It was very bittersweet to leave Africa. My last day was May 14, and I spent some time standing on my balcony at Elephant Hills looking down at the huge lawn and the herd of impala grazing there. In the distance I could see the Zambezi River and the huge clouds of mist from Victoria Falls. The air was very fresh with a faint chill left from the night, but the sun was shining and the sky a beautiful blue.
I took a taxi to the airport and boarded a British Airways jet to Johannesburg. I had to wait 3-4 hours for the plane to London and used the time getting last minute gifts and using up my remaining South African rand. Then I had an 11 hour flight to London and another 11 hour flight to Los Angeles. So I was quite done in when I reached LA, and was happy to see my brothers David and Alan there to pick me up. I was not so pleased that the customs officer confiscated the $15 worth of kudu biltong (like jerky) I had bought at the Johannesburg airport for my brothers.
I stayed a few days in Santa Monica at the family home and used the time shopping for some new clothes, since I had donated a lot of mine in Africa. On Saturday my friend Laurie picked me up and took me to her house in Westminster. Then followed many lunches and dinners to get together with old friends. I bought a new camera to replace the one I gave to the the lion caretaker at Chipingali.
|Book Club friends (from front right) Sandra, Karen, Laurie, me, and Emmy|