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The Travels of

Jacqui and Lars

Trans-Africa 2000/01 - The Best Parties

 

Along the way, as we crossed through Africa, there were some parties and gatherings.  Some were pretty tame (just a few drinks by the fire), some got a little wild (maybe some loud singing), then there were some that got a bit out of control (hippo and snake g-string clad people running through the campsite or too many springboks being drunk and people falling out of canoes hanging from the ceiling) and some that got very out of control (cross dressing men slurping down vodka jelly, ending up skinning dipping with women in a hippo and croc infested lake).  Then there was the final party that ended the trip in Cape Town - that had a bit of everything.

 

The list of Best Parties will tend to be slanted towards those where there is a photographic record - as they say, "a picture tells a thousand words".  Many of these parties are very hard to describe, if only because much of the detail has been lost in an alcoholic haze.  Please excuse us if we have missed out on some that are others' favorites.

 

24 Hours in Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria - 11 December, 2000

Started with dinner at a deserted Italian restaurant - food was mixed and it felt like the owner was on the run from either the police or the mafia (why else would an Italian live in Lagos?).  Then onto a quiet bar that had just opened - a few beers at the bar with a bit of music that we picked out.  Then onto the highlight of the evening - a local bar that was packed, with men and ladies of the night.  The music was blaring and they had their own version of Sammy Davis jr.  We got a round of beers, which turned into many more rounds.  It did not take long until we had company (Lars kept busy acting as the pimp for the night) and we got to know some of the ladies.  These ladies also took the opportunity to chat to the two females we had along - with the key topic being how to seduce a man.  They said it was all in the butt and then went on to demonstrate how to move and swing it and hook their man.  We weaved through the dark streets back to out hotel at around 4 AM - glad to be back safe and sound in our room.

 

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Christmas Eve, Rhumsiki, Cameroon - 24 December, 2000

It started off as a quiet dinner amongst five of us sitting at a private table on a terrace overlooking a valley studded with volcanic pugs.  But we did have two bottles of whiskey to finish off (and not everyone was drinking).  We all had our fair share and, when we went to join the others, we all had to be helped as we went.  Once there, some of us just wanted to either stare up at the stars, lay on a bunch of rolled up mats or dance.  A stray dog would stop by every once in a while to see how we were doing and to give us a quick sniff.  We would check on each other once in a while just to make sure e are all OK.  After a while we give up on our quest to dance and we struggle back to our hotel - by now quite a few of us needed help, in particular when we tried to go to bed.  This was a task - getting a few people ready to get into bed. First it was too hot, then too cold (there was air conditioning).

 

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New Year's Eve, Buea (at the foot of Mount Cameroon), Cameroon - 31 December, 2000

We had the grounds of the hotel to ourselves.  We cooked up a storm and Mark and Rick (the drivers) pulled off the roof some treats they had brought all the way from London, including Doritos.  We prepared some excellent dips and dug into the pre-dinner treat.  After dinner, the booze continued to flow.  At midnight, there were actually some fireworks for us to watch.  At this point, we raided Rick's tent - he had gone to bed early and we thought it was appropriate to join him and wish in the new year.  We fit about 15 people in the Drago tent.

 

Checking out the Local Scene, Doula, Cameroon - 11 January, 2001

We are in Doula on our own - some of us have left the group in Limbe where they are waiting for the truck to be fixed after our major breakdown.  It takes a while to find a place to stay - our first choice turns out to be too expensive.  The next three places are full.  We finally get a room at the Catholic Mission.  To a certain extent, we are surprised they take us in, but they must think that we are desperate for a room.

 

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We head out to explore the city.  First we find a great ice cream shop - and of course grab an ice cream.  After wandering around the streets for about an hour, we find a restaurant where we have dinner.  It has Mediterranean food and we sit outside.  It is very nice and the food is excellent, with the only problem being the price of the beer.  Once finished there, we wander back into the streets, which have now become quite dark and less welcoming.  While walking along, we are stopped by the police (who are heavily armed with machine guns) who want to check our IDs.  We have copies of our passports to show - they did not really like that, but when they realise we would not give them anything (i.e., a bribe), after about 15 minutes they let us go on our way.

 

After a quick snack at a bakery, we head off to a night club for a drink.  We found a great place that had a live band that played quite good music.  While the beers were a bit expensive, it was worth it.  The bouncer was very friendly and got us a good price for the beer.  Once the band finished at midnight, everyone moved into the disco.  And was this an interesting place.  There were all types of people there (including lots and lots of women trying to get picked up - usually for a fee).  We had a great time people watching and telling fantastic stories about ourselves (some of us were missionaries here to save them, others were stuntmen, etc) to some of the locals that approached us.

 

We got back to the Catholic Mission shortly after 2 AM - the guard was not too happy (he had been sleeping and we did not think the mission had too many guests that stayed out late!!!), but he let us in.  We then headed off to bed and sleep.

 

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Meat Market at Carnivore, Nairobi, Kenya - 24 February, 2001

The name of the restaurant says it all.  We started out with some drinks and then moved onto a few kilos of game meat (zebra, eland, crocodile, etc) - that is their specialty and if you do not like meat, do not even bother going.  From there we moved to the pool tables where we played a few more games and had quite a few more drinks.  We had a great guy who managed the tables - he would arrange the balls at the end of each game with his hands moving like Flash Gordon's.  During this time, the place became another form of meat market - it was full of possibilities (for both sexes), and some took advantage of what was available.

 

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Pre-Rafting

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Post-Rafting

Post-Whitewater Rafting Painkillers, Bujagali Falls, Uganda - 14 February, 2001

We were all pumped up from our white-water rafting and they gave us unlimited flow of drinks on our way back to the campsite - we took full advantage of it.  We lost count of how much we drank, but we were happy when we got back to the campsite.  Some how we set up our tent and then drank some more as we waited for dinner.  After dinner, we retired to the bar to watch the video of the rafting (and to drink a few more beers).  Craig could not find his tent, so he collapsed in Paolo's tent - letting in all the mosquitoes at the same time!!!

 

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Sophie's Birthday, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe - 23 March, 2001

It was Sophie's birthday and we had a fancy dress party where the men had to cross-dress.  The dresses covered a full range and some were, shall we say, quite skimpy.  After taking a few photos, we got right into it.  What got things really going was the vodka jelly, which was poured down peoples' throats.  A game of truth or dare, after a few rounds, ended up with a number of the people jumping into the swimming cage in the buff.  A couple was born this evening!!!

 

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Cecilia's Birthday Party, Antelope Park, Zimbabwe - 31 March, 2001

After a wonderful sunset, we head over to the dining enclosure for dinner, which is a feast that is prepared by the campsite.  It is a huge spread which includes butternut soup, impala stew, beef stew, rice and a local maize dish.  As it is Cecilia's birthday, the party starts over dinner where we have a huge pot of punch and wear funny party hats.  After dinner we move back to the campsite and sit around a huge fire.  They supply us with all the wood we can use, so we make a real bonfire (it gets so hot, we have to move back from the fire).  In addition to the many drinks, we pull out some marsh mellows and roast them over the fire - they are quite a hit.

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Drink Them Dry (Not) Booze Cruise, Zambezi River, Zambia - 27 March, 2001

We had just finished our gorge swing and we were already high on adrenaline.  There was a free flow of drinks (including beer) at the gorge.  We took advantage of that and then took a wild and crazy ride in an open topped jeep to the boat (we were late) for the booze cruise.  We stumbled on and the boat pulled away.  We cruised up the Zambezi River.  While some people focused on the food and looking for animals on the river's edge, we focused on drinking as much of there booze as possible.  We returned to shore to a stunning sunset and then had to head back to our campsite in Zimbabwe.  That must have been the wildest border crossing we have ever seen.  Music blaring from the truck stereo, dancing on and around the truck and just being a general nuisance.  But we got through and made it back to the campsite.  After a quick shower, it is off to the Kingdom for some gambling and a few more drinks, along with a cigar in the cigar bar.

 

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Living the High Life, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - 10 April, 2001

Victoria Falls is a great place - in particular when we were there.  The currency was crumbling and we could live like kings so long as we could use the local currency to pay for things.  This evening we decided to have dinner at the Victoria Falls Hotel at the Jungle Junction.  At first, it is only Jacqui and Lars who go, but once we are there, we see that the spread is so good, that Lars hops into a taxi to get some company.  First he tracks down Jim at the Kingdom - he is about to have a pizza, but he is persuaded to abandon it.  Then we look for Paolo, and find him at another bar - his steak there is so bad that he is happy to ditch it.  Then we all sit down to a great meal - a meal of Kings.  The buffet is enormous and we have a tough time deciding what we want.  It must be the best spread we have ever seen.  And the service is grand.  We have a bottle of wine with dinner and finish off with a cigar and coffee (and Lars has four of the crepe suzettes).

 

When we can walk once more, we wander over to the Kingdom, where we spend some time at the cigar bar and then move on to the casino.  As it is our last night in Zimbabwe, we have to get rid of whatever local currency we have, so we just go to the roulette tables with a mindset that we are going to lose and we do not care.  Well, it turns out to be incredible - we just start winning.  We are mainly betting on the numbers and we have selected about 5.  They come up almost every other spin of the wheel.  We cannot keep up as they keep piling the chips at our spot.  We just start increasing our bets.  Everyone on the table is starting to bet on the same numbers - and they also win.  After a while, we say that we will play so long as we have the smaller chips and just keep throwing them on the table and accumulating more of the big ones.  Finally, we are wiped out of the smaller chips, but we walk away with about 200 times our starting capital.

 

Then comes the hard part - how to spend it all in 12 hours.  Well, most of it goes on booze (plus a little on soap and toilet paper).  These are all the key essentials of overlanding.

 

Springboks can be Lethal, Sepopa Night Stop, Okavango Delta, Botswana - 16 April, 2001

It all started off tame enough - a few drinks, some playing darts, the others just hanging out.  Then Jim got the idea that we should be drinking Springboks and have some springbok races.  In a springbok race, you line about a row of shot glasses filled with a horrible drink called springbok - a lethal combination of Amarula and Creme de Menthe and then the line of drinkers has to hop towards the shot glasses with their hands on their heads forming antlers and drink the springbok without using their hands.  It is not as easy as it sounds.

 

After about four or five of these, the party really got going.  It ended up with people dancing on the tables and the bar, people swinging from the ceiling beams and, finally, people swinging and hanging from the canoes that were hanging from the ceilings.  In the end, one person fell from one of the canoes and landed head first on the concrete floor.  Some how he busted his toe landing on his head (which was OK) - our recollection is a bit hazy.

 

Jim's "Freedom Day", Windhoek, Namibia - 18 April, 2001

Tonight we celebrated Jim's freedom - it is double freedom.  It is his last day as a driver with Dragoman and it is also his last day in the British Army reserves.  He (and, of course, we) are ready to have a good time.  After arriving at the campsite in Windhoek, we head out for a pre-dinner drink.  A few people are a little slow in getting ready, so we decide a drink would be in order.  We get a couple of whiskeys at a Portuguese restaurant, and then head on to Joe's Beer House for dinner.  The whole group goes and we have a huge long table.  Service is a bit slow, but they bring the drinks so we are distracted.

 

Dinner is great - huge portions of food - and we get some of the game meat on offer.  We try gemsbok and zebra - the gemsbok is excellent, but the zebra was a bit disappointing.  After we finish eating, a group of us head over to the bar to continue the celebrations.  We start with the whiskeys, but then we quickly move on to the sambucas.  It comes in a variety of colors - clear, red, black, blue and green.  We get a sampling of all and learn a few tricks from Jim.  You light the sambuca, let it burn for a short while and then stick the mouth of the shotglass on one of your body parts - we start with the forehead - and let go.  The shotglass, with the drink still in it, should stick to your skin (if it does not - you have a bit of a mess and a large cleaning bill).  Then you pull it off and drink it, hands free!

 

If you wait too long after lighting up the sambuca before putting the shot glass on your skin - be ready for a nasty burn!!  Well, suffice to say that we ended up, with a smaller group, to try just about every body part.  The other patrons watched with some amusement.  From Joe's Beer House, we moved on to a local night club.  It took us a while to find a taxi, but we got a nice driver.  Once there, we ran into a bit of trouble - people started to get sick.  Jacqui disappeared with one of them without telling Lars she was heading off.  After not seeing her for a while, Lars got worried (this is not the best part of town) and looked high and low with no trace - in the end it turned out that she had taken one of the men to the ladies room to take care of him.

 

Back down on the street, we were taking care of one of the ladies who was a bit sick and had trouble standing up.  In the end, we decided to head back to the campsite at around 2:30 in the morning. 

 

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Paolo and Ted's Birthday Party, Klein Aus Vista, Namibia - 3 May, 2001

Tonight was birthday party night - to celebrate Ted's and Paolo's birthdays.  We all had to put on fake moustaches.  We had set up the campsite real nice - we used the sand mats to create tables and used the tarps as table cloths.  We could then all sit around the tables in a somewhat civilized manner.  It turned out to be quite a fun night.

 

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After dinner, the drinks really started to flow and out came some vodka jelly that Jacqui had prepared.  That got things going as the vodka jelly was poured down throats!!!  After a while there were only a few of us left around the fire and, after all the vodka jelly, things got a bit crazy.  An aerosol can was thrown on the fire - it of course exploded, sending sparks everywhere.  We ran around putting them out (in particular the ones under the gas tanks)!!!  Then Playton and Paolo were persuaded to try on their respective presents - snake and hippo animal g-strings, respectively.  While my memory is a bit hazy, it involved Playton running around the campsite in his underwear (including scaring off some small children at the campsite next door) and Paolo giving some people a private show in their tent.  There was some dancing on the table (which ended when the table collapsed).

 

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The British Contingent

 

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The U.S. Contingent

 

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The Malaysian Contingent

Wine and Cheese Party, Fish River Canyon, Namibia - 4 May, 2001

We spend the afternoon overlooking Fish River Canyon drinking wine (and other spirits) and eating cheese and crackers.  It is a wonderful to just hang out, chat, drink and soak in the stunning views.  We follow with interest a group of hikers heading down the canyon - they are struggling and it takes hours for them to cover a distance that should have taken less than one.  After we watch the sunset, we head back to the truck and drive back to the campsite (the driver who drew the short straw and could not drink, did drive us back).  Along the way, we pass another overlanding truck and take the opportunity to moon them.

 

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Wine Tasting, Cederberg, South Africa - 8 May, 2001

It started off with a small wine tasting at the local winery - but they made the mistake of falling for our pleas that we just had to try a little bit more.  But the more we drank, the better it tasted, so in the end, they probably were happy - we bought quite a few bottles.  Most of these bottles were meant to be drunk over a few nights, but not many lasted the night.  We started (or rather continued) drinking once we were back at the campsite.  We were cooking up a huge feast - it was our last meal we would cook as a group.  The oven was out and after using every pot, pan and dish we had dead soldiers and dip as starters and a main course of roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cheese broccoli, and other vegetables, and desert of apple crumble.  We stuffed ourselves - it was scrumptious!!!

 

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Farewell Party, Simon's Town, Cape Town, South Africa - 9 May, 2001

A lot was lost in the haze induced by the alcohol and the possible loss of millions of brain cells.  It was a crazy night.  This was our last night on the trip - in the morning we were going to drive the short distance to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope and complete our Trans-Africa - and it affected our mood.  We were already on a natural high.

 

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We had a few drinks in the bar, and then moved onto dinner.  It was a buffet - nothing special, but it filled us up.  We had a few bottles of wine on the table and they went quickly.  At the end of the meal, we had an awards ceremony.  The drivers - Gilly, Gina and Jim - did a great job.  Everyone got a bit of a roasting and we all had a good laugh.

 

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Then onto the bar for the heavy drinking.  As we had run out of wine supplied with dinner, we went out and snuck in the few remaining bottles of our own wine that we had and we quickly polished those off.  The worst (or best) part of the evening was that we had started early on mixing our drinks.  After the wine was finished off, we decided to have a few springbok races.  These are a crazy way to get drunk very quickly - see the description of a Springbok race above.

 

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From there it degenerated into wild dancing, singing, attempting to balance on one bent leg (with Jim showing how it is done) and a bit of stripping.  It was wild and crazy.  A few people wandered around outside, enjoying the night sky and even going down to watch the penguins on the beach.  In the end, a few people needed help getting to bed (no names will be mentioned).

 

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