Day 208 – Happy 60th Gren

Convicts...Today was a double celebration – Gemma’s dad’s 60th birthday and (our first ever celebration of…) Australia Day. There’s a sizable Aussie contingent on our truck and they had plans to dress up in green and gold, so we entered into the spirit of things by kitting ourselves out in convict uniforms, complete wih ball and chain and hats with corks. We got a few stares at the border crossing into Zimbabwe but weren’t (re)-arrested.

The border crossing was a little painful – and all unnecessarily. The official (who looked half asleep) was stamping our visas with the wrong date, which meant the majority of us entered Zim yesterday! But also he forgot to give us our receipts for paying for the visas so when we came to the next barrier, we were not allowed to cross for a while as we had to sort out which receipt went with which visa and passport. All one big merry waste of time.

Once the perlava was all over with we had a short drive into the town of Victoria Falls, home to the famous waterfalls of the same name and where we were going to spend the next 3 days. Not letting the costume get in the way of duties!So to keep us entertained and for Africa Travel Co. to make more money out of us we were dropped at their local office so we could book the excursions like rafting or a helicopter flight over the falls with them.

After the ‘snags’ (deep-fried by our African cook) in a bun with fried onions and beetroot lunch had been consumed the boys – Andrew (OZ), Dave (OZ), Paul (UK) and Ed all got a taxi to the local golf course for the ‘Ashes of Golf’. Labour is cheap here and our green fee included a caddy each which was very welcome in the African sunshine. We set about the course with our minds partly on winning but also on survival given the crocs, snakes, warthogs and other animals that invade the fairways. Unlike the other Ashes, England came out winners in this particular event. And quite a convincing victory it was too. Later on we saw someone cutting thick grass by swinging a machete through it and Paul remarked that is was as if he was practicing to become an Australian’s caddy.

In the evening we all forked out $20pp for an all-you-can-eat buffet (drinks not included) Sorting out our recipts for the visas at the boarder!and it was just one very large rip off – because tourists have money so they can charge silly prices for mediocre stuff. This did not deter us from the celebrations and so we moved on to a popular travellers’ haunt, which led on to a more local nightclub, ‘Croc Rocs’ where
a few of those still standing danced to some live African tunes. In ‘Croc Rocs’ we realised we were dancing with the border official from this morning, looking decidely more awake now.

Ed left Gemma and the girls dancing and waited up for them, passing time chatting to a security guard. This included a fascinating conversation with him asking about something that he has heard people talk about but which he has never seen – snow! For example he was asking whether it snows inside people’s houses and what it feels like to touch. A plan was hatched which involved the guard scaring
Gemma when she got back at 3am firstly by knowing her name and secondly by telling her that she had a message waiting in reception, where Ed was waiting.

Finally, today was also the first time that we have been called Ged and Emma, as is written on our wedding weekend mugs.

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