Two of the Big Five

July 21, 2008 - Gaborone, Botswana

Hi!  We hope you had a fun weekend!  On Saturday, we went on a 2.5-hour drive in the Mokolidi Game Reserve, just south of Gaborone (aka “Gabs).  We saw tons of animals, including two – elephant and rhino – out of Africa’s famous Big 5. (We’re hoping to fill in the remaining 3 during our trip to Chobe Park in early August).  The 3 rhinos were especially amazing – they were huge!  
Today is President’s Day in Botswana.  Although people in Botswana are having a lot of fun during this 4-day celebration, we are finding it a bit challenging.  We cannot buy phone cards or find a map of the city.  Eating dinner is hard because even the grocery store closes early, and many restaurants are closed all day!  Our saving grace is the Mugg and Bean shop, which we just learned has free wi-fi (a huge rarity here).  Accordingly, we are spending most of our day here, developing our PowerPoint based on our Namibia research.  Hence, I get to make this posting!  And, Travis gets to drink way too many cups of their bottomless coffee.  Honestly, for a guy who drinks as much caffeine as Travis, he never seems to be hyper – I’d bounce off the walls!

So, how is Botswana, as compared to Namibia? 
1. Although most signs are in English, fewer people speak English well, so most people just look at us like we’re speaking Pig Latin or some equally confusing language.  And, we were equally confused when they referenced “bots,” shortened from “robots” in Namibia (stoplights).
2.  Taxis are rented by the car, as they are in the U.S. In Namibia, you rent a seat in a car – like you would in a plane.  It was a set N$7 per person – or N$28 for 4 people – for close trips.  Renting a seat meant that taxis would pick up other random people while you were driving with them!
3. Beer is bought by the can, not by a 6-pack or 12-pack.  Saturday’s trip to “Liquorama” meant that we tried 7 types of beer, even though we had less than a case worth of beer.  Windhoek Lager seems to be Travis’ favorite, though Peter thinks that Savannah Dry (a cider) needs to be introduced in the US.  Jordan is the only one to try St. Louis, which is apparently a locally-brewed Botswana beer, though Travis is highly skeptical and thinks that it comes from Budweiser, which of course, is headquartered in St. Louis.
4. Gabs is more expensive, more spread out and has colder nights than Windhoek.
We hope you are doing well and miss everyone!  Today marks the half-way point of our trip!

– Erin

PS:  This is Jordan.  Today is Erin's 27th birthday!  She is still the youngster of the trip...


Group picture at Mokolodi Nature Reserve
Female Kudu
Look out...RHINO!


Kathy Linville:
July 21, 2008
Happy Birthday to Erin! What a incredible way to spend your special day. We think about you guys all the time.
Love Mom
Jenny O.:
July 21, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERIN! I'm sure this one will be one of the most memorable yet!! Glad to hear all is well with you and Jordy!! :)
July 21, 2008
Happy birthday, Erin! I'm sure it will be a memorable one! Enjoy the rest of your time in Africa, and have a safe trip back.
Becky Vanden Busch:
July 21, 2008
Happy 27th birthday! Man.... when mom was this age she already had a 4 and 5 yr. old. ANd on your 27th bday, you are in Africa. Times are a changing!
The animals you are seeing are really cool, I love the pictures. My favorite picture is when my brother in law was peeing in the desert. Very classy.
That is also cool how you guys got to play on the sand dunes.... Wasnt the sand really hot???
And, That is really funny how the nun said that these people had "no income."
Well, Ill talk to you later. See you in about a month! :)
Love Becky
Lisa Daul:
July 21, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN!!!!! Hope you have a great day.

We were in Glacier National Park last week and had a wonderful time. What a beautiful part of the country. I so want to go back someday because we didn't have enough time to see everything. Frank wants to go back and live there but he will be going alone if he does. I like being by my family.

Love you and say hi to Jordan.

Aunt Lisa

Love Aunt Lisa
Rob Marx:
July 21, 2008
Happy Birthday Erin! I am glad to see you guys are having a good trip. You know, Budwieser was bought out now by a Belgium brewery. That's located in Africa, right?

July 21, 2008
Sending you birthday wishes from Boston, Erin, and very excited about the email you sent recently!
sara sterley:
July 22, 2008
Happy #27, Erin! I hope this year is your best yet!

I love reading the posts about your work and your adventures and the pictures too! Thanks so much for including all of us :)

Can't wait for the next report!
July 23, 2008
Happy belated birthday chica from El Salvador! Have a blast!
Bobby Cesafsky:
July 23, 2008
Happy birthday, Erin. Pictures look great! Katie and I can't wait until the next post. Have fun / stay safe.

July 23, 2008
Good Morning, or I should say Good night?
Aunt Linda from Mpls here with some news, finally. Your cousin, Anthony was in a bank Saturday while he was there it was robbed. He & the others were made to lie on the floor face down near the vault. The bandit got away with 300k. I am so grateful no one was able to reach a silent alarm or no other patron came into the bank causing the armed fugitive to panic. I am thankful to the Lord for Anthony's safety yours. Gearing up for Lee & Kate's wedding. Boy am I going to have fun. Love to you all.
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