|We met up with the Moglie crew and the Rupert crew in Nelspruit and had a nice lunch together before heading on our way to St. Lucia via Swaziland. We reached the boarder post and had to stand in line to get through, it took a while and I was getting rather impatient as I wanted to see what Swaziland had to offer before the sun set. The sunset was beautiful and the countryside was stunning with beautiful mountains and rolling hills. The people were very friendly and the children were so beautiful strapped to their mother's backs. It is amazing what the women manage to carry on their heads. The buildings in Swaziland were beautiful and I especially enjoyed the rondovals (round houses) with their thatched roofs. We decided to stop for dinner in a "traditional" restaurant, the only place we could find was more colonial than any restaurant I have been to yet. It was actually a really humorous meal because they didn't have half the menu available and the boys all ended up getting burgers. Unfortunately they were out of buns, so they all just got chicken patties on a piece of lettuce. I was rolling and the guys weren't too fussed though they left still a bit hungry I think. After the "meal" we continued on our journey towards St. Lucia and Jess and I sang at the top of our lungs to The Killers the whole ride there. We have really got to know one another well on the trip thus far and have been taking a lot about her coming to visit when I am back in California. It would be great to be able to show her around!
We finally made it to St. Lucia after about a billion speed bumps and crazy truck drivers and Jess and I were so exhausted that we just decided to sleep in the car rather than set up tent. In the morning Jess and I went for a short run and saw about 50 mongooses run through the site and the birds were singing so loudly!! It really was like we were hanging out in the jungle. So different than anywhere we had been yet and so tropical. Our run took us around the lagoon where a ton of hippo and crocs were hanging out in the water. There were also vervet monkeys everywhere!
We got back to camp and washed up and were on our way to explore St. Lucia when we got a phone call from Jess's mom. There had been a terrible family emergency and we had to make a plan to get Jess home as soon as possible. We went back to camp and packed Jess up and then Charlie and Laura drove while I sat in the back with Jess on the way to Durban air port. It broke my heart to see Jess so distraught, but I was glad that we would be able to get her to her family soon. The drive to Durban was long and sad, and seeing Jess off in the airport was no easy task. I said my goodbyes though didn't want to see my partner in crime go.
The drive back to St. Lucia was a long one and by the time we got back to camp we were all exhausted. Everyone was rather somber and I ate dinner and went straight to bed and fell asleep to the sounds of the boys singing around the campfire. The rest of the trip would not be the same without her and I knew I would miss her terribly. So much changed in just one day.
The next few days at St. Lucia were relaxing, we took things slow and just tried to make sense of the situation. Jess wanted us to continue the trip and just bring back the Jeep when we were done, so that is what we decided we would do even though there were no insured drivers for the jeep, we just had to be careful.
We spent lots of time on the beaches of St. Lucia eating fresh pineapple and swimming in the water. We played Boule on the beach and watched some stunning sunsets. We went on some nice walks and I got to know everyone a lot better as we enjoyed some long conversations.
On our last morning we packed up camp in St. Lucia and headed towards Huluwe-umfoloza game reserve.