang! I hit the ground. Bang, bang! That awful sound…
Today I’m going to talk about triggers. Not the thingies that you pull to fire a gun, but the ones that fire something in your brain that leave you feeling explosively emotional, whether happy, sad, angry, overwhelmed, excited and/or (insert whatever you’d like to here).
I had two instances over the weekend that triggered negative emotions in me. One was an altercation with a frog-eyed woman who was undecided about what cereal to put in her shopping cart. She was standing on one side of the aisle looking at the variety on display telling another woman with dark hair to bend down and look at something lower down only to tell her “No, I don’t like that flavour”. The Bean asked, “please can we get past?” and the brunette moved out the way. She then said something about “just standing a little to the side” and Mrs. Frog Eyes got all in her face about “we’re all shopping here”. The Bean replied with something in the line of “that’s why we should be considerate” and The Frog shouted down the aisle for her to “Shut up!” I turned around, angry, and said rather loudly, “Excuse me?” and she carried on with “your mother is rude”. I told her she was being rude, and she rewound to “we’re all shopping here!” I think if I’d engaged with her a bit longer, her skin might have tightened so much she would have suffered an ocular proptosis, or worse. I wonder if she ever told her mother to “Shut up!” or if she would allow her children to yell at her to “Shut up!” Either way, I hope her fishwife behaviour left her feeling proud.
Needless to say, what was supposed to be a fun outing for The Bean and I had been rained up both literally and verbally.
Should I ever be in the unfortunate position of having to deal with something like this again the future, I’ll take a leaf out of David Sutcliffe’s books in the first episode of Cracked. I imagine it would provide for some kind of entertainment. Either that, or it could get me committed.
The other was a tv feature called Mighty Cruise Ships which is airing on Discovery. Each episode deals with a different line, vessel and route. It’s extremely interesting, but it left me feeling a bit empty, especially after watching an episode that dealt with various ports of call in the Med and Europe, which co-incidentally would have been the route I would have been on with Charlie for three weeks starting later this month, but life happened and that dream is back in the box. Sure, I’m going to Victoria Falls which is something I’ve dreamt about since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but part of me longs for the original plan that I was so excited about and looking forward to. I read today that people wanting to do The Devil’s Pool excursion in Victoria Falls need to be able to swim a portion of the Zambezi against the current, so I will have to start swim-fitness again.
In both instances I recognized that I was being set off into a spiral of sadness and also that these things are not a result of something I have done. Still, it doesn’t make me feel less meh about things, so I did what my therapy dictates – I journalled about it, albeit only today, I drank water (because my brain doesn’t work properly when it’s thirsty), I read a bit and I had a (reasonably) early night.
Anyhow, tomorrow I start work for a new company (the one I’m with has merged with another, so it’s business as usual; only it’s not). My social calendar is full for the next two weeks and work is also major-league busy with financial year-end. It’s going to be an interesting last quarter of the year, that’s the one thing I’m certain of. Let’s all keep our wobbly bits crossed that I don’t do my nut before the end of it again, because I am taking a bit of strain again.
I doubt I’ll be one hundred percent hunky dory tomorrow, but I’ll follow Dory’s advice: Just keep swimming – both emotionally and physically – because #DevilsPool is on my #bucketlist
‘Til Next Time
Reflective Misfit Ramblings
I’ve been a bit “unbalanced” today, not sure why, but I think it may have something to do with a hypnopompic episode I experienced last night. I went to bed early and at some stage during the night found myself in the lounge obsessed with wanting to know what the time was. I kept saying to myself It’s dark, it’s still time to sleeeeeeppp, but my brain was having none of it until I found the time. Seventeen minutes to midnight… Hallelujah, I could go back to the snugness of my bed and get at least another six hours in. I did, but I tossed and turned the whole night. When my third alarm of the morning rang, I set another. Fortunately work wasn’t demanding today, so my lack of brain-power stealthily remained under the radar.
Now, I’m sitting at my favourite writing spot, double-shot cappuccino for company, loungy-kinda music in the background being drowned out by a table of patrons clearly celebrating something and a crackling fire for warmth. I’ve blogged about fire before because flames are mesmerizing. The way they dance across the wood, creating glowing embers is almost hypnotic.
Today I finalized arrangements for a part of my upcoming-40th birthday celebrations: A vintage-style ladies’ high-tea for some of my closest girlfriends and of course, The Bean. The blokes will be included at a separate celebration (which I’ve planned as a picnic in the park, but that idea may change given the limited numbers of positive RSVP’s received). Every year I try and do something “different” from a hobo-themed party to an as Nathan jokingly refers to it “a boring meet and greet”. Last year I had a movie-themed trivia-chill night which was a great success. For those of you wondering what I looked like, here is a photo of me as The Joker. Charlie did my make-up.
I was telling Charlie afterwards that I almost always feel “deflated” after my birthday because the actual event, while always fabulous and fun, seems to be anticlimactic, because I have so much fun planning. Today when I confirmed the number of attendees and menu options with the owner of the venue, I told her “I’m starting to get excited now.” Her reply was “You should be excited. The Germans don’t say ‘Die vorfreude ist die schonste freude’ for nothing.” Given that my German is about as good as every other European language I know, I called in my trusty friend, Google. Turns out that what the Germans say is true: The anticipation is the most beautiful joy. I love the excitement that comes with a celebration of some sort.
On the subject of celebration and mounting anticipation, I have had a dream ever since I can remember and that is to visit Victoria Falls. Shalya-Rae says it must be because of a history lesson we had in fifth grade about Livingstone and Stanley. I don’t remember it (does the memory start going at 40?!), but whether it is the reason or not for my obsession with The Smoke that Thunders, I can’t say. All I know is that I am going! In November… and I’m over the moon about it!
I had actually saved for another holiday, but things didn’t go according to plan. Initially I was disappointed, but then the opportunity to visit one of my bucket-list destinations came along. I’m not big on signs from The Universe, but this was a cosmic confirmation to realize my dream. I didn’t really waste time in making a decision. I armchair travelled with Eliza and Nathan one evening, saw the lodge and booked my spot the next day. Everything lined up perfectly. I’ve gone all out – an all inclusive package, accommodation at a five star tented lodge on the banks of the Zambezi. To say I can’t wait is an understatement.
I have told everyone that if they want to get me a birthday gift, I’d like money for my holiday, because I’d love to do the Flight of the Angels and if possible, visit the Devil’s Pool. Harriet gave me my first US Dollar and subsequently The Bean found three more which she gave to me. I’m crossing my fingers and my not-yet-sagging-boobs that it will improve.
Anyway, my dinner’s just arrived, so I’ll catch y’all on the flipside.
‘Til next time…
I (Don’t) Spy
I seldom dream these days. I think it has something to do with the sleep meds I’m drinking. On the odd occasion that I have not, I’ve dreamed. Vividly! So much so, that the morning after, I’ve woken up feeling like I’ve had a hectic night on the town. A while ago, I wrote about a Sleepless Mindfield. Today it’s all cloak ‘n dagger, except for the fact that I had no idea everyone in my dream was a spook – not the boo kind, but the type that is neither confirmed nor denied. I am bloody exhausted! And to crown it, my one incisor chipped. There goes my fantasy of becoming a vampire. Damn!
I spent the night at Eliza and Nathan’s place as I do every Thursday night. We somehow got talking about cults, which is the same thing that set off a post earlier this year.
“I watched an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles on Sunday at Harriet’s place. It was about a cult called The Church of the Unlocked Mind. I’ve been told that watching TV is not conducive to my recovery, but I didn’t think forty-five minutes would do much harm. Well, I had nightmares the entire night about being held captive- and attempted to be brainwashed by an inescapable sect that I was quite exhausted when I woke up on Monday morning.”
For some reason the three of us sat at the kitchen counter last night, eventually talking in whispers, as if the house was being bugged by a sect trying to recruit us to do their bidding. Later the subject changed to foreign words and their meanings, which had us all in stiches. One in particular that stuck with me is schnapsidee. I’m sure if you close your eyes and think hard enough, you’ll be able to identify at least one such idea from your own life.
Back to cults ‘n spies. Almost everyone that is close to me featured in my REM-sleep kopfkino.
In my dream, I’m in familiar surroundings, a house, but it’s not mine. Like a shitty-B-grade-no-budget-made-for-TV-movie, virtually everything happens in the dark, except one point where The Toppie and I are in search of a manuscript of sorts on a mountain top that is protected by Sumo wrestlers. I’m thinking this last bit was his ikigai.
I’m alone, unpacking dusty boxes, when I come across a photo album – an actual booklet-type one. In it are photos of almost everyone I know (in real life), but they’re all in disguises: The Bean a femme fatale of sorts, her mouth bright crimson and she looks deadly posing with what I hope is toy-gun, but my gut tells me it’s the real McCoy.
The I come across another photo of my friend Allice. She’s dressed in a technicolour coat, donning a Ziggy Stardust mullet and pointing at something off-picture with glittery gold nails. She’s laughing, her mouth open wide enough to see her tongue-stud. Judging from her demeanour, it appears that she’s at a party. Halloween, perhaps?
Just as I’m about to place the Kodak memories in my jeans’ pocket, a weathered note falls to the ground from between the photos. The ink is faded, and the page is torn. All I can really make out are the words Nothing seems, but it’s not betrayal and protect you. Cryptic and mysterious. Right up this wannabe-Nancy-Drew’s alley.
I head off to share my findings with Eliza. She’s open-minded, and imaginative. Maybe she will have a theory. Turns out when I show her the album, her skin flushes. She takes me downstairs into a dank basement and insists that we talk there, behind a newspaper. Every conversation I have with her takes place behind a newspaper. With Carla, clandestine conversations happen in an ornate, old church and every time we speak, it’s behind The Bible. With neither do I ever find out what’s going on, but they clearly know something. The only advice Carla gives me is to go back to where it started.
So, back to the boxes. This time I find a loose photograph of Nathan and Eliza in front of an aeroplane. It looks like a model one, but upon closer inspection, I see the words In Service. I swear I see Allan in the shadow too.
It takes me a while to unravel the mystery of the dream, but I realize that everyone in my life is in a cult of spies and I’m in the thick of things but not any kind of agent. Even as I trek up rocky slopes with The Toppie to find the ancient book, I find myself wondering WTAF is going on.
Good thing the alarm went off when it did, because if it hadn’t, I may have found out that I’m related to 007.
Talk about convoluted…
Here’s hoping tonight’s sleep is deep and dreamless again. I’ve come to prefer it.
Subconcious Manifestations of Conscious Truths? Indeed…
Tickey, Patch Adams, Tobo, Bozo, Laffy … Cathy even had her own one according to the Everly Brothers… If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, maybe Pennywise will ring a bell with you, although It isn’t a happy one. If you haven’t got the at least one of the references as yet, I’d like to know what planet you’re from.
One of my fondest childhood memories was visiting the circus. Yes, now that I’m older, I do understand that in some instances the animals are ill-treated, but when I was a starry-eyed innocent, knee-high to a grasshopper, the circus was nothing more than a big magical tent of happiness, awe and laughter.
I seldom remember my dreams, but when I do, they haunt me. Last night I had not one, but two, vivid HD dreams, both of which I remember. The first one was about the letter I wrote to my sixteen-year-old-self and the other about me being a clown of all things. The most vivid part of the vision was how I meticulously applied the make-up, creating the perfect alter-ego.
My first thought upon waking up this morning, with salty residue on my cheeks was Robin Williams, one of the most versatile, legendary actors that the world has ever seen. I have seen almost every movie in which he appeared, with Mrs Doubtfire, Dead Poets’ Society and Patch Adams ranking as my top three.
There is an exponential amount of ways to interpret dreams, and just a quick Google search gave a few examples.
According to Dream Moods dot Com:
“To see a clown in your dream symbolizes absurdity, light-heartedness, and a childish side to your own character. … Alternatively, a clown is an indication of your thoughtless or insincere actions. If you have a fear or phobia of clowns, the clown may represent a mysterious person in your life who mean you harm.”
According to Dream Meaning dot Net
Dream About Clown Makeup
“Dreams of putting own clown makeup, suggests that you are putting up temporary façade or smiling faces towards situations that you may not particularly like. You are trying to make people believe that everything is okay and you are enjoying your life, however deep down you may feel depressed and sad.”
According to the media, it was no secret that Robin Williams was depressed when he died in 2014. It’s also no secret, although I’m not sure if there is any medical research to back this up, that the saddest people are generally the biggest clowns; the ones that are able to get the largest laughs out of their peers are the ones that are in the darkest pits of their own minds. It’s tragic irony.
I’m not going to deny that I’m sad at the moment – there is a lot happening that is causing unease within me. I’m not going to spill my guts here as to what, because the nature of the situations is sensitive, and in some instances, quite personal.
Suffice to say though, despite everything that is going on right now, these gloomy trances that disrupt my rest, will be a thing of the past.
In the meantime, I will keep my eye on good things I know are coming and spend time with the people I love, laughing with them. After all, that is the best medicine.