As I bumped along giddily at the back of the jeep, whizzing through the largest faunal reserve in the world, I realized that a bucket-list dream had been fulfilled. I’d made it to Selous. The smell of warm earth and animal hair mixed in with a metallic scent, like a faraway rain cloud, and enveloped every sense. Soon I would be rewarded with every big-game watcher’s thrilling safari first: the lion a footstep away, a hippo’s yawn, an elephant on the other side of a canvas wall, crashing down branches and munching. It was spellbinding, and the waterscape of lakes and ancient bird-covered islands made it feel like an impenetrable, forgotten land.
There are a few things in this world that would make anybody gasp. My bet is that the full moon rising over an immense tabular iceberg is one of them. Call me crazy. As I sat down with my group of 10 MTS guests to enjoy yet another delicious supper aboard the Akademik Ioffe, probably none of us imagined that our meal would be interrupted by a sight that would feed our souls more than any meal could possibly fill our bellies. And it might have gone largely unnoticed—at least by me—had it not been for another passenger’s barely-heard comment: “Nigel, look at the MOON!”
Perhaps one of the most enduring “enigmas” of the Inca culture is the method by which their stonemasons crafted the building blocks of such intricate and monumental structures as Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, and the city of Cusco itself. Much is said about the meticulous joinery and finely worked contours of the massive stones used in Inca architecture, but it’s hard to truly appreciate it until you’ve seen it firsthand.