It’s simple really. When you go to town you stock up. I found myself buying things I wouldn’t normally even buy, but you can’t get anything when you are out in the sticks, so you buy it just to have it.
Needless to say our weekend was also starting…
3 Liters of Spot On vodka for mixing, Amarula, Kahlua, a case of liter Black Label beers Mmmm, a bottle of Smirnoff Storm, and what is left of my case of Windhoek Lager. And of course some nice fruit juices.
Now I know what you’re thinking… Only ONE case of Black Label beer!? Hahaha… No but all joking aside I was able to get my hands on some super cheap really good pineapples (3 for R10, which is like $1 US right now) and they are my favorite. I already have fresh oranges, bananas and apples so I’m eating healthy as well. Balance is key haha.
I also managed to get my hands on some powedered permethrin which you can mix with water to make gallons and gallons of the solution to keep bugs of all kinds away and even kill them (sorry I mean liters and liters, I have to keep thinking metric now!). This will be like liquid gold for me out here in tick territory. I must thank my Great Uncle for giving me this awesome information as always. I’ll field test this stuff this week and let you guys know what I think. I’m planning on spraying a bunch around my building and also on my clothes. This should help keep the creepy crawlies out of my bedroom as well hopefully.
After all, I saw this just the other day in the garage…. Heeeere spidey-spidey-spidey!
Check out the hairs on this guy!
I apologize to the ladies for that one haha. But if you can bear it click on the image to get the big version. This is a serious spider! To give you some reference, this guy was about the diameter of a standard soda pop can. Certainly nothing I would want to mess with either way…
To end this on a lighter note, after that big scare I just gave some of you, the South African sun is setting on me once again and this is what I get to enjoy every bit of in the evenings…
So raise your glasses or whatever you have nearby and please have one for me, because I promise you I am having one for you tonight. I am off to the brai!
PS Just a side note, we don’t really have a weekend. We go 7 days a week but we still usually treat Friday and Saturday nights as if we we’re “off work”.
This one is just a quickie since I don’t have time to write up a full post and put up all the great photos that I am stacking up on but I have to give you guys a little something and also just let you all know that I am doing well and in good health. Although my body is adjusting to all the new pollen and dust out here so my allergies are going crazy. But they are slowly getting better as well.
I’m off to go bird hunting in about 6 hours with the clients from the UK we have right now. They are really cool people and we are all already pretty buddy-buddy after only spending about 4.5 days together. Great bunch of fellows. There is so SOOOO much to talk about but as always, I MUST get to bed because I am so behind on sleep and I get worked like a dog every single day hahaha. Much love for all my friends and family. Here are SOME pictures, please place a towel over your keyboards before you look. I’d hate to be responsible for shorting out any of your keyboards from the drooling that may occur =)
PS there is is a small story behind the tractor pic that I am hoping to tell one day. Nothing too crazy but it’s more than just me standing by a blooming tractor I promise you haha.
Well once again the trip took forever and yet somehow screamed by. It started with goodbyes at LAX around 2pm May 9th. I was surprised how relaxed getting rifles through LAX was. They didnt even confirm my serial numbers or examine by hand each rifle… surprising… Oh well, either way I removed the bolts to cool off any hot-heads in the TSA I may come across as well as for when they arrived in South Africa. Even if there were cartridges loaded in magazine, with the bolt removed there is just NO way a bullet can be fired from the rifle.
My five and one half hour flight to New York wasn’t too bad really. We passed a big lightning storm while on the East Coast somewhere, I just caught a glimpse of a bolt as someone lowered their window shade. It made for a few bumps but nothing spectacular. I still give my thanks to the nice steward from Delta who kept me nourished with a bounty of peanuts, pretzles and cookies haha! Oh and plenty of apple juices to wash it all down! I was in a rush to make that flight so I didn’t have time for a proper meal. In fact, I was 20 minutes late for my boarding but fortunately the plane wasn’t scheduled to leave for another 20 minutes so there was no problem. But had I given in to my bothersome stomach, I might have been late. I always look at the first leg of the trip to Africa as a good preparation for the usual 14-16 hour flight that follows. I just tell myself, “If I think this is long, well then I’m screwed for the next flight so I better get along with it!”
So we landed in JFK just fine, it was actually one of the smoothest landings I have ever had in a large aircraft and I complimented the pilot on my way out. So off I was to the baggage claim for my regular luggage (I was also forced to check in my small carry on roller bag because the flight ran out of overhead room). I got there fast and was just a few meters (I have to start thinking in metric terms now, all they use is the metric system out here!) down from where the luggage slides down and onto the conveyor belt. My baggage was unloaded amongst the first set of bags, small carry on, “Great!” I thought to myself and I snatched it off the belt and waited for the next one. Rifle case, “Awesome, there’s another…. wait wait WHAT!???!” What the hell was my rifle case doing coming off of the regular conveyor belt??? I thought I was supposed to have to pick it up at the oversized baggage office and give nothing short of a blood sample and 50 other forms of identification first? Well, I wasn’t going to leave it there, and I wasn’t going to ask for trouble so I quickly snagged that one up as well. About another minute or two passed and there was my final large roller bag. I looked over both shoulders and no one had tackled me just yet so I figured I better split before something goes aray.
After that it was a lovely 8.5 hours of torture in the more than lacking airport chairs at JFK. No matter which position I layed in my neck or back would ache or my leg or foot would take a cat-nap. So I did my best to straddle all my luggage pieces with an arm or leg or something while I tried to catch some shut-eye. I may have gotten around 2 hours of very broken and disturbed sleep on my flight from LAX and I previously stayed up all night to finish packing and loading my 458 Lott rounds. I was plum exhausted…
Finally it was nearing my flight time so I headed up to the fourth floor, struggling with all of my luggage. Now I was expecting the New York TSA to be (excuse me if you’re a New Yorker, I know you’re not all like this) somewhat jerks and this proved to be true. The cop that checked my rifles was a little short with me at first but then after he heard I was going out to Africa and that the rifles were for hunting he perked up nicely. His eyes widened and he began to ask me which kinds of animals I will be taking with the rifles and so on. He was quite interested and the rest of my businesss with him was quite pleasant after that. It just goes to show not everyone hates hunters, even a New York cop can take a liking to you. Now if I can just work on the liberals in my home state of California haha!
So that part went well, but that was just the first step. The next was actually going through TSA. Now you all know how they require you to take off your shoes belts and essentially strip down to nothing. Well I had my massive laced up hunting boots on, my belt, and pieces of metal (pens coins etc) all over my body. I also had a laptop which has to be in its own separate bin when you put it through the machine and so on… Well of course the TSA girl got pissy with me for taking so long and I just told her “You guys are the ones who want us to take off our shoes and belts and separate our laptops and everything, so it’s going to take me a minute to do what you guys make us do.” Well thank God that shut her up but now they were mad at me. So they tried to put me in the microwave machine and I told her no I didn’t want to. So they started screaming “OPT OUT, OPT OUT, WE’VE got an OPT OUT HERE!” And they weren’t even saying it to eachother as much as they just seemed to be yelling it to everyone that was waiting in line. I was like what the heck? It’s like they try to embarass you so that you don’t ask to opt out. Very strange, but ultimately I didn’t care, let them act like fools. So after telling the guy to keep his hands off my “Hoo-Hoo” and out of my “Crack” he went on about his business. And I won’t get all into this but I will say one thing. Since when was I a suspected criminal in need of a guy running his hands over the entire surface of my body???
Alright so with all that behind me I waited for my flight. It went well. We had a great tail wind and we arrived 45 mins early for a total of just over 14 hours. The food was ok, but I did have a Scotch Double in honor of my Great Uncle. J&B is what they had, and that was just fine. For anyone that is considering flying South African Airways, well… They aren’t as good as some airlines, but then again they were a direct flight from the East Coast straight to Joberg for a good price, so I can’t complain too much.
Just a quick update. I am finally on the farm property in Vryheid, Natal. Things are going well but my throat is trying to get sore… blah!
I wanted everyone to know that the internet is available out here but is definitely limited during normal hours. From midnight till 6am it is free and unlimited. So I will have to try to figure out how to post & upload everything then.
The most important thing is that I want everyone to understand that I already have several stories typed and lots of photos and pictures to go with them. So please have faith and be patient, I am doing the best I can with what I have and there will be plenty more to come. The stories will be slightly old but they will still be posted in chronological order. I would put them all up right now but it would use too much data for the daily allowance of the satellite internet.
Thanks and I hope you all enjoy what is to come.
Oh, interesting side note. We were driving on a highway yesterday coming home from Limpopo and there was a decent sized Black Mamba crossing the road (about 7 feet). It was quite a site and I sure hope to never see one of those out in the bush! Stone cold dead in 20 minutes or less… Ouch!
And as exciting as this all is it is still a bit lonely as I thought it would be. So as always comments and emails are always appreciated and nice to read when I have some down time =)
Getting everything moved into storage was an enormous undertaking and I couldn’t have done it without my family’s help. It’s amazing how much “crap” one has but you never realize this until you have to organize and pack it all piece by piece. And being that I had many heavier boxes & items it was going to be pretty tough to just rely on the free pickup truck usage that came with my storage unit.
My mom said we needed a Uhaul rental truck because it has a nice ramp you can pull out and walk the boxes up instead of having to jump up into the back of a pickup truck every time. I thought about it for a few seconds and realized she was right. So we called up the local rental location which was a small one, they only had about 3 trucks. Out of those 3 trucks one of them was the small size that I was interested in.
We pulled up and went inside and did the paperwork, afterwards he walked us out and pointed out which one was ours. “That’s the one, right over there.” He said. My jaw nearly dropped off my face and shattered on the ground. Take a look for yourself and see what was on the truck.
Now I don’t care if you are religious, agnostic, superstitious, only believe in fortune cookies or what, but I think it is impossible for anyone to deny that at the very least, this was a incredible coincidence. These trucks have hundreds of different designs on them and for this truck to be the size I wanted at my local location… Well I can’t believe this is anything short of an absolute sign this is meant to be. I knew all along in my gut that I was supposed to go to Africa, and this was just one great big confirmation for me. I’ll take this over a crusty fortune cookie any day!
My friend Clyde, who just so happens to be an awesome guy secured my rifle Friday morning (May 3rd, 2013). I was so excited to hear from him because I knew what a phone call from him most likely meant… IT came in. My lifeline. Sure enough after a few pleasantries, in my excitement I asked “So how does it look? Does it look ok?” Clyde responded, “Ya, it’s a fine looking gun… but I didn’t know you ordered a pink stock on it?”
I cringed and doubled over for about 1 second… then I realized, he’s a pretty humorous fella and was just messing with me (of course he was, which manufacturer produces dangerous game safari rifles with a pink stock? DUH! Hahaha!). I was just too high strung. And so I laughed it off about one second later, absolutely cracked me up. I was so happy to hear my bread and butter FINALLY came in, and that I was going to have it for my trip after all. Many thanks Clyde! And also many many thanks to Jason Morton and Kipp Oertle at CZ in Kansas City! You guys totally delivered even on such short notice and I am extremely grateful.
So here we were today, I went out with my Great Uncle, Dad and friends to the range as usual and shot some skeet. I did three rounds and scored 22, 23(doubles) and the last a straight. What a way to end it! I was so happy because my dad doesn’t come out too often and so he finally got to see me shoot a straight this morning.
Then we went down to the rifle range to test out my new loads with my new CZ 550 Safari Magnum American in 458 Lott and a kevlar synthetic stock. With a load of 82 grains of Benchmark (thank you Tom ol’ buddy), a 450 grain Barnes TSX bullet, Hornady brass and a Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primer we had great results. Average FPS was about 2400. Accuracy was good, (target was set at 30 yards) but I think I could use a little more practice with the gun to get my point of impact where I want it (My shots tended to go to the left a few inches). All in all for seven shots, I think it and I did just fine for open sights and free standing/using shooting sticks. I sure wouldn’t want to be a Cape Buffalo down-range, lets put it that way ::winks::
Also, thank you to my good buddy George for the photos below:
And please check out the HD video below as well (thanks Dad for filming!):
Some people say it kicks like a mule, and I say the power behind that kick is pure confidence for my being. For the time may come that I need that powerful stopper more than anything…
Ok so I went to Verizon today and got some shifty and super shady Indian guy to “help” me. (Nothing against Indian fellows, truly this guy was shady I tell you!!!) Anyways, I could never get a straight answer out of him when it came to charges and fees, he kept changing his story and switching things up on me. Hell I practically had to beat the answers outta the guy! He wouldn’t even print me out or give me a sheet that gave me the plans details on it, or a breakdown of charges/fees. Finally after I continued to be persistent with my detail oriented questions I found out what I would ACTUALLY be paying. Well lemme tell you, it aint peanuts, and I aint no pachyderm.
Long story short, I’m not getting a mobile hotspot device/satellite card here in America. I’m looking into options over there and as a last resort I’m really hoping my PH has some decent connection I can leech off of .
If there’s one thing preparing for this whole trip has taught me, it’s to take a step back, take a deep breath and flooooooow with it. *siiigh*
I need more.
I cannot begin to share with you how much there is to still do and finalize. I am doing the best I can and completing so, so much everyday, but I am a pinch short from what I wish I could have. I am a logical man, and I can reasonably determine how much time I need for the tasks at hand and I will have to make some sacrifices.
**Once again, be sure to click to enlarge. Then click on the photo to continue cycling through to the next enlarged photo. The panorama image is too wide and is having problems so you cannot enlarge that at this time unfortunately.
This is a good view of what the landscape looked like in Namibia.