Thursday, September 25, 2008

What I Learned about the Behavior of Animals

This blog isn't as meaningful to any of us now that I'm home, but I couldn't just leave it hanging without saying a formal goodbye to Tanzania and without imparting some of the interesting things I learned about animals.
Before I start, can I just say it's really REALLY good to be home.

Conversation after landing at DC airport:
ME: Look! Water fountains! Starbucks! Sanitary toilets! I'm so happy to be back in the United States of America.
KARIN: Does this mean you're going to take that Canadian flag off of your backpack?
Uh ... no.

Karin is doing much better, by the way. Unfortunately, I came down with something during the 35 hours of traveling home - got sort of a track record of getting sick after long spells of traveling, so hope it's just a cold/flu thing and not like, MY round of malaria.
Got some of those voodoo drugs from Tanz, just in case.

So. Animals.
Did you know ...
-That elephants mourn their dead?
-Elephants also throw dirt and mud on themselves (we witnessed this) to get rid of parasites
-Male lions kill the cubs in a pride in order to put the females back in heat. The females thus run away together frequently, taking their cubs with them and away from the danger. Kinda poetic ...
-Monkeys need a lot of nurturing. Bahati - the young blue monkey we met at the farm (the one who loved to chew on my ankles) sleeps with a toy mother that he hauls around with him, and also requires a surrogate mother ... one of the German Shepherds on the farm did the trick. He loved to pull on her ears.
- Male hippos spray their shit everywhere. It's because they swish their tails when they're taking a dump. It goes all over the grass and trees when they're on land. The elephants hate them for this.
- Impalas sleep in an out-facing circle. Like a fortress. Safety in numbers.
- Female ostriches puff out their feathers to look sexy when males are around ... then run like crazy when the male comes after them.
- Female giraffes also play sultry games of hard-to-get.
- Warthogs walk around on their knees when they eat. I have photographic proof. It's bizarre.
- Bugs are nasty. Although we did see a cute stick bug (it fell into Karin's hair from the grass roof of the dining hut on our northern safari). Saw a millipede (coulda been a centipede... but it had a lotta damn legs) scuffle across Steph's floor the night before we left. Thing was huge.
- And lastly .. There are, in fact, no tigers in Tanzania. But that could change any day.

We saw a lot of cool stuff out there and met some unforgettably warm individuals. it was truly an adventure and a great experience. Got some more FAB-O photos that hopefully you'll all get to see sometime. Like I said, I'm glad to be home. Thanks for reading! Hope to see/hear from you all soon. xoxo

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pesky Parasites

I don't want to alarm anyone (mom), but now that we're on the final stretch of our adventure, Karin's illness has sort of come to a head.

After really not being herself for ... almost the whole time we've been here, we may finally have a culprit. She's been suffering from headaches, cold symptoms and as of yesterday, nausea. last night she was unofficially diagnosed (by two German veterinarians whose lovely farm we stayed at last night - I'll get into that later) with - gulp - malaria.

The thing about malaria we've come to know and which i should share is this; despite the red flag of disaster it raises in the minds of most westerners, anyone you come across who lives in Tanzania has had it multiple times. Even white people. The Germans, for instance, who have lived here for more than 10 years, view it as something akin to having a head cold. It's just not that big of a deal...

This could be because there is an antidote that exists - one that, because it is not approved by the FDA - you'd never find in the US, or anywhere in Western Europe. It's called Arinate, and I don't know what the hell it is other than that these people swear by it and you get it in pharmacies here - it comes in a red box decorated with an ugly mosquito and contains 3 or 6 tablets. Sadly, even though it costs about $7, locals probably can't afford it, and just go through their lives acquiring more and more different kinds of parasites in their blood each time they get malaria (the Arinate kills the parasites). Luckily for Africans, in so doing, they build a certain level of immunity to the disease. ... or, uh, die of it.

So - I went to dinner in the farmhouse last night while Karin stayed in the room, feeling queasy, and when I apologized for her absence and explained her symptoms to Elizabeth (the German vet who runs the place), she very casually said, 'Oh. That sounds like malaria.'

She then gave me the first dose of the Arinate, which she happened to have on hand, Karin took it and our cab driver from Moshi to Arusha picked up more for us at the pharmacy. hopefully it's working and she'll feel better by tomorrow evening, when we have to get on a plane for 30 hours.

We are back in Dar now- having flown from Arusha this afternoon, making our third stop of the trip (two of them unnecessary) on the island of Zanzibar, as the local airlines want to make the most of their puddle jumpers, dragging all passengers along to each of the scheduled stops. Kinda like a bus.

Speaking of buses, we had our first (and last) experience riding the Dalla Dalla a few days ago. The Dalla Dalla is the public transport in this country. It's basically a minivan with bald tires that somehow fits about 40 passengers ... plus buckets of cement, giant bags of sand and all sorts of things that probably add up to a few tons. The Dalla Dalla is, essentially, a miracle of physics.

We decided to ride it when we were in Moshi the other day after we spent yet more money on a walking tour at the base of Kili. We opted for public transport, because it was half the price of taking a cab to the village where the walk began.

Our guide was a very nice guy named Ben, who shepherded us onto the Dalla- Karin and I smack in the backseat, wedged between a Maasai tour operator on Karin's side trying to sweet talk her into another tour somewhere, and a young guy on my side who gave me his shoes to hold as he exited the Dalla via the tiny back window (another miracle of physics) like the Dukes of Hazard.

As if it weren't enough that four of us were crammed in this tiny back seat that would have seated two people in our country, the guys running the thing began stuffing said bags of sand and things under our feet before ramming a giant bucket of concrete between the back of our seat and the backdoor - a space about as wide as a shoebox - and somehow, miraculously, CLOSED the door. It was truly amazing. With four 'rows' of seats in the back of the Dalla, each of which was full of four passengers, a few more stood with their necks craned, pretty much hugging the seated passengers, as the kid who took the money hung out the door and yet more passengers boarded at each stop, creating literally a moving can of sardines. On top of this, the road we were on to the village was dirt, full of huge holes and rocks - the kind of road you would never dare put a vehicle on unless it was a burly SUV. The Dalla is no Range Rover, but somehow we arrived (45 minutes later) at our stop without the roof or walls popping off.

The walk was nice. We were followed by children for some of it. Well, at least a little girl was walking ahead of us, pretending to go about her business, but looking behind her to make sure we were still there every few steps. When we stopped, she stopped. A couple of little boys tailed us all the way to the waterfall where we had lunch (greasy chips and hamburger bun with onions - the 'veggie' option - in a cardboard box). We gave our leftovers to the kids and they ate like they had never seen food before.

Can't stop thinking of their faces glancing up at us as they ate.

This kind of poverty among multi thousand-dollar safaris and expensive cab rides is one of the reasons i'm so ready to get out of here.

It has been, overall, a fantastic experience, but I am ready to go home.

One heartening oasis among the sad realities we've witnessed here was the Makoa Farm, where we stayed last night. We found it in the guide book and it sounded peaceful after two nights in the town center of Moshi listening to some Muslim dude wailing on the loudspeaker five times a day (beginning around 5 am).

Sure, the farm stay ended up being twice as much for room and board as we thought it would be (misunderstanding about the price of a double room being as is or per person), but at least i feel good about the last of my funds (minus another- the last thank god - cab ride to the airport and the cost of whatever we do tomorrow and surprise departure taxes, etc) going to such good people.

Elizabeth and her husband Laslo moved to Tanzania after falling in love with the place. They found this plot of land at the base of Kilimanjaro and set up a 350-square-acre farm, complete with hundreds of coffee trees and other crops, horses (their primary business is as a tour company offering multi-day horse-riding safaris), pigs, cows, donkeys and a number of African animals being rehabilitated. These include a three-legged serval cat (looks like a mini cheetah), a couple of owls, mongoose, warthog, malibu storks, bush babies and a young blue monkey named Bahati (not sure about the spelling, but in Swahili, this word means 'lucky'). He bounces all over the place, plays with the dogs and chews on people's ankles.

Elizabeth and Laslo also employ about 85 people and sponsor local children who prove worthy of furthering their education. One boy they're sponsoring - a 20-year-old named Saningo - walked with me to the nearby batcaves and through the local village, during which I got to see how he proved his worth for the sponsorship, because his English was impeccable and he was well-versed in just about everything. we had indepth discussions about the Tanzanian government, education, opportunity (or lack thereof) for development and so on.
All the food we had there (well, poor Karin only had one meal before she started throwing up) came fresh off the farm, complete with bread baked in the chimney, homemade juice and ice cream. this morning, the coffee was delivered to our room (more of a luxury tent, facing Kili, which was the first thing i saw when i opened my eyes this morning) with a saucer of milk for one of the dozens of cats at the place to hang out on the patio and enjoy while we had coffee/tea.
Mostly, it was inspiring to see how Elizabeth truly loved each of the animals in her care and sought the best life for them. AND obviously took special consideration of her guests, too (saving them from malaria and such).

As Karin and I were waiting for our plane back to Dar, discussing how weird it is that she probably has malaria, her comment was, 'better me than you.'
And, of course, I agree. Not that i think either one of us deserves it, but, as i told Karin, if one of us HAD to get it, she - as the stronger, braver and less neurotic of the two of us - is probably the better candidate. Not that i'm out of the woods yet.
Elizabeth advised that both of us get two boxes of Arinate to bring home, just to be on the safe side. This is the only thing on our agenda before we leave tomorrow.
The main thing is to get Karin feeling better. At least she managed to eat something tonight. We scrounged what we could find at Steph's place (two eggs, some rice and a tomato) and made dinner.
There is a lot i want to say about animal behavior before i leave Africa ... so stay tuned. Could be the departure blog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Cold North

Since I'm borrowing the office computer at the hotel we're at in Moshi - at the base of Kilamanjaro - I will make this short and sweet.
Physically speaking, it's not that chilly up here, but people here are a lot more ... businesslike than they seem to be down South and in Zanzibar.
Our Northern adventure began by getting off the plane (the largest we've seen in a while - could take like 16 passengers) in the rinky dink local airport in Arusha (consisting of the runway and a coffee shop, all outside) to find nobody to meet us.
After some panicking that I won't go into, we finally ended up with our safari guide - who was late - and got to the national park by nightfall, after seeing a lot of elephants and a lion in the distance on the way to the camp/lodge.
the 'camp' was pretty much a swank hotel lobby with a grass roof, complete with bar and dining area - and tents equipped with shower and toilet like the one we stayed in before... but really posh.
The food was good and the place was full of tourists - even americans, who we managed to go about 2 weeks without seeing. we ate more there than we did in the rest of our trip combined. Our driver - the guy who was late, Godwin - was very informative, but a bit icy.
These are people much more accustomed to dealing with tourists than others we've come across so far. Of course they're jaded.
The park was beautiful - the lodge looked over a vast valley, part of the Great Rift Valley, in fact - and we pretty much had a patio safari right there from our tent, where we could look down upon hundreds of elephants, zebras and wildebeasts drinking from what was left of the river below.
Today we moved parks to Lake Manyara, which was more a jungle than the dry savannah. it is fed from springs that come directly down from the west wall of the Rift Valley.
The highlight was seeing a lioness lounging in a tree - pretty cool.
Our Land Cruiser broke down right before we got back into Arusha, which convinced me that Arusha just doesn't like us.
After some mechanics met us at the gas station we clanked into, we were back on the road before dark.
Have no idea what Moshi looks like, as it was pitch black when we arrived, although we could see the top of Kili right before the light disappeared.
The owner of the tour company connected to our safari met us at our hotel for some reason -to give us back some money we wasted on a cab into town awhen our driver was late. he brought his wife and everyone but me drank tea (I had a Kilimanjaro beer. It just seemed like the right thing to do). None of us were much into small talk.
It was like sitting among statues. Awkward as fuck.
One of the nearby mosques has been blaring prayer calls for the entire evening and is still going.
I respect organized religion, and i know it's Ramadaan and whatever, but a loudspeaker? Really.
Tomorrow's plans are up in the air, but we are toying with the idea of doing a hike around the base of Kili. Maybe visit a coffee farm.
Hope everyone is well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Too Much Yelling

There comes a time in everyone's three-week vacation when things get a little stressful.
In the scheme of things, today was not nearly as stressful as it could have been. And it started out nice and chill.
For one thing, we cleared up our northern safari mixup and are now back on track to leave from the Dar airport tomorrow morning.
This morning began with our continental breakfast at the restaurant overlooking the water next to our bungalow. Instant coffee is not the greatest, but it's got caffeine and the breakfast did involve fruit, which is at the top of my list so far of Tanzanian cuisine (the Zanzibar dishes were pretty good too, full of lemongrass and other local spices).
Karin went diving this morning, and I - not being a certified diver or experienced in any way and not really wanting to pop my ears furiously while plummeting into frightening blackness surrounded by lurking sea creatures - opted out.
I went for a nice stroll on the beach, made possible by the receding tide (which, when high, makes virtually all the beaches in the area disappear). Took some stealth photos of the village women fishing, then made my way through the village itself, hidden behind the wall that separates the worlds - resort on one side, poverty-stricken hovel of a village on the other.
Though clearly out of place walking through (hello, big white blond girl), I smiled at everyone and said 'jambo,' which elicited from almost everyone a smile in turn and a 'karibu.' These people didn't want anything from me other than to say welcome. One older woman was sitting on the ground against a house. When i passed her, she was intensely staring me down and the term from Karin's guidebook for a respectful greeting - "shikamoo" - popped into my head. I said this to her and she nodded her head slowly.
After this, i jogged a couple miles down the magically materialized beach on the other side to an isolated end of the resort area called Kendwa. Have never in my life become so drenched in sweat as i get running a few miles in this country.
Got back to our bungalow to find Karin returned from her dive trip (fun, she said, but not much sea life), we cleaned up and packed up, had lunch and found our trusty cab driver - Haaman - arrived early to take us back to the ferry in Stone Town. We swerved around cow carts, barefoot walkers (the one street is really the only place to walk or bike or travel at all), black smoke-breathing buses, and got to the ferry early enough to have our bags swept up by a fake porter who later demanded 10,000 shillings for taking our stuff - without our consent - from the port entry to the ferry. We gave him 500 and he kept yelling at us in Swahili, but we didn't cave and finally he left.
The Ferry Ride.
Yeah ... it sucked. Much like the Dhow boat adventure, our journey was over extremely choppy waves and swells and the ferry - a very small rig that could accomodate about 75 passengers in an outdoor and indoor seating area - was literally catching air and lurching all over the place.
We started out in the outdoor seating area, but were getting pummelled by spray, so went inside, where, in an instant i began to feel woozy and went back out. It was a serious workout just hanging onto the railing and trying to stay upright as the boat lurched. The passengers were of all walks of life. Some European backpackers, some Zanzibari and Dar locals, some Muslim/Arabic looking women of the upper class, wearing gold rings on every finger and dressed from head to toe in their black headresses. In about 15 mins, one of the backpackers came outside to sit down. He began puking into a bag and, being closer than was desired to him, i swung on a boat lurch to the other side of the seating area near the Muslim women, only to have them start yaking, too.
Then, one of the local guys started yaking and the place became a regular puke fest.
Thankfully, hanging on for dear life and getting blasted by ocean spray was distraction enough to prevent me from losing my lunch.
Once back in Dar, there was a big skirmish that broke out as bags were being carried off the ferry. there was a shitload of yelling in swahili, followed by karin and i being trailed by 6 guys wanting to get us a cab/give us a city tour/demand imaginary documents, etc. We found Beka the cab driver, who i had called from the boat, waiting at the end of the line, and he thankfully drove us back to Steph's, where i sit right at this moment as Karin sleeps and Steph packs for a business trip.
Got a little headache. But hey ... it's not malaria.
More adventure is sure to come with our safari up north.
Whatwith all the changes of plans, i hope we make it to the wildlife park from the Arusha airport, which i hear is twice as chaotic as the ferry scene.
Just glad nobody's screaming into my ear right now.
Salaam (peace).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wind and Our Sails

Don't get the wrong idea. I don't feel deflated.
Well, maybe a little bit ... maybe just a bit concerned, seeing as we've booked this second safari up North in Tanz and our travel agent back home in Colorado is not keeping up with our eratic, ever-changing requests and now has us booked to fly out of Zanzibar (which was like 3 requests ago - totally wrong now), even though we've already purchased ferry tix back to Dar tomorrow, expecting to fly north on Tues. Eek. hopefully it doesn't burn an even larger hole in our pockets trying to clear this up (and hopefully we can still fly out on Tues as planned, since the connections and safari people are all lined up based on that).
Anyway, sorry to bore you with all of that.
We are here in Nyungi, the northern tip of Zanzibar, and one of the most beautiful corners of the world I've ever seen.
Nyungi is a tiny village full of shacks with grass huts and a jankass dirt road on which i'm amazed our cab didn't drop its muffler.
behind the village is a line of resort bungalows - still with grass roofs - but handling more money in one day than the whole village probably sees in a year.
Ironically, a lot of the villagers work in the resort.
We splurged and got a bungalow with a sea view (i mean, we're already going bankrupt, so why not?). The room itself is a basic piece of crap, but the view is phenomal and the Indian Ocean crashes up against the wooden pillars holding the place up.
When we arrived yesterday, we took a walk around, during which i got propositioned a couple times by local hustlers and a fake Masai warrior (he was skinny enough to look legit, and had giant earring holes and all, but the guy was wearing sun glasses. Come on).
The muslim culture doesn't seem to be quite so studiously intact up here, where white people walk around in bikinis and fake masais proposition people ...
still, the local women are all covered up in way too many clothes for the climate, and they even wear all their long, heavy layers right into the sea in the morning to walk around the low water looking for fish to catch by hand.
Today we took a boat trip in a Dhow (the fishing boats that people can be seen constructing on the beach - think Tom Hanks' masterpiece in Castaway. They burn the wood and make their own fishing nets and it's straight out of like 500 years ago). We went to this island - Mnemba - to go snorkeling, but it was a bit stormy and windy, so once we finally got there after getting tossed around on gigantic waves (luckily our Dhow -unlike the ones the local fishermen use - was equiped with an engine), we got pretty chilly trying to snorkel and didn't seem much sea life. The coral was gorgeous though. it came in giant, orange oyster shapes and in huge purple orbs.
dolphins were leaping in the water parallel to the boat, too, so that was cool.
we had lunch on a neighboring beach, had a horrendous time trying to get all of us white people back in the boat - it kept drifting out in the gigantic surf and we had to swim to it, which i achieved quite skillfully balancing my backpack containing my new expensive camera on my head (thank you Africans, for this brilliant technique).

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jesus Christ ... This computer just went into dyslexic mode,then didn't publish the second half of this blog - involving the story of our Dhow sail tearing in half in the gusts of wind that were supposed to carry us swiftly back to the bungalow beach and the tale of the village children demanding money despite one lucky capitalist (who certainly doesn't live in the local village and is most probably not Zanzabari or African in any way) making a shitload of money off all of this tourism. They were good stories ... i really don't have the gusto to retell them right now, though. Sorry. Will tell in person sometime soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Karibu Zanzibar

Karibu is Swahili for 'welcome,' and people say it all over Tanzania and in Zanzibar, too. it says a lot about the culture, how welcoming and helpful everyone is, which is especially surprising on an island which, 150 years ago, trafficked something like 40,000 slaves a year.
yes, zanzibar is known for its history of being the largest slave port from Africa during Sultan rule. We visited the area - now a gigantic cathedral - that served as the slave market. Creepy.
I am writing from our hotel - the Dhow Palace - in Stone Town - the hub of the island, full of ancient walls, forts, buildings and narrow, narrow streets and paths, all frequented by Muslims, the women decked out in head to toe black, passing by and watching you through their narrow eye slits. All the men who pass on janky bikes all say Jambo (the greeting which literally means, 'how are you?'), and some try to sell you spices and whatever they have, but they're not too persistent.
we walked around town mesmerized all day. there are far more tourists here than in Dar (but, in the scheme of tourist locations, not THAT many. look at a globe. Zanzibar is an island off the coast of East Africa. There are mainly African people here and we white people are definitely the minority). We just had a drink and watched the sunset from one of the super swank hotels on the beach.
Our hotel is probably the swankest place i've ever paid to stay in - the Arabic decor is everywhere - complete with raised beds with Sultan-like mosquito netting. Even in our tent in the jungle, Karin commented that sleeping under a mosquito net makes her feel like a princess.
Princesses probably really slept in the beds at this place.
Lucky for you all (and by 'you all' I mean, mom. If anyone is reading my blog, give a shout out. Don't be afraid to comment) I jumped on the one computer here, as Karin and I need to print out our tickets to Arusha - the next leg of our journey.
We are staying two more nights in Zanzibar, though, heading north tomorrow to stay in a bungalow on the beach and go snorkeling, etc.
Amazing how quickly one can arrange for transport around here. Cab drivers are crawling all over each other to lend you their services and the guy who took us to the hotel from the ferry asked if we were going north, we said yes, arranged a price that was $15 cheaper than we were expecting to pay (this is BY FAR the most expensive vacation i've ever taken, by the way. so much for my life savings, and so much for most of the country's inhabitants going around without shoes. who's getting all this money, anyway?), and we've got him all lined up to meet us at the hotel after breakfast. Easy.
So - we're off for a swahili dinner - pillows on the floor for seats and local music. Catchya...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Predators

Don't have a lot of time here - exhausted and have to get up in a few hours to take the ferry to Zanzibar, but wanted to let my loyal blog readers (mom) know that we made it safely back from our first safari adventure.

Selous- the largest animal preserve park in all of Africa - is incredible. As we flew in on our tiny, four-passenger plane (a Piper), i was immediately struck by a rather strong surge of cabin fever as i realized how we were truly in the middle of a fucking dry jungle in Africa.

Really, there is almost nothing there - just a few tiny houses, villages and safari camps full of palm leaf-roofed huts and tents.

We were transfered to our camp via safari land rover (with an open back and high seats), and on the way, baboons ran across the road and the place was lined with bones and skulls.
Our tent was deluxe - flushing toilet and working shower - all courtesy of the Rufigi River right outside.
The first afternoon, we met a fantasic Dutch couple - Mariska and Bas - who were our tablemates and adventure partners for the two days they were there.
We did a guided walk through the village outside of the camp, which was really something to see.
Here are people content with no electricity, one radio among the 4,000 of them for news about the outside world and a pool table in a grass hut for entertainment.
within 2 minutes of strolling through, we were tailed by about 40 of the village children, all of whom, upon seeing that we were the friendly variety of mzungu (white people), were holding our hands and wanting to model in our sunglasses.
Nights at the camp were filled with the sounds of wild animals - mainly the hippos in the river, who sound like they're laughing all the time - Haw haw haw - an occasional hyena (ooo-oop) and of course, the crashing and branch breaking of giant elephants walking through the camp.
One night, there was a lot of yelling in Swahili, as some scary thieves robbed the two tents on the end which led to screaming and the camp staff chasing the thieves through the forest. Crazy that this would happen in such a peaceful place were the greatest dangers are wild animals, where everyone knows each other, and where there's no easy way out.. the camp manager said it was the first time it had ever happened. we got lucky.
Anyway... the animals.We were about 20 minutes into the wildlife park - the only car around - as the southern part of Tanzania is much MUCH less crowded than the north, where most people go to safari. Our driver (Hamedia, who grew up in the the aforementioned village along with a few others on the camp staff, all of whom were the most hospitable and welcoming people around) spotted some elephants peeping at us through the trees. he killed the engine and about 10 elephants emerged, complete with baby in the middle and a huge angry guy at the end of the line. As they crossed the road, the big one flared its ears and ran its head into a tree. He was right behind the car. When he stepped onto the road, he threw his head around, flared his ears again and began to charge toward us. I turned to Hamedia, expecting him to start the engine and floor it, but he looked at me and said 'Hakunamatata' (remember from the Lion King? 'No Problem'). Sure enough, it was just a mock charge. The elephant turned and continued walking. Apparently mock charges are the general rule unless their target moves, in which case they charge and trample.
After this jaw-dropping scene, we saw crocodiles, monkeys, warthogs, a ton of giraffes, zebras and wildebeasts. As we reached the turnaround point - a huge lake, we had lunch, then went a bit farther, turned a corner and stumbled across ... not one, but TWELVE lions, all camped out under a tree. Yes, an entire pride of lions ...
There were four adult females, some adolescents and a cub, all intertwined lazily in the roots of the tree, some on their backs, some on their sides, some with their heads pressed together, some getting up to stretch, some staring at us ...
It was UNbelievable. I could have watched them for hours ... could have watched their every move. Instead, we watched them for about 20 minutes, then drove a few yards away to find the male lion passed out under a palm bush. He was on his back with his bloody teeth showing. He hardly moved at all in the 15 minutes we stopped there staring, but i got about 60 photos of those bloody teeth.
On our second safari drive, we came across the same pride - this time camped out under the tree we'd had lunch under our first day. This time, a lioness was lying a bit away from the rest of the group with the remains of her kill right next to her ... The head and neck of a zebra minus the eyes (which they eat first, we were told), its legs and its rib cage, stripped of the meat. Vultures were perched overhead waiting.
Had i seen this on Animal Planet, I might be a bit disgusted. In reality, it was fascinating. The other lions all looked like they'd overeaten. But still adorable, on their backs, sleeping and being lazy ... ignoring us.
So yeah. Lions. They are so SO awesome.
After our trip to Zanzibar, we will go on another short safari in the north. These are going to be hard to beat ...
Back at Steph's now in Dar. Karin - poor thing - is sick. I am williing myself not to be. Went on another little run with the expats tonight - they do their 5K every week. Refreshing. Needed some exercise after doing nothing but sitting in a car or boat or pacing around a camp where you couldn't leave for fear of being trampled by an elephant or decapitated by a lion for 5 days.
Until next time ..
Oh wait. Steph has something in her swamp cooler. It's scampering. Let's hope it's a gecko ..