Archive | May, 2014

Weather or not?

26 May

Tempus fugit! I am now at 5 weeks and counting until takeoff to Africa. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s really happening. I am now checking the weather on a regular basis to see what temperatures I might anticipate at my destinations. My hometown of St. Louis, North America, northern hemisphere is heading into midsummer while my African destinations south of the equator, southern hemisphere are nearing midwinter. I expect my hometown temperatures to go up, while those in South Africa and Botswana are likely to go down. Here is today’s weather report:

Our daytimes in St. Louis are hot, but actually not as hot as they were a week ago. Evenings can be quite pleasant.

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Here is today’s forecast for Cape Town, South Africa, on the coast where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet. Winter there tends to be wet and cool. It is such a beautiful city. I hope it doesn’t give me just clouds and rain while I am there. Heck, I want to go up Table Mountain and I want to take a helicopter ride around the cape.

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Maun, Botswana in winter is in the midst of its dry season. We should be on safari during the annual zebra migration. It is hot and sunny, but not as hot as St. Louis, and it drops to 50 degrees F. at night. That might feel a bit nippy in a tent.

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This week I will visit the travel doctor to inquire about anti-malaria meds.

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My War on Mosquitos Begins

18 May

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I am waging a war on mosquitos. Normally I am not bothered by them. They are a mild annoyance causing temporary itching. Soon I will be on my way to Africa on the most adventurous trip I have ever made. Safari! I will be in Botswana for ten days stalking the Big Five. The creature that terrifies me the most, however, is the lowly mosquito. Botswana is a malaria zone, and malaria is carried by the female mosquito in this region. Malaria is a souvenir I do not wish to bring home with me. Yesterday I began my war against mosquitos and malaria at my local REI outfitters. I learned about Permethrin, an insecticide to spray on your clothing and gear, and DEET, a super insecticide to spray on your skin. Here on the left is Permethrin, brand name Ultrathon, and 100% DEET in the Jungle Juice spray. Other necessities…sunscreen and lip balm. Wikipedia defines these insecticides as follows:

Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, widely used as an insecticideacaricide, and insect repellent. It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin, affecting neuron membranes by prolonging sodium channel activation. It is not known to rapidly harm most mammals or birds, but is dangerously toxic to cats[1][2] and fish. In general, it has a low mammalian toxicity and is poorly absorbed by skin.[3]

N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, abbreviated DEET, is a slightly yellow oil. It is the most common active ingredient ininsect repellents. It is intended to be applied to the skin or to clothing, and provides protection against mosquito bites,tick bites, flea bites, chiggers, and many other biting insects. DEET serves as a true repellent in that mosquitoes intensely dislike the smell of the chemical repellent.

At REI I also purchased a safari shirt, a jersey, and two pairs of safari pants. This season’s colors are neutral. I also bought a Permethrin treated bandana for neck protection and for my face to breathe through when driving over dusty terrain.

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This girl is ready to rumble.

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To Do List…Cape Town’s Big 6

17 May

In July I will set off on a grand adventure…a safari in Botswana, Africa. My adventure in Africa will begin, however, with three days in Cape Town, South Africa. Tourism websites tout the Big 6 of Cape Town, as follows: Victoria and Alfred (V&A) Waterfront.

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Cape Point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

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The aerial tramway to Table Mountain.

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Robben Island.

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Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens.

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Groot Constantia vineyards.

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Who knows if I can do all of these in three days, but I’m sure gonna try.