Well I am back from the lovely lively waters of the Okavango. Cruising on the Catfish Running on waters dark with crocodiles, yet reflecting bright skies of travelling thunderheads and graced with the flat leaves of waterlillies.
Night time star scapes of such bright audacity that bow and retreat as the full moon rises like a burning coal over the sea of papyrus and reeds. Driving through flooded plains tyre deep in bright waters. Long grasses swaying in the wake like mermaid hair. Tall lillies and yellow butterflies highlight the lush greenness of everything. After a long road, and hot sweaty day, bathtime by moonlight, in a tin bath filled with river water. The moon reflected in the smooth waters shone a double spotlight on the scene with showstopping brightness, making our candles look yellow and dull by comparison.
Waking to dawn light and a flock of open billed storks take off from their roosting spot in a tall riverine tree - filling the air with their broad wingbeats and whirling away out of sight for the day. Laser beams of sunlight pierce the tops of the reeds and papyrus heads; mares tails of cloud shapes pattern the broad blue sky.
Midday, we are motoring quietly between walls of papyrus, peeping over to secret islands of pheonix palm trees held aloft by grey termite mounds. The midday heat flattens us out, sapping energy. Behind us a rain curtain of dove grey steadily obscures islands and floodplains, moving swiftly towards us. We are slow to react and the rain catches us, splattering large cool droplets that increase in speed and intensity until we are rushing to pack away bedding, close windows and doors. We retreat downstairs where the rain pours in down the canvas sides, and through a strategic hole in the roof. We move into the side of the river and settle in with the papyrus fronds to wait out the storm.
Convection winds arrive, belting us sideways, tearing at canvas stays and angrily trying to free loose objects and steal them away - robber winds. Rivulets of water run over the floor. Papyrus bob at the doorway like nosy neighbours nodding , shaking their diamante bedecked heads knowingly.
The rain passes. The sun comes out and so does our soaked bedding - drip drying off the rails of the upper deck.
Then the phone rang - news from home. There was another armed robbery. Someone was shot. There was a roadblock by armed men in military uniforms, stealing money and cell phones from each car they stopped. It all comes rushing back like an ill wind. The river pushes steadily on. We are in a loophole on the river - all around there is crime and no punishment. We must return soon, but will carry the river in our dreams.