My story resumes with a taste of home. A whiskey in hand, I reflected on days past from the warmth and security of Heaven Lodge in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe. Yes, truly a piece of Heaven after some of the domiciles we had been residing in recently. Mozambique lay behind us now though. It surely was not a dream, but so many of its qualities were too surreal to be believed. The poverty, landmines, potholes and pristine beaches all mixed together with extremely overt begging and acts of remarkable friendliness. Mozambique had been a lesson in living a larger life. Our final journey, ending in a joyous dance of celebration upon reaching a petrol station, could not be squashed by a closed border for the night a few miles down the road. We still rode the high of triumph and another night in Mozambique could not disperse our success over the road from Hell. The morning sun offered us another example of the people’s warmth, with a man pointing out a nearby hostel where we could rest our head. Gratitude aside, we pushed on to a new country.
Zimbabwe held the promise of many things. My first brush with it, in Victoria Falls months earlier on the overland tour, had captivated me and I had been anticipating my return ever since. First though, was a stop at Ann Bruce’s (Backpacker) House. Glory be, there was HOT, running water. Almost a distant memory, I reveled in this luxury. We also took in some game viewing, espying rhinoceros, giraffes, eland and ostrich, plus a magnificent sunset to round out the day. With Brett in our mind’s eye, we pushed on though. We assumed that we had time enough for a quick detour, before heading back up to Harare to meet up with him. This detour brought us to Chimanimani and a planned epic hike into the wilds of Zimbabwe. The whiskey warmed me up for the promised trek into Chimanimani National Park. I sat scribbling down my thoughts and adventures in a journal that was thankful for a sturdy table to be laid upon. With creative juices flowing, I was primed for adventure, but the lure of cards stole my resolve. I can never turn aside an invitation to the card table, so tucked my bottle under my arm and became friends with an English bloke and Kiwi couple. This night’s adventure was in runs, pairs and euchres. Modernity lured me in, but the mountains would find their revenge.