The rest of the trip was great, albeit a bit muddy. The next day we left early in the morning for Zambia where we stayed at a campsite near Victoria Falls. Not too long after we got there, the bus took us to the falls and we got to go in for free. It was absolutely breathtaking! There was no avoiding getting soaked, though. I brought a poncho but it wasn’t long before I discarded it—it wasn’t helping much. The next day Will and I went back to Victoria Falls and explored a 600-meter downwards hike (it was pretty much vertical on the way up) to what is called the boiling point. It was a fairly secluded spot, but totally awesome to see. We were able to see people bungee jumping off of the bridge overlooking the falls on the Zimbabwe side—I didn’t jump myself this time.
The rest of the day and night we just hung out and saw the Saturday group who arrived that day. On Saturday, I just sat around and swam and then drank with the others once the day was over. We left early on Sunday morning, which was great because the immense amount of rain the night before and that morning completely flooded the campsite. Everything was covered in mud and we were all ready to go home to beds and showers. Ten days in the wilderness was starting to get to us—not to mention that we were all pretty hung over.
The next interesting thing I did after the camping trip was probably AfrikaBurn—a music and arts festival based on the annual Burning Man Festival in the states. Money is not allowed and everyone is expected to participate and contribute by “gifting” and fair trade. Held in the middle of the Klein Karoo Desert in a town called Tankwa, the weather was dry and hot during the day and freezing at night. Will, his friend Andre, and I drove together in Andre’s minivan. Right before we left we were informed that we didn’t have a spare tire. Already running a bit late, we figured there was nothing we could do at that point and left anyway. Everything was going smoothly until we were about 40 km from the campsite. All of a sudden it sounded like a bunch of rocks were stuck in the tire. Just to be safe, Andre got out and looked to make sure everything was okay even though it didn’t feel like we had a flat. It wasn’t long before Will and I heard Andre yell: “F@%k!” We both jumped out of the car and had nearly the same reaction when we saw that one of the back tires was absolutely shredded to pieces. The tire had actually ripped off the wheel! I had never seen a flat so bad.
A couple of people stopped to help—the first being Hans and Mark who couldn’t help us since we didn’t have a spare but offered to stop by our camp to let our friends know we were deserted. Thinking this to be the best option we waited in the car (it was freezing by this point) until a massive camper pulled up to us and asked if we needed help. Explaining our situation, they suggested that we grab the things we absolutely needed and they would give us a lift to the site. Quickly, we put on our warmest clothing, grabbed our tents and some gin (we were in for a long night) and hopped into the camper. It turned out the driver was the guitarist in a band playing at the festival. His campsite was based on M*A*S*H and appropriately called M*A*S*H*E*D. Also in the camper were his wife, Eileen and his son, Sebastian. They were really nice and it was great that we didn’t have to spend the night in the car.
It wasn’t too long of a drive before we got to the site, easily recognizable by the pink jellyfish illuminated and floating in the air. The campsite was named the Succulents and they had nearly finished building a massive “Cactopus” which would serve as a dance floor. The festival was set up like a clock, each site at a different time. Will and I had some gin and then went exploring a bit. It didn’t last too long because we were pretty tired, but we headed over to “Desert Rose” which was set up like a saloon and filled with drunken patrons who were dancing and drinking whiskey. There was a huge wheel beside a sign titled “Whiskey Whores” where you could spin the wheel and receive a free shot of whiskey on the condition that you complete the task the wheel lands on. One of our friends had to lick hot sauce off of her friend’s nipple. Not a big fan of whiskey and a little too shy to be licking nipples, I opted out of this activity and consequently ran into Mark and Hans.
An hour or so later, I ran into Will again by the jellyfish and we set up our tent and headed to bed. In the morning, Andre had gone to fetch the rest of our things and to deal with the tire situation. Will and I took a walk around to see all the different campsites in the daylight. We stopped at one place that was set up in the middle like a coffee shop and they served us miniature lattes and biscuits. After the coffee, we headed back to the Succulents and helped assemble the paper lanterns used to make a trail—each person could take one, fill it with sand, and then write a dream on it, placing it next to the one before it, creating a path. They were filled with LED lights so that at night they lit up and illuminated the trail. While we were doing this, some ladies came by with cherries that they had marinated in brandy for three months. They were delicious, but really strong! Still they insisted we take as many as we like and each one was better than the last.
Once I popped what felt like a million lanterns, I did some more exploring. I walked to the site called “Down the Rabbit Hole” where there was a tunnel which had random things hanging inside, including flowers and a potholder, and led into a small square room with a black and white checkered floor. On the left side was a tiny table with a series of tiny bottles sporting tags that read “Drink Me” (they were filled with brandy). On the right wall there was a door sized for a small child that brought me into an oblong room blasting trippy music where people dressed in crazy outfits were dancing around a long picnic table. The DJ was wearing a caterpillar suit and there was a man running around dressed as the Mad Hatter. On the picnic table we loads of tiny cupcakes and teapots and cups for anyone who wanted some. It actually felt like I fell down the rabbit hole. It was so neat!
At another site, there was a massive heart that spun and in the dark it looked multi-dimensional against black lights. Featured inside this tent were free yoga sessions, consultations with a love guru, and a showing of the Muppets movie for all. Many of the campsites had various canvases to paint on, including a shovel, a massive tarp, and a floor. In the middle of the venue, there was a massive Lego man that had been left from the year before and a cannon that shot anvils on the hour. The anvils only went about two feet because they were so heavy but the randomness of the act was entertaining. There was also a house on wheels that had really good DJs every night and a living room built off the right side of it.
Nighttime was surely the best part of the festival, however. Many of the structures built around the festival were burned come sundown and this was quite entertaining….
And once again, my friends I am going to leave you hanging. Only this time, I promise to finish tomorrow.