Sunday May 20- On the road again, I just can't wait to get on the road again...

Super exciting blog post coming your way now!

Kidding, but I'll still do my best to entertain.

So, after our slumber party with Celine, it was again time for an early wake up.  Our bus was arriving in Victoria Falls around 8 am but we needed to be at the location 30 minutes before to secure our seats and battle the line.  Up and ready to roll around 6:30, Alex and I made ourselves presentable (for who?  I still don't know the answer to that question) and packaged up our luggage, which had doubled in size from the previous day of shopping.  Good thing I brought a full sized suitcase for myself for 5 days...

We called ourselves a taxi, and said our farewells to Celine who was also packing her things up over the next few days and would be making her way to Madrid for 6 weeks. Our taxi took up on a crazy ride, and we had our first ride in several weeks in an automatic vehicle (although this did little to help with the African Massage aspect of the ride).

We arrived at our hotel to find chaos.  It seems that whenever someone wants a bus ticket in Zimbabwe, they buy it the morning they need it.  Needless to say, there were tons of people pushing and shoving their way up to the lady we needed to check in with.  We eventually checked in and waited for the coach to arrive.

When the bus showed up, everyone stampeded towards the vehicle to strategically place their luggage in a location that was both convenient to retrieve and the least likely to get crushed.  Not wanting to be crushed ourselves in the stampede, Alex and I waited and had our luggage tucked away into some corner and lost sight of it.

Just to put our road trip into perspective: Find Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare
We boarded our bus for our first leg of the journey which was from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo.  The ride was going to be a few hours, with a few stops on the way to let people get off and for others to take break and stretch their legs.

The first leg of the journey passed surprising quickly, due in large part to the absence of the two middle aged women who accompanied us on our way to Victoria Falls.

Here's a tip for you wishing to travel:  If you get stuck with two lovely ladies who like to tell you over and over again about how hot it is (really?  I would have never guessed that during the middle of the day in Africa, in a vehicle without air conditioning with 10 other people, that it could get hot), that their backs hurt, and that they would like to talk to the police because they feel they have a better handle on speaking the native language and can get us out of a check stop faster than our guide (right, your German and/or American and that always means you can speak Shona), BUY YOUR OWN BUS TICKET.  Best $50 USD I ever spent.  Air conditioning, food, movies, music, comfy seats, etc.  Just do it.

We arrived at Bulawayo and got of our double decker bus and brought our luggage into the bus depot.  We convinced some kind lady behind the desk to watch our luggage and we went on our merry way for lunch.  Being on our own for the first time, in a large city, in a foreign country was intimidating, but we wandered aimlessly until we arrived at the McDonald's of Africa, Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Bakery Inn and Creamery Inn.  These "Inn's" are literally on every corner, and have cheap food which is pretty good (best pizza I had in Africa... aka the only pizza I had in Africa).

We bought our quota of food and wandered back to the bus depot and found our bus waiting.  We found or luggage again, which thankfully had not moved since we had abandoned it in the first place, and went to load our luggage again.  We found our new seats and enjoyed our lunch, and took off on our next leg of the journey which was from Bulawayo to Harare, with a stop in Gweru for passengers, like ourselves, to get off.  Our final leg of the journey was another 4 hours and so I settled in and had a little cat nap in the only air conditioning I would encounter for the rest of my stay in Africa.

We eventually arrived in Gweru, and spent far too long looking for our luggage- so long, that I had almost given up hope and was going to just move on without it.  Alex and I were standing in the familiar parking lot of a Chicken Inn in Gweru, which was the same parking lot we had originally arrived in on our first day.  We had no idea who was picking us up, what they were driving or when they would show up.  Next thing we know, Jealous showed up.

In case I forgot to introduce Jealous to the story, Jealous is a legend (or so that is how we were introduced to him).  He is staff at Antelope Park and used to be a lion handler and has gradually made his way up the ranks.  While Dan was gone for a bit and doing whatever he does in Victoria Falls (hence the reason we ran into him more than once at Shoestrings in Victoria Falls), Jealous was brought in to be the Volunteer Coordinator and replace Dan for the time being.  Jealous, who was terribly shy at the beginning meshed well with all the volunteers because he was so soft spoken, didn't give anyone shitty jobs and was just all around an awesome person.  We had been told that Jealous was a sweet guy and that he was often a push over, and he lived up to this but he was just so nice and sweet, there was never a time in my mind where I thought "Hey Justine, you could totally get out of your duties today because you know Jealous won't say no!".

Anywho, Jealous shows up and greeted us both with huge hugs.  He was the most welcome sight ever and I didn't realize how much I had missed Antelope Park until he showed up.

We packed our luggage into his compact vehicle and went to the market to get some food for camp, and made our way back to camp.

After an Africa Massage on the way in, we pulled in front of our volunteer accommodations and Jealous sad "Welcome Home".

I don't think I have ever been so happy to hear those words and the best part of it was, Antelope Park felt like home.  I had only been there for a week before I took off for Victoria Falls, and although  missed it while I was gone, I didn't realize HOW MUCH I actually missed it.  I missed my lions, and the handlers, the staff and the other volunteers and to be welcomed back to the place that was currently (and forever will be) home to me, was just awesome.

See? Jealous is a legend.

We arrived at camp to meet some sleepy volunteers.  Since it was a Sunday, regular duties were not applicable and a lot of the volunteers either had spent the day sleeping to catch up on lost sleep or working on their tan.  After saying our own lazy hellos, we had a quick dinner and called it a night early so that we too could catch up on sleep and be ready to play with our pet lions the next day.

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