It’s My Birthday

When we went to breakfast this morning, we were gathered around like hungry vultures, waiting for the chow to set out. Suddenly, Vicky let out a little gasp and came over and said “Happy Birthday”. Everyone then fell into line to do the same. It was a pleasant surprise. After breakfast, we climbed the truck once again to be transported to the pier for our speedboat ride through the Delta to meet up with John and our own truck once again. We assembled into two groups on two boats, but before we took off, Bruce initiated a chorus of “Happy Birthday” with everyone joining in the singing. I have not had this much attention for my birthday in too many years to think about. The speed boat ride was amazing. We stopped to watch a crocodile on the shore. The variety of birds flashed from the reeds and perched in trees was like being in an aviary. The ride was one and a half hours long and how the boatman could remember the route through this waterway of highways and byways of reeds was astonishing. When we reached the shore again, we were thrilled to see John and the Six Pack. Within minute of driving, we were again at the Botswana border and had to go through immigration again and enter Namibia to drive the Caprivi Pass. The Caprivi is a narrow strip of land in the far northeast of Namibia, about 400 kilometers long. Germany exchanged the area – together with Helgoland – with the United Kingdom for Zanzibar in 1890. It was named after the German chancellor of the time, Graf von Caprivi, who signed the contract with the British. The tarred Caprivi Highway was built to replace the corrugated dirt road, which was hardly passable during the rainy season. At the Namibian Passport Control, the female officer looked at my passport picture and then at me, then doing a second look at both. She asked “What happened to your hair since this photo was taken?” In my picture, my hair was still dark. I responded with “Age!” She then noticed it was my birthday and wished me a happy one. That was an unexpected special touch. We had a few more hours drive with a stop at a small market with filthy bathrooms to pick up snacks and beer. After a few more hours of driving, we stopped at a larger supermarket. It was incredibly busy, as if things were being given away. It was interesting how many second glances we received from the locals. Minutes later, we were at our lodge. It is lovely and right on the river. Bruce gave me a bottle of champagne left over from New Years for my birthday. We planned to open it at dinner. This was another place were there were hippo and crocodile warnings. I had forgotten the champagne in the truck, so we never did drink it. The group wished me a Happy Birthday once again and gave me a card. How they all signed it without my knowing it is a mystery.