Saturday, July 24, 2010

Days 288-290 – Malawi

July 20-22, 2010 – Nyika National Park, Malawi

The next few days feel like we’re at a cottage – we relax by the fire, play cards, read and go for walks around the area.

Andrew even lets us take turns driving around the park, which is a lot of fun considering he has a proper 4x4 for us to use.

And thanks to Nellie, we enjoy some fantastic baked goods – she makes us bread, cornbread and cake, all from scratch.

While Nellie is spoiling us with her treats, Andrew is spoiling us with his hospitality – he makes us some fantastic meals, teaches us a lot about the nature in the park and he shows Eric how to kill & clean a chicken.

In fact, this is a very educational trip for Eric because we also teach him how to play cribbage, much to my pleasure.

During our walks and drives we see lots of wildlife – zebra, bustards, warthogs and numerous antelope, including the roan. The roan is a new type of antelope for us – it’s the second largest antelope in the world, next to the eland and they have their largest concentration within Nyika National Park.

Nyika is often compared to the highlands of Scotland because of its rolling hills, greenery and flowers, but we’re here during the dry season, so it’s not that green. In fact, in some places it’s black because of the control burns taking place – burning needs to be done as a precautionary measure to prevent areas of importance, such as the rain and juniper forests, from catching fire due to lightning-strikes and poachers.

But despite the harshness of the land you’ll find close-up at this time of year, the vistas are still stunning.

So You Want to Be a Ghetto Camper

So you want to be a ghetto camper, do you? Well now you can! Just follow these 3 simple steps and you too can slum it out in some of the most beautiful national parks in the world.

Step 1: Buy a Tent

But don’t go to a store that specializes in outdoor equipment and where the employees are knowledgeable and willing to help.

Go to a store where the employees don’t give a rat’s ass about you and the only nice thing they can say about your prospective tent is “this is the cheapest one we’ve got”.

Step 2: Make Do With What You Have

Buying more camping equipment, only means there’s now more stuff for you to lug around. And who wants to do that?

Instead, just use whatever you’ve already got on you.

Need a sleeping pad?

Don’t bother – use your towel, the floor-mats from your rental car or the beautiful hand-woven carpet you picked up in Jordan.

Need a chair?

Forget about it – sit on a plastic bag.

Need an extra blanket?

Screw that monkey – wear every piece of clothing you have and then wrap yourself up with your mosquito net and the rain-cover for your backpack.

Step 3: Cooking is for Suckas

When some people go camping, they insist on bringing fancy-shmancy cooking equipment, like pots or a stove.

Well, I say those people are suckas – don’t let “the man” tell you how to cook your meal.

In fact, who says you have to actually cook your meal?

Just eat the leftovers from last night’s meal COLD.

“Oh – but I reeeeaaally want a hot meal.”

Well then just stick the can of beans in the fire – when the beans bubble over into the coals, they’re done.

“What if we’re fortunate enough to have a grill to cook meat on? Should we bring BBQ utensils?”


Just use a set of pliers and a pair of chopsticks… easy-peazy.

Well, there you have it - 3 simple ways to be a ghetto camper.

It’s the only way to travel Africa…

… unless of course you want to do your research ahead of time and come prepared.

Day 287 – Malawi

July 19, 2010 – Mzuzu to Nyika National Park, Malawi

Well, as luck would have it, Andrew is still around – the power was out in Mzuzu all day, so he couldn’t get to the bank for work, so he stayed one more night. And since my back is up for the drive, it’s off to Nyika we go!

Between the rough roads and multiple stops, it takes us most of the day to get ourselves up to the park, but boy, is the long drive ever worth it – Nyika is stunning and Andrew’s place is awesome!!!

He lives in a log cabin in the middle of a pine tree plantation and combined with the cooler temperatures – it’s 2300 m. above sea level – it feels more like being in northern Ontario than southern Africa.

Thanks to Andrew’s housekeeper Nellie, who’s been expecting us and has built a roaring fire in the living room, it doesn’t take the three of us long to settle in with a drink from his well-stocked bar.

Days 285 & 286 – Malawi

July 17 & 18, 2010 – Mzuzu, Malawi

Eric and I wake up excited for our trip to Nyika National Park, but unfortunately we have a problem… my back is still acting up and Andrew has opted to stay in town for another day. So we settle back into Pine Tree and go for a wander into town.

Upon our return, Eric is delighted to find that the housekeeper has changed our sheets. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but once you see the sheets she put on the bed, you’ll understand why…

I seriously thought Eric was going to have a heart-attack from the excitement.

The next morning we wake up to a torrential rainfall. Plus, my back has not improved enough to handle a 4+ hour ride on bumpy roads. So it looks like there will be no trip to Nyika for us today, which is very disappointing.

So Eric and I spend the rest of the day putting together a 1000-piece puzzle of “36 Places in Africa to See Before You Die”. When the puzzle is finished, we’re excited to find out we’ve been to 12 of them on this trip already.

Day 284 – Malawi

July 16, 2010 – Lilongwe to Mzuzu, Malawi

Since being in Africa, the few experiences we’ve had using the public bus system has taught Eric and I one thing – pre-planning is a waste of time and energy. Instead, showing up at the station early is the most effective way to get to our next destination.

With that said, we show up at the Lilongwe bus station at about 7:30am in search of a bus to take us to the town of Mzuzu. The staff at the hotel recommended two bus companies – AXA or National – so we make those our first stops before choosing the National bus to Mzuzu via Mzimba. This little detour means the trip may take an extra 45 minutes – ish – but it’s still the best option out of the other options available to us.

We load our bags onto the bus, settle into our seats and wait. We wait for the passengers to stop flowing in, the sellers to stop selling, the preacher to stop preaching and the bus engine to stop idling. And 45 minutes after the scheduled departure time, the bus takes off. By African standards, this isn’t a long wait.

After a seven-hour-ride – only an hour longer than scheduled – we arrive in Mzuzu. We peel ourselves out of the bus and go search out a place to stay, which proves to be more difficult than finding a bus.

Our first stop is at church-run rest house. It’s clean and affordable, but way too institutional for us. It’s right by the bus station and if we were staying for only one night it would be okay. But since we’re hoping to stay two nights, we decide to move on.

Our second stop is horrible. In fact, we immediately turn around the second we walk through the gate.

Stop number three is much more promising. It’s a bit of a drive out of town but it’s been recommended to us and it looks fun. Unfortunately, lots of other people feel the same way and it’s fully-booked. But the management makes a recommendation for our fourth stop and one of their guests – Andrew from the UK – offers us a ride, which we graciously accept.

As we’re driving to Pine Tree Lodge – the fourth and hopefully, final stop – we learn that Andrew is currently working up at Nyika National Park. He’s heading back up to the park tomorrow and offers us both a lift and a place to crash. We were planning on visiting Nyika eventually, but hadn’t been able to figure out how to get there and since in Africa “transport is king”, we jump at the opportunity.

We arrive at Pine Tree Lodge and they have room.

And better yet, they have chocolate cake on the menu!!!

Relieved, we settle into the comfortable surroundings and order up a home-cooked meal – I have cottage pie – aka. shepherd’s pie – and Eric has steak & kidney pie.

And of course, I have a piece of the chocolate cake… life is good.

Day 283 – Zambia to Malawi

July 15, 2010 – Chipata, Zambia to Lilongwe, Malawi

Today we cross into Malawi with little ado.

We leave Dean’s at 9:30am and arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi at 1:00pm by taking a private taxi to the Zambian side of the border, walking across the border, taking a shared taxi 12kms to the town of Mchinji where we then catch a mini-bus to Lilongwe.

We spend our afternoon finding a place to stay, some food to eat and just wandering around for the sake of wandering around.

In the evening, we play Skip-Bo, read and enjoy a nice cold shower in the dark – there’s a black-out on our side of town. And of course, from our room we can look across the river and see lights on the other side… I guess some times the grass IS greener.

Day 282 – Zambia

July 14, 2010 – Mfuwe to Chipata, Zambia

Today we have the true “African Experience”.

It begins with a little surprise first thing in the morning…

Yes – this would be a frog hiding in Eric’s toiletry bag.

Then we have an unexpected visitor during breakfast…

For a few seconds it looks like this guy might actually join us… the elephants around here have been known to walk right into Flatdogs’ restaurant. This isn’t so bad, but they always forget to make a reservation, which is ironic really.

And finally, we experience “African Time” firsthand…

“African Time” basically refers to the laid-back approach to schedules around here. For instance, a bus scheduled to leave at 8:00am, probably won’t leave until 8:45am so there’s no point in getting upset. Therefore, when someone tells us a time, we always add “ish” to it and we’re never disappointed – 8:00am becomes 8:00am-ish, 1 hour becomes 1 hour-ish, etc.

Our taxi driver, who’s supposed to pick us up at 12:00pm calls us at 11:55am to say he’s running late and won’t be able to get us until 2:00pm.

Ah, African Time… no big deal – we’ll just enjoy nice, lazy afternoon here.

Now we never actually expected the driver to show up at 2:00pm sharp – we figured on a 30-minute cushion. But at 3:00pm, with no taxi in sight, the hotel staff track him down and find out he’ll be by to get us within the next half hour.

At 3:30pm, he finally shows up.

And Eric and I are not impressed.

Three-and-a-half hours late goes way beyond “African Time” and the hotel staff agree with us. They also provide us with some additional information about our driver – we won’t bore you with all the details – so Eric and he do some financial re-negotiations and we’re able to come to a suitable compromise to get us back to Chipata.

Of course, in some ways he has the last laugh…

What should have been a 2 ½ - 3 hour drive turns into a 4 ½ drive as the driver takes us on a spiteful scenic route – we take the long way back to Chipata and make numerous stops along the way to buy a new spare tire, top up the gas tank, visit a few business associates, etc.

Eventually we arrive back at Dean’s Hill View Lodge, where Dean’s staff has a room and dinner waiting for us – Flatdogs called ahead for us and let them know what was going on.

And of course, our taxi driver does offer to drive us to the Malawi border “for a good price”.

Yeah… we’ll see about that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New from Panasonic

A light-weight…


40” inch…

Bug-Screen Television.

This is high-definition TV like you’ve never seen it before.

Days 280 & 281 – Zambia

July 12 & 13, 2010 – Chipata to Mfuwe, Zambia

And we’re off – it’s 6:00am and we’re braving the ugly roads on the way to Mfuwe, the closest town to South Luangwa National Park!!!

One of the good things about starting so early is that we arrive at Flatdogs Camp at 9:00am, so we have the rest of the day to enjoy our latest temporary home. It’s located on the southern side of the Luangwa River, which is one of the borders of South Luangwa National Park. Unlike other places we’ve been, there are no fences around Flatdogs, which means many of the animals go through the camp to get in and out of the park.

And because it happens to be pretty quiet when we arrive, we’re given the best safari tent on site, where we quickly make ourselves comfortable…

The reason it’s deemed the BEST tent is because it’s situated on our own private “lagoon”, where we have no neighbours, except for a family of elephants…

A bushbuck…

A stork…

A puku and a party of baboons.

Seriously. Within our first hour at Flatdogs we see hippos, baboons, vervet monkeys, elephants, crocodiles, a monitor lizard and lots of birds.

This is definitely a special place.

We sign up for the night safari drive as we have yet to go on a safari at night… makes sense, don’t it?

Eric and I spend the day in anticipation for the drive and when the time comes, we luck out for two reasons:

The first is that before our drive, they serve us tea and snacks and today’s snack is brownies.

Secondly, we are the only ones in our group, which means we are alone with our guide, our spotter and one of the managers of the camp, who also happens to be a guide. It doesn’t take them long to start filling our heads with great information about sausage trees, elephants and the unique type of giraffe found only in South Luangwa Park.

These giraffes are smaller and marked differently than the typical giraffes we have previously seen.

On our way to the sundowner spot – “sundowners” is a fancy way of saying “drinks at sunset” – we find ourselves staring down a few African buffalos…

… and just when we think it’s cocktail time, Yotem and Timoth – our guide and our spotter – follow the signs of the wild and find us a leopard.

This particular leopard is well-known to the guides, is remarkably mild-tempered and fondly referred to as “Alice”. At one point she walks so close to our truck Eric could reach out and touch her.

About a kilometer past Alice, we stop for sundowners, where we’re allowed to get out of the truck – which explains why we drove about a kilometer past Alice.

As far as Eric and I are concerned, after seeing a leopard any other wildlife we see is just icing on the cake… or brownie, if you will.

With that said, we have a very successful second half - we see civets, elephant shrews, genets, bushbabies, scrub hares, zebras, waterbucks, a pride of lionesses and hippos out of the water.

And as luck would have it, about 5 minutes before we leave the park, our spotter spots a spotted hyena bolting across the road.

As you can see, this guy was moving fast so we’re lucky to catch him.

Eric and I are flying high when we return to camp. After a nice meal we retire to our tent only to find a hippo in our lagoon. So we fall asleep to the sound of him gulping down whatever it is he was gulping down.

The next day is a day of rest.

We had left our schedule open for the possibility of taking another game drive, but after last night’s success we’re satisfied filling our day lounging around the area.

Day 279 – Zambia

July 11, 2010 – Chipata, Zambia

Today we just hang out – we walk around Chipata and pick up some groceries, we chat with some of the interesting people staying at Dean’s and we twiddle our thumbs about whether to go up to South Luangwa National Park tomorrow or the following day.

Oh and of course, we play Skip-Bo – the tourney is really heating up!

Part of our hesitation about whether to head directly up to South Luangwa or to wait a bit is because it’s not the easiest place to get to. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Chipata along a very decrepit road. There are mini-buses that go, but they only leave when they’re full-to-the-brim and with my back being the way it is, I’m not too keen on being crammed in a wee vehicle. This means our other option is to hire a taxi, but it’s quite pricey. So right now we’re trying to figure out which is the lesser of two evils.

Well as luck would have it, towards the end of the day another couple arrives at Dean’s and they’re hoping to take a taxi up to the park first thing tomorrow morning. It looks like our decision has been made – how great is it to have things just fall into place so nicely. Lucky us!

We wrap up the evening watching the finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with the other guests… Spain wins, the Netherlands lose, it’s a boring game and we go to bed.

Day 278 – Zambia

July 10, 2010 – Lusaka to Chipata, Zambia

Well, winging the bus thing both works and doesn’t work for us.

It works in the sense that we get ourselves on a bus relatively hassle-free and as part of the ride they serve a snack.

And it doesn’t work for us because we spend an hour and a half waiting for the bus to leave and over the course of our 8 hour ride, the bus doesn’t really stop, which is hard on my back and needless to say, our bladders.

But overall, the ride is fine and we do make it to Chipata, so really there isn’t a reason to complain.

We grab a taxi and make our way over to “Dean’s Hill View Lodge”, which turns out to be a welcome haven of tranquility. Dean and his crew prepare us a nice dinner and we spend the evening relaxing and chatting.

Road Blocks

In Canada, road hazards are pretty straight forward – construction, snowstorms, broken-down streetcars, parades and the occasional moose or deer.

However, throughout Asia and Africa we’ve discovered new levels of road obstacles. These include such items as:





Orange Trees…

And of course, randomly parked cars.

Day 277 – Zambia

July 9, 2010 – Lusaka, Zambia

What can you say about Lusaka, the capital of Zambia?

Well, it’s a city.

And there you have it.

If my back wasn’t in the state it is, we both would have been pretty content to leave today, but unfortunately we don’t.

After a night where my sleep was constantly interrupted by the symphony of snoring men in our room, Throughout Africa we’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to sleeping in dorm rooms – we’ve met some great people and half the time we end up having them to ourselves any way. Unfortunately, last night wasn’t one of those times, so first thing in the morning Eric and I move to our own private room.

After breakfast, we wander around the downtown area for a bit in order to take care of some “housekeeping” – mailing postcards, going to an ATM, etc.

We also want to look into buses to get us the hell out of Lusaka and onwards to the town of Chipata. And as expected, this turns out to be a lot more laborious than necessary. After 9 months of traveling by public transit, we’re getting used to going to bus terminals and having to deal with sales touts, hawkers and not getting straight answers to straight questions. So now we’re pretty comfortable with having them around us and for the most part, ignoring them. However today we had a first-time experience for both of us…

As we’re standing around discussing our options – whilst being surrounded by 6 or 7 “salesmen” of course – we’re approached by an official with the bus station. He’s in uniform and has an ID badge and asks us if we need a hand. We tell him we’re okay and that we’re just figuring out what to do and then Eric cracks a joke about how if he’s able to get rid of the guys annoying us, that would be alright.

However instead of helping us, he tries to pull a little scam of his own and informs us that we should use the help of our “entourage” or otherwise he’s going to charge us with loitering. The guys hassling us all wait to see how we’ll react – they think we’ll cave and they’ll make a sale – and the “official” waits for us to crumble under the awesome power of his authority and ideally, give him a bribe. However, Eric and I look at each other, look at him and then break out into laughter. It’s not the reaction they’re expecting and none of them know quite what to do. This confusion gives us enough time to walk away, leaving the little weasel behind, sulking.

We head back to the hostel and eventually we’re able to piece together a plan using the scattered bits of information we get from the knuckleheads at the bus station and the knuckleheads at our hostel, and we decide to head to Chipata bright and early – instead of booking in advance, we’re just going to wing it.

Day 276 – Zambia

July 8, 2010 – Livingstone to Lusaka, Zambia

It’s time to move on – my back is improving slowly but surely – so we wake up nice & early in anticipation of our 6 hour drive to Lusaka.

We’re not sure what to expect considering the varied bus experiences we’ve had in the past, but to our pleasant surprise this trip is great. Boarding is hassle-free, the bus has big, comfy seats with lots of leg room, it leaves and arrives on time and the gospel music playing on the stereo is kept at a reasonable level. Okay, the movie isn’t one of our preferred picks – one of Kirk Cameron’s born-again religious numbers – but if this is the only thing we can complain about, well then it’s all good.

Of course, any feeling of calm & contentedness we have evaporates the minute we get off the bus. We are bombarded by taxi drivers, mini-bus drivers, touts & hawkers and people who we don’t even know what they want with us. We grab our bags – Eric is now playing Sherpa and carrying both of our big bags, while I carry the two smaller daypacks – and manage to get away from the chaos to discuss our next steps.

Seeing as there aren’t too many “backpacker” options in Lusaka, we decide to try out Ku-Ombuko Backpackers. Fortunately, there’s room at the inn – as the kids say – so we settle into a dorm room for the night.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Days 272-275 – Zambia

July 4-7, 2010 – Livingstone, Zambia

Sadly, the next few days are very uneventful.

My back has decided to go into spasm since the day we left the tour, so Eric and I have been holed up in the backpackers waiting for me to be in a condition to start travelling again.

I spend my time reading, catching up on writing the blog, practicing my Sudoku speed, annoying Eric and watching TED talks.

Eric spends his time reading, walking around the town, catching up on writing the blog, listening to podcasts and getting to know the pharmacist across the street – his name is Efram and apparently he’s a very nice guy.

Towards the end of our stay in Livingstone my back loosens up to the point where I can join Eric on his walks and he shows me around town. During one of our strolls we discover a decent pizza place located just a couple doors down from where we’re staying…. things seem to be looking up!

Day 271 – Zambia

July 3, 2010 – Livingstone, Zambia

Tour Day 10 – Depart Livingstone

Depart Livingstone at any time.

Eric and I visit Livingstone town in the morning with our guides Charlene and Riaan. Charlene takes me to her regular fabric shop and Riaan wants to check out the tourist market, so we tag along for one last ride in the overland truck. We have a fun time shopping – Charlene’s taste in textiles is awesome – and they also offer us some excellent travel advice for our continuing adventures.

When we arrive back at the camp, we sit around the site for a little while and enjoy everyone’s company. As much as we’re looking forward to getting off the tour and back onto our own schedule, these past few days have been a lot of fun and we’ve met some pretty great people. In fact, we’re already planning a trip to Wisconsin to visit Tiffany and Lyn – Eric has promised them maple syrup and ice wine in exchange for a “Packers cheese-hat”.

Eventually the time comes for us to say our good-byes, after which we grab a taxi into town and check-in to a backpacker’s hostel – real beds here we come!!! Our plan is to stay in Livingstone for another day or so before continuing on with the next leg of our trip.

The Skip-Bo World Tour-Nament of Champions – Update #3

Well Skip-Bo fans… the third quarter of the Skip-Bo World Tour-Nament of Champions has been full of surprises.

To start, Egypt was the host country for the first ever “Intergenerational Exhibition Tournament”.

Four skilled contestants battled through 16 days of intense Skip-Bo competition for the chance to win two grand prizes of an “Australian Beer Cozy”, graciously donated by Jodie & Gus from Australia.

In the end, the standings were as follows:

Robyn – 7 games
Eric – 6 games
Joan – 2 games
David – 2 games

When the “I.E.T.” ended, the “S.B.W.T.o.C.” resumed and for the past 2 ½ months, Robyn has maintained her lead through a deadly combination of brains, skill and good luck. But despite this deadly tri-fecta, Eric has been able to shrink her lead bit-by-bit.

Therefore, as of July 1, 2010, the score is now:

Robyn – 122 games
Eric – 119 games

From now on, the competition is only going to get even more intense. With only 3 months left in the tournament, who knows what will happen?

Will Robyn maintain her dominance?

Or will Eric continue the fight and come through in the clutch?

Both competitors are skilled!

Both competitors are fierce!!

Both competitors are determined!!!

The deciding factor now is WHO WANTS IT MORE!!!

Stay tuned!

Days 269 & 270 – Botswana to Zambia

July 1 & 2, 2010 – Kasane, Botswana to Livingstone, Zambia

Tour Days 8 & 9 – Livingstone

Cross the Zambezi River by ferry to enter into Zambia and continue to Livingstone. We will spend the last two days of our tour here, a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (and wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with the Victoria Falls in view.

Hooray - today is a sleep-in day!!! Eric and I have opted out of the optional morning game drive in Chobe NP… we don’t want to run the risk of getting game-drived-out because we still have a few more parks to see during our African adventures.

Unfortunately our sleep-in lasts until 7:00am – bummer – but it’s still a lazy morning, complete with a good ol’ fashion breakfast fry-up when the game drivers return – hooray!!!

The border crossing into Zambia is pretty uneventful, especially since we manage to skip the ferry queue… our driver Riaan pays the toll operator an “administration fee” and suddenly we’re at the front of the line! Charlene then takes care of obtaining all of our visas for us, so we’re through customs in record time!

Eric and I are really looking forward to seeing Victoria Falls and our excitement builds when we enter Livingstone – we can see the spray from the falls off in the horizon. Apparently they’re roaring with water right now because of the large amount of rainfall this year.

For the next couple of days we are on our own. There’s lots of adrenaline, cuddly-animal and feel-good activities to participate in, but Eric and I are just happy to be in one place for a while.

We spend the rest of the arrival day playing Skip-Bo, going for a walk, making dinner – it’s no longer included in the tour – and hanging out with the Wisconsin Sisters.

Our first full free day, Eric and I are joined by Connie from Jersey Island – south of England – for a morning of exploring Victoria Falls.

It is breath-taking.

The three of us time our viewing very well and manage to keep ourselves relatively dry from the spray.

The morning starts off a bit cloudy, but by the time we’re wrapping up our visit, the blue sky is popping out from behind the clouds.

Niagara Falls back home is amazing too, but it’s lovely to see a waterfall of this magnitude in a relatively natural setting… there isn’t a neon sign for miles.

There are however souvenir salesmen in abundance and the three of us have some fun bargaining for deals in the market.

Tonight also happens to be the last night of the tour, so we all meet up for one more group dinner and finish off the evening reliving the day’s events.

Day 268 – Botswana

June 30, 2010 – Gweta to Kasane, Botswana

Tour Day 7 – Chobe River

Today we journey to the area of Chobe National Park, home to the largest elephant population in Southern Africa. The best way to appreciate one of Botswana's national parks and its thousands of resident elephants, crocodiles, and hippos, is on an optional sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River. You may also choose to embark on a game drive in search of lions, antelope, and of course elephants.

We arrive in Kasane around noon where we have time for a bit of shopping before heading to our camp for the night. We lounge around the site for a couple hours – reading, chatting, etc. – before we board a pontoon boat which takes us on a sunset cruise of Chobe National Park.

By this point in our trip we’re getting pretty familiar with “going on safari”, so it’s a fresh change to be experiencing game viewing from the river. From our boat, we’re able to get our “hippo fill”…

Our “elephant fill”…

Our “crocodile fill”…

And our African buffalo fill.

Oh and of course, our sunset fill.

It’s all very satisfying.

The other highlight for Eric is that he’s taught how to make Australian damper by Jean, the lone Australian in our group. “Damper” is bread traditionally made by the Aborigines of Australia. It’s very biscuit-like and is baked on the open coals of the campfire. Unfortunately he has to contend with 20 backseat-bakers as we all sit around the fire watching Eric cook the bread on the way-too-hot coals, but in the end it turns out pretty-good for a first time effort!

Eric’s already trying to figure out how to make damper on the BBQ back home.