There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

16 July 2014

Batoka Sky

The buzzing sound could be heard, but I couldn't find the source. My first thought was ; it is a drone, how sad and American is that?

As quickly as it came though, it was gone. Morning and evening the sound would return. After much investigation I came to discover that I was underneath the flight path of Batoka Sky micro flights over Victoria Falls.

Micro flight what???? I just had to try this, it sounded awesome. Rising before the sun the next morning, P and I walked a short distance to get ready....

Suited up in our flight gear, I was the first one to go. To me, the Micro Flight is a go-cart with wings. My pilot was a friendly Zambian chap named Pascal. After we went over the basic safety features ( keep your seat belt on, don't make sudden movements, etc....) we were rolling down the dirt runway.
As the craft separated from the ground, my heart pounded in my chest and adrenaline was freely flowing. It was unlike any airplane lift off I've experienced.

We were floating in the heavens.
As Victoria Falls grew closer, I realized how close we were as the mist started to lightly pelt my face, the roar of the water going over the edge was gleefully deafening. My smile could not be eradicated.
After circling through the mist, Pascal took us down in elevation as we made our way up the Zambezi river. I thought we were heading back, but instead he surprised me...

"Can you see them?"
I looked and for a moment saw only the Zambian landscape, but then things started moving. Elephants, Cape water buffalo, and hippos were seemingly appearing from everywhere. I was surprised at how camouflaged they were, blending in perfectly with their environment.

As we came in for landing, I thanked Pascal and looked to the sky for P. I was curious to see how she liked it, as motion sickness can get the best of her.

I few moments later she landed, and ran up to me shouting...

 "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!"

Yeah, we liked it.

15 July 2014

Mkuru Kwa Ruben

When BCK first visited this place, I mistakenly called the area Dandora. The industrial slum area of Nairobi is actually referred to as Mkuru Kwa Ruben. The feeling though has not really changed since we first saw it in 2012, it's overwhelmingly eye opening, sad and full of desperation.
For safety's sake and out of respect to the people that live in this area, I kept my camera hidden inside our vehicle. I did not want to appear unsympathetic to their plight by just snapping pictures of such horrid living conditions. I did feel it important though that the world see the trash piles of Mkuru Kwa Ruben, and the people living here.

In the midst of all of this, Jovial Community Learning Centre still stands, still teaches, still smiles and moves forward in a situation that most would have given up on long ago.
Build.Create.Kenya has been visiting this school since 2012, bringing supplies and hope to the students and teachers here. As we arrived, we were overjoyed to see some of the students wearing the Falcon Creek t-shirts donated last year by my co-team leader, Pauline.

George, the headmaster of the school, has been working diligently to make improvements to Jovial. He found another organization to build a sturdy toilet facility for the school, replacing the tin sheets they were using before. Stronger walls were visible as well. It was a testament in persistence to obtain what one needs.

After hearing songs of joy and even some poetry by the Jovial students, it was time to say goodbye. BCK hopes that one day we can do more for this school, as their classrooms are in desperate needs of stone walls to replace the tin sheets and wood currently being used.

Would you like to donate for this project?

13 July 2014

Friday Harbor

The town of Friday harbor was perfectly unassuming as the boat pulls into the dock. A marina full of fishing vessels gently rocking in the waters of midday.
The town was just up the hill, no neon signs of fancy, nor fast food chain restaurants are found here. Instead are the storefronts of the local townspeople. Friday Harbor is a place that is self sustained upon the hard work of it's inhabitants.
Generations have ventured out to the sea all day, hard working fishermen. I fantasize in becoming part of this hard life, cut off on this island, left to my own devices.
One day, perhaps.

12 July 2014

Helicoptering over a Natural wonder

It's been a few weeks since I went on my first ever helicopter ride. That was thrilling enough in it's own rite, but when you couple it with a ride over Zambia's wild countryside, amazing views of Victoria Falls, and diving and dashing over class five rapids of the Zambezi river, well.....
You feel as light as a feather upon the wind as the helicopter rises into the air with ease. The speed and motion as you see your shadow glide upon the earth mesmerizes all my senses. I see the world in a whole new light of brilliance.
Victoria Falls opens up new avenues of wonder as you truly see the power of water from above, carving stone over several millenia to form the site before us. It takes my breath away and humbles me like never before.
The gorge that is formed from the singular Zambezi river beyond the falls is equally impressive in it's crisscrossing z pattern along the Zambia countryside. A rocky African snake making it's way through South Africa to the mighty ocean.
Just as I thought our pilot would be ending this adventure, he quickly dives the helicopter to the left and sharply flies right into the Gorge. Next thing we know, mighty river rapids are forming before us as we glide over them, seemingly river rafting the Zambezi in our helicopter. You can imagine great hippo and crocodiles just underneath the waves. It was a thrill that will not soon leave my memories.
Thank you to my friends Jane and Laurie for sharing this unforgettable experience with me.

11 July 2014

Bob Weir & Ratdog

It's hard for me to recall what stopped me from going to The Grateful Dead show here in the SLC back in the early 90's. Probably a girl, or perhaps my own reluctance at that time to see a concert solo.

Sadly, it was one of the last shows Jerry did before his death. Nowadays things are different though, and with Bob Weir and Ratdog being the headliner for my first Red Butte concert of the summer, I was more than ready to get my jam on.
Deadheads today are as loyal to Bob Weir as they have been since the 1960's. Dirtbag hippies flooded every conceivable inch of Red Butte. I had a group of old guys sit by me, that had been seeing the Grateful Dead since the 1970's. I found myself included in a night of revelry, at least as rambunctious that one is when your discussions cover topics such as " two years to retirement...."
Two long sets were on tap for the evening, from a twenty minute "Shakedown Street" opener, to my favorite songs " looks like rain", " Maggie's farm" and "throwing stones" that truly brought out the essential Grateful Dead persona.

Jam On Bobbie. Jam On.