Heaven Lodge welcomed us back, but our stop the second time was brief. This was just a layover now to regroup before our next leg of the journey. I gladly succumbed to a hot shower to wash away the sweat from our trek through the wilds of Chimanimani National Park. The scalding water could not wash away the memories I held of star-filled nights unblighted by city’s illuminations though. We re-fuelled our bodies and the van, then pointed Arnie North towards Harare and hopefully our lost companion.
With no communication, we had no way of knowing if Brett would be in Harare or not, so we made haste to get there as quickly as we could. Our haste was well met by giant bear-hugs from dear Brettski alive and well to greet us. He told us of his adventures in agony on the bus ride South, the flight to Johannesburg and straight to hospital, and x-rays that suggested that he had probably already passed the stones by the time he arrived. He was smiling and fine, and had been in Harare for 2-3 nights already by the time we got there, we discovered with glee.
We were joyous in our reunion and decided to celebrate. We played tourists and went curio shopping at a local open-air artisan market, where I bought soap stone carvings, a sarong, a crocheted vest and t-shirts for family back home. We splashed out by dressing up for a decadent meal out to Rani’s, an Indian restaurant, where we allowed ourselves to be catered to our every whim. It was fun pretending to be sophisticated, when we normally lived out of a backpack stuffed with six pairs of underwear, two t-shirts, three tank tops, one sweater, one pair of jeans, two long-sleeved shirts, three pairs of shorts, a sarong (newly purchased!), a dress, a skirt, a pair of pajamas and one towel (or something like that). Miki and I even put on makeup for the occasion! We held our forks daintily and discussed the state of the world, glorying in this break from our reality. I followed this up with much deserved phone call home to share my recent travel stories with my family and hear tell all the news from that part of the world. On a roll, I called my family in Cape Town to check in with them as well and see if there was any news from there. I was delighted to hear that I had received some letters and they would be forwarded along to me en route. With my ear aching, but my heart warm, I called it a night. The city had been good to me and friendly Harare was okay in my books.