Swollen Posterior

Our computer is checking out, check back for pics, sorry.

Armed with our backpacks and a wad of local bills we headed out into the jungle seeking adventure. It wasn´t long before we were fishing for peranas and stringing up our hamocks for the night. After a restfull slumber in the swing my itching backside roused me from the dark side and into the light. It was a bum full of bites (incidentially only the left side) not to mention my back, one or two on each finger, my elbows suffered the same fate, it was grand. Six days later and my back side still yearns for a good scratch but to no avail, it is insatiable, the bugs have won this battle.

Heidi and I landed in Manaus in the Amazon startled at the amount of concrete stranded in the jungle. Accesable mainly by boat and plane the explosion of a city hemmed in only by the water itself barely holding back the burgeoning metropolis, docks and boats spilling out from every inch of shore line and buildings claiming endless acres of virgin forest. Fortunately for us a pleasantly long boat ride stole us away from the ruccus and lights of a restless city to the apparent tranquility of Amazonia. We found a local boy to show us the ropes and in three days time he turned us raw Alaska kids into jungle rats. After his school of jungle medicine, gator snatching and snake charming along with erecting an efficient shelter in 37 seconds flat we fealt ready to shed the trappings of normal life and try our hand on the other side. . . but alas it was time to return to the city, I guess it just wasn´t our shot.

With a day to kill in Manaus waiting for our flight, Heidi and I set out with our rafts to ply the waters of the mighty Amazon, to find the very birth place of that goliath river. The Negro River runs black with the acids of decaying leaves and debris tumbeling downstream and the Solimoes River is tinted white with silt and clear water running off the Andes mountians far to the West. The point where they meet just below Manaus, the meeting of the waters as it were, there is a veritable line in the sand, a very distinct diliniation where the rivers greet each other and not for another fifty miles down stream do the waters fully integrate into each other morphing into a milky brown color. It was this line, this meeting point, that we sought. Setting out from the shore in a light headwind feeling strong we urgently paddled for the middle. After being pummled by the wind we pressed on and a full two hours later we revled in our presence floating above this line, albeit uncerimoniously and a little anticlimatic. Thankful for even the diminishing breeze at our backs we paddled on for the shore that we had left hours before. As expected the wind shifted before too much progress was made and we fealt a strong cross wind pushing us downstream. By the time we fought our way to a decent take out point we were thankful to be free of the wind and water and the sore bottoms that the boats were forcing apon us. We did not feel victory over the mighty river but it had not beaten us either.

A red eye flight wisked us back to Sao Paulo and shortly after an over night bus helped us on our way to Iguazu Falls. Wandering the streets at six in the morning we settled on a quaint little joint and promptly fell asleep. Not wishing to waist the day we soon ran off to visit the Brazilian side of the rushing waters and Heidi and I both came away in awe of Gods creation and the amazing beauty He has made! The following day Argentina side fealt our presence as we wistled our way around the grandure of the Big Water, as the natives call it. Not to be missed was the boat trip to the very base of the falls and a little pummeling by the falling water. On one of the train rides in the Iguazu park we fell in step with a New Yorker and enjoyed the evening with her learning about her life and sharing a great Argentinian steak only to find out that the last bus to Brazil left an hour and a half before dinner was over. Most of our belongings in Brazil and us trapped in Argentina didn´t feel so good, fortunately a cheeper than expected taxi ride brought us home safe and sound.

So this brings us to today, this morning we fought our way into Argentina to purchase a birth on a bus heading for Salta, Argentina and the adventures we may find on the altiplano of central South America.

Deep in the Amazon jungle
¨This is just like Disney Land only real!!!¨


Bushman Talk

Bummer no pictures!!

So Heidi and I play this game "slug bug" but when we came to Brazil there were three VW buses on every street and my arm was getting sore so we decided to change the rules up a bit. Instead of punches we throw smooches. We spend quite a bit more time making out on the street than we ever have before, I think its been good for our marriage, you should try it.

After a week of hanging with Mom and Dad Wilder and Nathan Robertson in Namibia, Heidi and I said our last goodbys and beet feet for Cape Town. After a breakdown on the bus we rolled into Cape Town late and roamed the streets avoiding the hippies and weirdos with our new Isreali friends and found a bunk bed for the next few nights. We soon decided on a plan for our stay which included a vehicle, duct tape, a large roll of TP and water guns but we couldn't find a car so instead we went swimming with the great whites, cage match, as I like to call it. What happens is they put one person in a cage with a shark and the one who comes out in one piece wins. Heidi and I are still in one piece (in actuality they put just the people in a cage for the sharks protection).

Any trip to Cape Town would be incomplete without a hike up Table Moutian so we made the trek on the morning of our departure for Johannesberg. The slight breeze and warm temps in town didn't give us any warnings of the gale force winds of the antarctic express chilling the mountian top. A half hour on top is all we could muster and down we trotted back to our hotel and in Lyle and Heidi costomary fashion we ended up running for our bus. It was firing up the engine as we pulled in.

We didn't leave any love in Jo'berg. The concrete jungle held nothing but our limp sleeping carcases for a little slumber and then strait to the airport for us. As we tried to send packages home we found ourselves running for the ticket counter again clearing the wire by mear moments. It seems the story of our trip, running the last few days or moments in a country or city only to just barely miss or make the time line. We are just savoring the moment, sucking the marrow out of the days, thats all.

A short hop over the pond landed us in Sao Paulo, Brazil and all the passengers clapped as the wheels touched down, curious, no one ever does that for me . . . were these folks not really sure if we would make it? After a few nice locals in broken english and both of our words in Portugese, a bus, three trains, and a longer walk than necisarry we entered Lime Time hostel for a few blissful nights, in the dorm. Soa Paulo is a city by all measures and we are ready to leave. We prefer the real jungle. Amazon river here we come. Tomorrow we go to Manaus for a walk about.

After spending time with the family in Namibia we had a bit of a reality check and real life hit us in the face for just a moment. We contemplated returning to real life were we don't get to spend all our time together and we need to make money instead of just spending it. Its a weird thing, we're going to try and forget about it until we are forced to remember.


Kudu!?! Where!?!

When I was younger my brother and I would spend hours talking about hunting, drooling over pictures of trophy animals, and sighing with resignation knowing these animals where just out of reach. We were wrong though!
Lyle and I spent three peaceful days in Nkhata Bay, Malawi enjoying the enourmous lake, the slow pace of life in a quiant little town, and the inexpensive dining. We were surrounded by Cichlids (a type of small colorful fish - for those of you like me) on a diving expedition and these same Cichlids can be purchased in the States for outrageous prices. We dremt of catching a few and selling them on e-bay to help fund our trip but figured they wouldn't last in the mail. We also observed fish that swim upside down there entire life, eating algea off the undersides of rocks. Amazing, God's creation is amazing!!
On Sunday, just before leaving Nhkata Bay we went to a local church which involved walking "down town" until we found someone dressed in their goin to meetin duds and following them. We ended up in a Christian church, right faith, wrong language. A helpful young man came and sat next to us, translating the entire sermon. After the service the Pastor and his wife invited us to their house for a visit, drinks, and lunch!! The afternoon was a precious gift, Lyle and I were again able to connect with local people, not of our own effort but God's. I felt just like the Israelites when God chose them and picked them out of all the nations to be His people. We were walking around looking for breakfast when God placed just the right person for us to follow in front of us and the rest of the day He planned for us, a day that focused on Him, His people, and forming relationship. That Sunday I felt like God said, "This day is for Me and I will pick you up out of all worldly distractions and keep you focused on Me." What can you say to that except "Ok, God"!!!

After our rest in Nkhata Bay we headed for Victoria Falls via bus; one full day to Lilongwe, Malawi, one full day to Lusaka, Zambia, and one full day to Livingstone, Zambia and we were there.

Our time in Livingstone was filled with beautiful scenes, hair raising adventures, and lots of water. The shear power and majesty of Victoria falls left us breathless and soaked to the bone. We peddled our bikes in the pouring rain; we learned how to play a Swiss game; we had breakfast on Livingstone Island on the very edge of the falls; we jump off a 111 meter high bridge; and we floated the Zambezi in our rafts gliding by Hippos and Elephants! Our time soon ran out and we headed to Windhoek, Namibia where those animals I thought out of reach suddenly and majestically came within our grasp. Lyle had secretly planned a hunting safari for me in Namibia. Nathan, my hunting partner of old, and Mom and Dad Wilder had made plans to join us. We picked Nathan up first and, with the excitement of seeing family for the first time in six months, I could hardly take it waiting for him to emerge from customs! We rented a car and spent two days exploring the Namib Desert. Nathan kept exclaiming, "Wow, I'm in Africa", it was great to share his enthusiasm. We picked up Mom and Dad Wilder after our frolic in the desert and headed out to the Eland Pro Safaris Ranch.
The hunt started out slow, leaving us with no animals after the first day and a half. But we were hunting Africa, seeing animals I'd only seen in books or wildlife shows. So, no one cared. . . to much. We just enjoyed catching up with each other and sharing experiences. Then things started to heat up. Mom Wilder was the first of us to get her animal. She had never killed a big game animal and she hadn't shot a rifle in 30 years, but she hit the bulls eye with her practice shots and soon took pictures with her trophy. I couldn't have been more proud of her. Nice work Mom!! Lyle was next, then Nathan. We all started coming back to the ranch house with big smiles and lots of whistles and whoops, except me.
The African wild life successfully evaded me for three and a half days of our four day hunt. Then it all came together after Lyle said, "go ahead, shoot it". It was a black wildebeest, an animal I had not drempt of hunting, it was the last day of the hunt and it was a huge old male so I bagged that sucker!
After taking care of the wildebeest Nathan and I headed out with our guide for one more try at the elusive Kudu, the animal I really desired, the animal that had been running through my dreams all week. We headed to a popular Kudu watering hole hoping for the best. What followed could take me an entire entry to describe with all the details and exhilarating emotion. Suffice it to say a beautiful, majestic Kudu bull stepped out into the opening around the watering hole with a commanding air and sense of superiority that reminded me of Bambie's dad. . . then I shot him. I though I would never be able to hunt African animals in Africa. I had come to peace with the fact that I would not go home with a Kudu, but my dreams came true and I was able to hunt with Nathan, Lyle, and Mom Wilder who took their own trophies and make precious memories with family. How spoiled, how blessed am I? I deserve none of this yet God pours out His blessing on me, allowing me to fulfilling my dreams and goals. How great He is!

"There is sand in all my crevices"