Part VI: January 7, 2009

For the first time in 6 years I didn’t hate today- this day that I used to black out from my calendar, wanting to forever deny its existence.  It was the first time in as long that I didn’t even think about what today was and how it altered my life.  And while my peers were marrying and procreating, I was in the wilderness barely holding it together.  Six years ago today, I was in an industrial parking lot screaming and exiting my body in shock- begging, pleading and repeatedly telephoning my little sister and telling her to call me back. Continue reading

Part V: Sun City- The Party Van. Or the One Where I Intentionally Hitchhiked

I couldn’t walk any further, I was done.  My feet ached and I was exhausted and sunburned. I was lion bait. We couldn’t find the bus that returned the day visitors from Sun City to the parking lot. We took the sky tram up, but now it was closed. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything because Lauren and Regan seemed excited to walk. I’ve hiked down rocky mountains in bare feet due to blisters, I’ve backpacked on the continental divide.  I could swing this.  I threw some dirt on it, sucked it up and lagged behind, silently cursing my shoe choice. Continue reading

Part IV: Sun City. Or the One Where I Accidentally Trespassed

The Park

While I was in Pilanesberg, I spent a day in  Sun City.  Our ultimate destination was the Valley of the Waves. Lauren, Regan, and I spent a lot of time in the wave pool. I laughed when they told me the South African Sun was very unforgiving.  I live in Denver- a mile-high desert. I’ve survived Water World before sunscreen was really a thing. How much more unforgiving could the South African sun be?  I slopped on sunblock 3 times, wore a ball cap, sat in the shade, and finally purchased a sarong to cover my shoulders. I still got sunburned. South African sun is serious business. Continue reading

Part III: Manyane Resort

Life in the Chalet

In Pilanesberg we stayed in a Chalet at Manyane resort.  The Chalet slept eight and was pretty cozy- two bedrooms, a loft, a living room/kitchen with a sleeper sofa and two bathrooms. There were six of us.    I met Regan’s family for the first time and would be staying with them.  Thank god I loved them.  They were loud, irreverant, had no boundaries, light-hearted, and very sweet.  They immediately adopted me as one of their own.  They said I was pretty quiet during this part of the trip, but, I’m claiming jet lag. Continue reading

Part II: Lost in Translation

The morning started out exciting- because I was in a completely different country, albeit less exciting than the lion chase.  I knew we were going to Pilanesberg National Park, but I had no idea what we would be doing or what to expect.  I asked Regan for help. Continue reading

Part I: Pilanesberg National Park- The Chase

 January 3, 2009.

Our jeep veered right and tipped. We were half off-road, driving through the bush in Pilanesberg National Park. It was nearly pitch black out, the sky indigo fading to black. Bushes scraped metal and everyone on the right pulled in and ducked before the thorny branches from the acacias hit them. Our driver steered back onto the road and glared at the other jeep who forced us into the bush. We sped up and kept pace with another jeep run by the national park-our ally against the 3 private tour company jeeps who were very aggressive. Continue reading

Preface: My Epic Adventure to South Africa in 2009

January 2, 2009.

I’m not sure how else to write about my trip to South Africa, except by starting at the beginning. I’ll have to delay my stories about safari jeep wars, chasing lions, hitch hiking, and coasting alongside leopards, for now. Continue reading