Game driving

17 October 2018

I think we all slept quite well last night, despite the surrounding noises – both human and animal – in the background. It was a blessing to be at a perfect temperature too, not so hot as to be uncomfortable, not so cold as to be shivering!

Cornelia woke up at about 07:00 and came in for a cuddle before we all jumped out of bed, keen to make an early-ish start on the day, knowing that most animals are more active early morning and in the evening, before the day heats up too much.

Out of the blue, Bugsy decided she wanted porridge, which took slightly longer to organise than Weetabix! Nonetheless, porridge it was, followed by two peach yoghurts. We were observed by a confident little bush squirrel, who was probably after some scraps, but was very unlucky today, as we didn’t drop a thing!

I washed up and sorted out Cornelia while Ian closed up the van, in preparation for our day of game driving, and arrival at the next campsite in the park, Halali. Cornelia suddenly went into an unexpectedly difficult mood, screaming because she wanted me to carry her water bottle down to the washrooms, rather than carry it herself. Most of the camps had already left, so I left her to scream it out until she came running down to me, apologising and making a big drama about it all… after that little episode, she was gorgeous again, and amused herself happily, waiting for us to finish off. Ian, however, was greatly annoyed at the screaming event and he maintained a stern tone with her, which largely formed the theme of our day.

We bought a detailed map of Etosha from reception and went on our way. Although it was only 75kms to Halali, we diverted off the main road to make various stops at the waterholes. During the day, we saw a brown hyena which hid under a little bridge, a giraffe drinking from a watering hole, a herd of elephants cooling down in the dust, and two different rhinos, as well as an assortment of horned animals: Springbok, kudu, black-faced impala and oryx.

But, when you’ve been to as many good zoos as Cornelia has, it is no real surprise that she was not massively impressed or interested in seeing them in wild, and we acted out Snow White several times (with Ian doing a variety of accents for the dwarves, which had us all chuckling), and Cinderella, Part 2, when she’s now married to the prince and her ugly sisters are trying to bump her off…

Ian’s grumpiness from earlier in the day kept reappearing unfortunately, which somewhat dampened the magic of what we were doing today. For example, at Oilfantsbad, one of the man-made water points, I had my window fully open, as the engine was off and it was 34 degrees outside and therefore a whole lot hotter inside. A wind suddenly picked up and blew lots of debris and dust into the car and over us. Instead of laughing and trying to stop it coming in, he huffed and puffed, making a point of having to brush it all off. His patience wore thin quickly with Cornelia too. We had decided that, as we were travelling so slowly today, she would not have to be clicked in to her seat, enabling her to stand and look at animals out of the window, if the opportunity arose. But of course, this also meant that she could scramble over to the front seats too, and it annoyed him to have her dusty little feet on him, on the middle console, or indeed anywhere other than where he thought they should be! 🙄

ANYWAY..having left Aus, I realised that we didn’t have a packed lunch, so Cornelia ate an oat bar, a banana and some piggy ears, and Ian and I snacked on peanuts and raisins. She watched her Kindle for an hour, and when that time was up, she fell asleep in her seat, only waking when she slid off… 😳

We arrived at Halali in good time, and the first tasks were to get a fire going and prepare the jacket potatoes we were having for supper. Double-wrapped in foil, they went straight onto the embers of the fire, where they remained for a couple of hours. Cornelia had come up with another recipe she wanted to try, so this time (with some guidance from Chef Mummy) we cooked sliced apples in butter, water, sugar and cinnamon, added some raisins and some Ultra Mel custard, and voila…. a delicious pre-dinner desert! It was yummy and, having guessed that Cornelia wouldn’t like the apple, I shared her bowl – I had the apples, she had the custardy caramely sauce and raisins!

We had enough time to go to the pool (it was a sweltering 38 degrees) but Cornelia suddenly decided she didn’t want to go. This made Ian cross, and me frustrated, and she had another screaming fit, demanding to be carried. We walked away, until she screamed “Stop!” and was crying that she needed some water to soothe her throat, now sore from, yes, screaming… 🙄 She then tried making me carry her and/or her water, but realised quickly that I couldn’t care less if she screamed the place down, as she was the one making a scene, not me. This immediately calmed her down, and she took hold of my hand and, as if nothing had happened, started laughing as she told me about her tv programmes that she’d been watching.

Finally, we made it to the lovely big pool. Ian and her were going in together and it took some coaxing from him before she finally jumped in for a quick swim. She got out shivering, and I wrapped her up before she went off to read the Rules and Regulations board. Then, dressed as a naked bride with her towel as a veil, she made her way slowly back to me, so I could dress her.

Back at our pitch, the potatoes were more or less ready, so I prepped the cheese and soon we were scoffing authentic baked potatoes! Cornelia was somewhat preoccupied with her smouldering stick and wanting to make her own fire, and she ran out of time to finish her meal, so I hope she isn’t hungry tonight!!

I was, by now, rather grumpy myself at having to have mediated all day between Ian and Cornelia, so we all stayed out of each other’s way in uncomfortable silence, waiting for the day to end!

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