As many of you know I've been in South Africa and Botswana for a couple of weeks ensuring that my staff didn't start some sort of civil uprising or cause a humanitarian crisis by creating a continent wide banoffee pie famine. In the end I think I did a pretty good job, though they were charged excess baggage fees by the airline on their flight home for the several kilos of blubber that had somehow attached itself to their bellies during the two weeks of their holiday. Now of course I have to take on the role of personal trainer to try to get rid of all that flab. Its true what they say. "Brain cells come and go, but fat cells last forever."
The last of the four bush camps my staff inhabited was situated on the banks of a crystal clear lagoon of Botswana's Okavango Delta. It was a small camp and the staff there spoiled my spoiled my staff rotten. There was an elderly chef who did all his cooking in a makeshift bush oven which was basically a large steel box around which he piled the appropriate amount of hot embers from the wood fire. You would not believe the delights he produced from this piece of rudimentary equipment. The first thing my staff sampled was an absolutely perfect chocolate cake, so moist and chocolaty that it would make an angel weep. Then there was Camembert cheese in filo pasty. My staff swear it was a miracle and in fact wrote to the Pope in an attempt to have the old bush chef canonized, and by that, I don't mean they wanted him shot from a canon. No, they wanted him made a saint for his services to mankind's stomachs. The filo pastry was crisp and light and the Camembert cheese within was perfection itself, just barely beginning to melt - exactly the right texture. This old fellow would have won any Master Chef competition you care to name; as long as he was allowed to use his old camp oven. In the wet season the bush camp closes for the wet season the old chef has to go and work in one of the larger camps in the area. The problem with this is that the larger camps have proper kitchens and the poor old boy has no idea what to do with a modern electric or gas oven. Food would get burned, pans would be ruined, fires would be started, dreadful smells would fill the kitchen, implements would be thrown and foul language would be used. In other words it would be pretty much like an average mealtime at my staff's house.
Male staff proudly displaying his newly acquired man-boobs and wobbly belly which will probably take about four years of painful dieting to deflate. The signpost next to him says ELEPHANT. It is supposed to be the name of their tent but if you want to apply
to my male staff I understand entirely.
This last camp was very comfortable. Apart from the amazing food my staff's tent also had a baby scorpion who liked to scuttle about upside down on the canvas roof just above my male staff. Fortunately he had a small tail and huge claws which indicates a relatively harmless beast, or so my male staff says. Wait! Maybe it's the other way around. A big tail and small claws indicates a harmless scorpion. Either way, my male staff didn't seem too worried and he slept like a baby every night. Hah! By "slept like a baby" I mean of course that he woke up every forty five minutes, crying and demanding to be fed. I'm joking of course. Actually both my staff were snoring as soon as their heads touched the pillow. In fact the snoring was so loud that two hippos actually waddled from the lagoon in the middle of the night, woke the camp manager and complained about the noise.
Each guest tent at this particular camp had a separate shower tent with a bucket shower hanging from a tree above it about ten metres from the guest tent. One night it was dark when my staff returned from their game drive and they asked the camp attendant to fill their bucket shower with hot water so that they could freshen up before dinner. Twenty minutes later my staff were enjoying a nice hot shower together, although it was quite a tight fit in the tent given their expanding butts. They had almost finished when my male staff slipped on a bar of soap and grabbed at the tent wall in a desperate attempt to stop himself from falling. My female staff made a grab for his arm to try to steady him. He was too heavy for both her and the tent and the whole thing collapsed in a heap in the sand with water from the bucket shower still sprinkling upon their pink, naked bodies, their large, wet backsides glowing romantically in the African moonlight as they scrabbled about searching for a foothold on the slippery collapsed canvas.
My female staff in front of the shower tent before she and my male staff destroyed it.
It just happened that the camp laundry lady was making her way along the path not far from the shower tent with an armful of clean towels fresh from the laundry. Visibly shocked by what she saw, she threw the towels down and ran to the campfire, around which were sitting half a dozen other guests, three guides and the camp manager.
"Batho! Batho! Potlako pedi kubu go iwa mo go bothibelelo!" Screamed the laundry lady. This roughly translates as "Everyone! Everyone! Come quickly. Two hippos are fighting in the camp."
The three guides leapt into action, running to where the laundry lady had pointed, the rest of the camp residents hot on their heels. This was exciting for the guests. It's not every day you get to see two hippos fighting at close quarters. They were not disappointed at the sight that confronted them, but I would have thought at least one of the guides would have offered to help my staff to their feet instead of just standing there laughing.
Uncal Billy's staff promist us piggies that wen they went to affricka we wood be going to a resort wear there wood be like lots of girly piggies. Gess wat. Wen we got there there were no girlie piggies at all. Boy wuz I kross. I wuz like so livid that I bit the hoomun whooz job it wuz to look afta us. That mayde me feel betta for a wile but it didn't allter the facked that the only piggies in the place were boyz and they wuz evun uglier than Alfie, Tom and Toby and that's saying somefink.