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24 hours.

all seasons in one day
View African Adventure on AnnaBrad's travel map.

I want to start off by saying how proud I am of myself. I was able to get out of bed at 2.37am for the final morning in Perth. Not only that, I was able to have a shower, get dressed AND pack my hand luggage all before a cup of coffee. Its not very often I'm able to do this on a normal day, so I have to congratulate myself on this (it's all about the small things in life).

Good byes (or hello's) aren't my forte, so my parents got a quick hug, a smile and a 'see you in a few months', before I left for the airport.

I should point out that even at this point (driving to airport) it still hadn't sunk in that I'm going away. But then again, I'm now surviving on 2 pieces of vegemite toast and 1 cup of tea. I'm hopeful that a wave of emotion would hit me hard, having said that, I've been waitings years for feelings and emotions to develop fully.

Airports has a certain feel about them, especially when you're the one getting on the plane. You walk in with a sense of purpose and importance, especially when you're carrying a back pack that is bigger than you - literally.

Walking through duty free on the other hand is a different story. I walk in with a sense of desperation, my thoughts were basically 'give me all the gin and one chocolate bar and nobody will get hurt.' But, I walked out with nothing. No gin. No chocolate bar. Just a tinge of sadness. Oh well, Africa will be my gin, and India my chocolate bar. That should be absolutely fine.

The plane ride to Dubai went surprisingly well. I had 3 seats to myself, so for the 10hrs and 55mins I changed from aisle seat, to the middle, to the window seat and to all three at once. Pure bliss. It was a pretty empty flight, so I wasn't the only lucky one - but I could sense the woman across from me hated me for my luck #hatersgonnahate

During that flight I realised why I don't mind long plane rides; It reminds me of my (unemployed) life at home. A typical day for me would be getting up, eating, watching tv, eating, napping, watching a movie, eating, sleeping. And that's basically what I did for 10hrs and 55mins. The food was surprisingly delicious, the naps rather comfy, the movies pretty entertaining and the company (myself) well, thats always good. I've never flown Emirates before, but I found the whole experience a great one - the stars on the ceiling when the cabin lights dimmed being the thing that one me over.

The landing into Dubai was an interesting one. The view outside the window was rather unexpected - not necessarily in a good way. Very smoggy and slightly brown looking. Visibility was lacking, which didn't give me the greatest first impression. Walking off the plane I swear the heat hit me hard. But there was no time to stop, look or complain, I had to race to my gate which was a (fun) train ride away to the connecting terminal.

The inside the airport was rather impressive. To describe it in one word, massive. The highest of ceilings I've ever seen in an airport. I wish I had the time to explore the airport and the shops.

Arriving at the gate I felt suddenly very conscious of my age, gender and race. Not in an unsafe or scary way, just in the way that people do stare at you. I guess it's uncommon for woman to be traveling alone in certain countries, especially countries that could be considered dangerous. But being such an avid and independent traveler, I have learn to accept the looks and the comments.

Handing my boarding pass to the air hostess, she responded with 'thank you Miss Bradshaw ... ohh like that woman ... Carrie!' It seems that no matter where I travel people point out my relation to that woman, dammit.

Getting onto the plane I noticed that it was also very empty! I managed to score myself 4 seats free in the middle, so I knew I was in for a comfy plane ride - Another 8hrs full of eating, sleeping and watching movies.

I started off with (surprisingly) a Katie Holmes movie called 'Miss Meadows'. I'm not going to lie, it was weirdly entertaining. The tagline for it was 'she doesn't play well with others' - enough said. Her character has been likened to the homicidal Mary Poppins, which sounds pretty amazing. She is disgustingly sweet and proper, but her and her gun isn't a good mix ....

Food was eaten, naps were had.

The final movie I watched was a Simon Pegg movie called 'Hector and the search for happiness'. I really enjoyed it! It really got me into the traveling mood. Well, expect for the part where he got kidnapped in Africa ... But still really enjoyable. Lessons were learnt, laughs were had, moments were made.

The rest of the plane ride was a blur. I did have to fill out a health form, which they asked if I had any flue like symptoms or if I've had any contact with someone suffering from ebola. My answers may differ when I have to fill out a health form for entering India ...

I was met with my lovely driver named Leonard. He told me many stories and interesting facts. He was even very jealous about the adventure I was going on, especially about the Great White Shark volunteering! For someone surviving on 5 or so hours sleep, I was surprisingly talkative and enthusiastic. Which is something I'll need to be able to bring for surviving the 2 tours with other people!

Eventually I got into my room, which I was lucky enough to have all to myself! Spacious open plan room, with one large couch, a desk, two single beds and a shower - yes you heard me correctly, the shower is located in the room, with no privacy ... will be interesting when I have my guest turn up tomorrow night!

Had a shower, a cuppa and hopped into bed for the first time in over 24hours - it was bloody amazing!

------

Self service breakfast. Yeah, heaven does exist. I ate a little bit more than I normally would, but surviving on plane food meant I needed it! I befriended the chef who told me her life story and gave me her number. Not sure what I'm supposed to do with it, but it was an interesting way to start the day.

Soon after breakfast, I fell in love. With a deer. I've named him Bambi, naturally. He followed me around, stuck his head through the fence to try give me kisses, laid down next to me while I read and let me scratch his head. It was the perfect way to spend my first day.

Bambi is part of a small animal sanctuary they have at the lodge. Other animals include springboks, ducks, geese and ostriches. If you're very lucky, an ostrich will walk up to the fence, look at you, and then start peeing. I was very lucky.

Most of the day I spent skyping and listening to music, all by Bambi side (so very romantic). I am tempted to do a Angelina Jolie and adopted him.

But by 3.30pm I finally made a human friend! She's a lovely girl from Poland named Lidia who is living in London. We ventured to the local supermarket 1.5km away on foot. Was an interesting experience! The supermarket was big. I tried very best to not go crazy, so I just bought the basic - water, crackers, apples, a single roll of toilet paper and a snickers bar. I'm not sure how much I spent due to being very bad with currency and exchange rates, but what you don't know won't kill you... Or something.

Walking back with a shopping bag in one hand, snickers bar in the other. We decided to head into the big city the next morning before our tour begins. We've been advised to travel in packs, or as I prefer to call it, gangs. Having said that, it's probably best I don't join a gang here... Unless it's like Hamish and Andy's 'Gang-a-roo'. But people can get beaten up for having lame gang names like that.

I ordered a Greek Salad for dinner which gets delivered to the reception, such convenience. I need to bulk up on as many vegetables possible, not that Greek salads provide much!

An early night tonight before a big day tomorrow! We meet up with the tour group at 6pm, hopefully there's a few Aussies on board! I'll probably regret saying that, Australians are everywhere!

I'm not sure when I'll be able to post, so you'll all have to wait in anticipation! I'll make sure to have another exciting story to share, but I'm sure that won't be hard! I have a great feeling that Africa will be my favourite place yet! Bambi sure did help though :)

But for now, keep it real.

Bella x

Posted by AnnaBrad 10:37 Archived in South Africa

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