Easter Flowers, Just in Time!

Once again the flowers are blooming!

Just in time for Easter!

Since we never plant flowers, each year we have fewer and fewer.  The crocuses just keep coming however!

Some of them are simply spectacular when you're very close up.

All of them are spectacular, actually!

I don't remember this white one from past years.

But I always know where to find the purple ones!

And the little garden frog also finds springtime delightful!  Happy Easter!


Muchenje Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana

The first three days we spend in Africa won't be in Zambia at all.  Pete is meeting our plane in Lusaka, Zambia, and then we are flying to Chobe National Park in Botswana for a three-day wildlife safari.  We'll be doing the 'Rich American Tourist' thing - even though we're not rich and no doubt everyone will know it in no time!

We'll be staying at the Muchenje Safari Lodge, a luxurious cluster of private cabanas overlooking the massive Chobe River.  All of the photos in this post were taken by guests of the lodge, or by the lodge management.  Isn't is glorious?

There is even a swimming pool overlooking the Chobe River!  I don't know how much use we'll get out of it, since May is the beginning of the colder, winter months south of the equator.  But although the temperatures may drop into the 30-40 degree range at night, the days are still very warm.  Plus it looks like a prime birding spot to me!

All the cabins look to be exquisitely decorated, and all are connected by wooden walkways.  I like that idea.  It would seem to make it less likely you'll step on snakes, scorpions, or spiders by accident.  

All of these wildlife photos were taken by people staying at Muchenje Safari Lodge.  We are going to be there shortly after the rainy season, so we won't see the throngs of animals that congregate at the Chobe riverbank during the dry season.  But I have no doubt we'll see plenty!

 I can almost guarantee that we'll see elephants.  Who doesn't love elephants?

Photos of Chobe National Park - Featured Images

This photo of Chobe National Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I can almost guarantee we'll see crocodiles, too.  Hopefully not quite as close up as this person saw this crocodile.  In any case, I'll have a full report with original pictures to show you when we return.  Imagine it, though . . . Botswana!


I Used to Be Afraid of Africa!

In two months, my whole family will be together again - in Africa.  This trip will be the highlight of my whole life, and yet not too long ago I would have been appalled at the very idea of going anywhere near the place.  It is certainly true that there are things to fear in Zambia.  There are rivers teeming with giant Crocodiles, for instance.  But crocodiles are not the creatures that keep me awake at night.

Of course, Hippos are even more dangerous than crocs.  If our boat were to get rammed and overturned by one of these guys (assuming the crocodiles didn't snatch us up first),  a hippo could bite us in half within seconds.  We'd be goners.  But again, the guides and pilots are extremely skilled, and they know how to avoid such situations.

Man eating lions are uncommon - but once in a great while shit happens. It isn't lions that I fear, however. In fact, we will be walking with lions in Livingstone!

I used to be afraid of Africa because I used to be utterly terrified of snakes, spiders. and scorpions - especially gigantic and deadly snakes  spiders, and scorpions such as those found in Zambia and Botswana.  The venomous Black Mamba pictured above is one of the most dangerous creatures on earth.  You probably noticed that the snake isn't black at all, but that's because it's named after the jet black interior of it's mouth.  If you actually get a glimpse of that black mouth, you are already in deep trouble!

The fat and massively huge Puff Adder is ubiquitous in Zambia and in Botswana, too.  There was a 9-foot specimen sitting under a tourist's lounge chair in the very lodge we'll be staying at just one year ago - with the tourist sitting contentedly in the chair sipping cocktails without a care in the world.  Had he known his butt was inches away from one of the deadliest snakes in Africa, maybe he would have decided against having that cocktail!.

The lure of Africa is haunting me, and the magic that is Africa is much more powerful than any phobia I may have.  If nothing else, I have learned that we can fight against our fears and we can win the fight. Even if the fear lingers, you win by refusing to let it control you.

Think about that for a moment.  So much of our lives are motivated by fears. Most of us are afraid of what other people think about us, for example, so we pretend to be just like everyone else.  In other words, we are afraid of being different, so we are afraid of anyone that is different.  We are afraid of being poor, so we are afraid of poor people.  It's crazy.   Fear makes us hate, too. I don't hate snakes because I think they are ugly; I hate them because I'm afraid of them.

What are you afraid of?



The Nature of Framingham . . . in Africa?

Zambia.  Sometimes known as The Heart of Africa, or The Real Africa. Both are true.  This landlocked nation is indeed in the heart of Africa - some will go so far as to say it is shaped like a heart, in fact!  My son, Pete, has been living in Zambia for over a year.  He is a Peace Corps volunteer - and he LOVES Zambia!

These are some of the kids that Pete has come to know and love in Zambia.  What I would never have predicted a year ago was that we would be seeing Zambia for ourselves very soon.  But it's true: WE ARE GOING TO AFRICA!!

I'll skip over the real and imagined fears that I had to overcome before I would consider visiting Africa.  Pete's joyous raves about everything Zambian went a long way towards calming some of my fears.  His obvious love for the people and the country made it hard to resist.

Over time I realized that Africa was calling me, too.  Africa is the birthplace of all humanity, and I find myself longing to go back home.  For many people, such a sentiment will sound insane coming from the child of Irish immigrants long settled in the USA.  But being adopted has always denied me a place in this world.  I have always wanted roots; ancestors; a family of my own.  And if you go back far enough in time, everyone's ancestors can be found in Africa - including mine!

And oh - the wonders we'll see in Zambia!  Victoria Falls; one of the Seven Wonders of the World!

We'll be staying right next to the falls for a few days!  I've circled the Zambezi Sun Hotel, and we will be right there!

I haven't forgotten my passion for birding, of course!  I hope to see an African Fish Eagle while I'm there.  Look familiar?

I hope t post a lot more about our trip plans and about the magic of Zambia, Africa.  It may seem far from Framingham, but The Nature of Framingham is everywhere!