New and Returning Faces

At halfway through my stint in South Africa, it seems that time is simultaneously standing still and moving forward at an alarming rate. It feels like a lifetime ago that I wrote my last blog post, but perhaps it was yesterday. Time is relative.

It’s been a week of turnover and change. All the volunteers I started with bar one, who is currently in Botswana, have left and three new ones (two fresh faced newbies and a returner) have moved into the staff house. Rusty, the future Cycle Mashatu Manager, has also returned and I’ve been picking his brains about the most convenient formatting for the booking chart. Thus, it has been a rather hectic feeling week and it is nice finally sit down and relax, reply to correspondence, and maybe later, I will sneak in a nap.

Charlie Echo
Charlie Echo growing up fast.

On Monday I was contacted as a potential candidate for a fascinating sounding consultancy job (so sue me, researching tech is cool). Hence, Wednesday saw me escaping the pack (who are adorable and make excellent hot water bottles), to sit a preliminary skype interview. Apparently, the South African horse safari offices provide a unique background. However, I suspect the Shuttles Office was still a better choice than the alternative backdrop of dusty saddles and a free roaming parrot in search of toes to peck. Fortunately, hats hanging on walls or no, I met requirements and am through to the next stage (queue TV presenter voiceover).


I also sat an online test, this time in the presence of demon parrot. Whiskey, it turns out, is an excellent motivator as there is nothing like a parrot creeping closer and closer to encourage one to work at double time. Fortunately, I have yet to be attacked by him; more because I am very good at running away than any particular fondness for me on his part. For those foolish enough to try and befriend him, he is viscous, as the scratches Rusty is currently supporting go to show.

Leading Horses
“Leading” the horses up to camp.

In other news, office life continues as per normal with the occasional benefit of joining a ride. My big projects at the moment are collating the data on agent bookings and producing revenue charts for Saddlebag Shuttles. This is in addition to being tech support, a role that ranges from providing the all-important Wi-Fi by plugging the router in, to prettying up Excel spreadsheets.


I also saw my first scorpion. Far more adorable than spiders, but I think I prefer to admire them from a distance, or may be through a computer screen. Two of them made an appearance at last night’s staff house braai (a better version of barbeque). Leoni, a freelance guide that occasionally works for Horizon, gave us a great talk about how tail thickness and pincer size are good indicators of sting nastiness. It is safe to say that the tapping out of my shoes each morning has increased in fervour.

He shall be mine and he shall be called squishy.

One of the new volunteers is also an Eleanor of uncertain spelling which has prompted much confusion, especially when we talk about ourselves in third person. No doubt this will continue to annoy us, and everyone in the surrounding vicinity, so perhaps a battle of the nicknames shall have to be carried out (I’m vetoing “Marcus’s Sister” in advance). Until such time as appropriate names are decided on however, I will be known as Elanor 1 and look forward to Tuesday evening when Elanor 1 and Eleanor 2 (of uncertain spelling) will be hosting together. Oh, what fun we shall have *grins evilly*.

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