It was a long, long flight…
Crossing from one end of a continent to another then hurdling over a large body of water – the Atlantic Ocean. As the plane rolled to an arrival bay at the Amsterdam airport, she was bone weary. Despite being fatigued the traveler’s heart quickened when her foot touched down denying the exhaustion to ruin the moment. It was after all foreign soil for the very first time.
It was a dream of her teens to be in Europe. Sadly she had no one to share this achievement; it wasn’t going to stop the traveler’s enjoyment of finding new ports of call.
A trip of a lifetime and Amsterdam was only a stop over, limited time trying to make out signs on how to get out of a airport in order to get to the hotel before having to leave in the morning. Less than twenty fours was all there was to traipse through the canal streets, not enough time to be stuck reading backlit signage with more “K” lettering her blue eyes have ever seen.
Arms weighted down clutching two bags one heavy holding two weeks in bottles of shampoo, conditioners, make-up, and clothes for the trip – where does one find a laundry mat in the Serengeti? The other more empty than full, room needed for this once in a rare moon vacation. Long time in blue moons for this woman, had been five years in the making and closer to twenty before that.
An unbalanced load thought of the time wasted and stepped to the taxis lined up. Leisurely yawning morning was not ready to begin its day. Cups of caffeine perking haven’t made it to the lips of the drivers. Lacking a paper cup of Joe for the Traveler, it wasn’t needed anymore. Her energy pumped up in the scents of being anywhere that wasn’t home.
Driver was friendly hiding the coldness one receives as a lone traveler in the city. It became apparent she was no longer on familiar turf as the city really hadn’t awakened from its late night outings.
The hotel she was eager to arrive to the two heavy doors worm in places letting her know they’ve been working longer than she had been alive and she was no spring chicken having hit her fortieth birthday. These two old crafted doors were locked to her amazement. Hotels lock their doors?
Inexperienced in travel never considered she booked herself into a bed n breakfast and didn’t catch on until a youth all of ten answered the door wearing a robe and bed head.
Touching down again our traveler went from the pitch of the night sky into a city lacking electricity and plane appeared bigger than the airport. This didn’t matter as she replayed films of Casablanca you know the last line “Luis I think this is the Beginnings of a beautiful friendship” with the dashing Humphrey Bogart who had also introduced the traveler to other poplar African adventure films. Stuffing bowls of buttery salty fresh popped popcorn chewing on goofy safari comedies.
Her legs trembled, bladder threatening to tinkle just for spite because of the overload of her excitement, but here she was in the place that dreams are made from.
People came two at a time, male and female for the Land Rovers waiting to take them out on an expansive camping trip. She came up last hoping others wouldn’t notice just yet she was a lone traveler.
They left one four runner following behind the other over dusty roads, dirt so red it bleed through the headlights. People walking edges of an unpaved highway wearing nothing much more than bright smile to light their way.
She were sure there were clothing under the blanket of night fall but those happy faces pierced through the black sending an arrow for her heart.
Animals of the safari were beyond her wildest dreams, the lion taking down a zebra, the herds of wilderbeast, zebras and gazelles that staged a stampede just so one lone baby gazelle would be saved from the leopards, who by the way were being stalked by hyenas. She was so excited to see these animals in action.
It was the image of the smiling faces that had no reason to be smiling left for her a mark.
These people men and women weren’t trying to sell or receive anything from the travelers. Their children lived in homes that were worst than a shanty, no running water, no electricity, a hole on the ground for a toilet. She saw their smiles wide with joy that they could not contain.
After a day of safari and fed like a queen by hands who were blissful in their duties, traveler bathe in a tent they had provided for her. Water heated over fire pits filled the tin bucket hung from a branch of a baobab.
Behind the branches of this upside down tree was the Southern Cross, the smell of her shampoo and the air tinged with smoke of a nearby campfire, she was happy.
She heard the distant roars of the wild game, the rolling giggles of the staff and the love in the shape of a cross placed so she could see it over the Serengeti plains.
Photo by: www.oneminuteastronomer.com/1985/constellation-crux…
*Note my night photo did not turn out
Casablanca famous line : wiki.answers.com/Q/…famous_lines_from_the_movie_Casablanca