21 July 2009

Breaking news - our first theft

One of the pieces of warning we have been getting from the very beginning of talking about this trip has been that we will have to protect our possessions as everywhere there is a chance of stuff being swiped. So we have locked the fuel canisters, padlocked the roof boxes, locked the gas bottle to its holder and had locks fitted to the cupboards, drawers and storage spaces. In the meantime we joked how the first time we will get mugged will be in Italy, and people told us stories about muggings in London, Stockholm and New York. Today we lost our mugging cherry. We had been camping in a lovely spot right by the Okavango river, across the border from Angola, all by ourselves at the slightly disheveled camp site. It had been quiet, the only visits had been from an owl, a bush baby and the dog with six super cute puppies. Oh, and the guy sitting watch by the fire all night. Stuart brought him a mug of tea and some soup, but we lacked a common language, so couldn't work out if he was guarding us or keeping out the riff raff from across the river. He left this morning, having scrubbed the pot and cup we lent him to within an inch of their lives. I wish he had stayed: We had a dawdly morning, eating breakfast, showering, charging laptops. We were round the site most of the time, but there must have been a moment when Stuart went down the path, I was in the toilet and Merryl in her tent, when someone snuck in, climbed the ladder of the tent and grabbed everything in it. Two bags and some clothes, ready at the edge of the tent to be packed away for the day. We can't have been out of sight for more than a minute, and heard nothing. Luckily all that disappeared was our two favourite Crumpler bags, but nothing of value was in them, and the clothes had been wearing the day before. We first thought our phones had gone, but luckily we had just mislaid them. The camp site people were very good and sent out a search party, but all they recovered were some kid's size foot prints and some tablets that must have dropped out of my pocket. I was a bit worried at their enthusiasm, the gardeners who went off in hot pursuit were carrying machetes, I hoped just as that's what they were working with at the time. So now we are a bit shaken, but trying not to let the experience get to us. We will certainly be a bit more careful in future and appreciate the car guards at the shopping centres more than we did in the past.

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