Monday, July 16, 2007

At Safari Camp on dial-up internet

Hey, guys.

I can't post any photos or videos because I'm using dial up right now.  I'll have to post new photos and video when I get back.  We start heading home tomorrow and arrive back in Atlanta early Wednesday morning.  Yesterday I was able to write a blog that actually contains a little more thought and time as opposed to the other blogs of late.  Thanks for reading my blogs and sending me your warm and thoughtful messages. Y'all are truly awesome.


Today is Sunday.  We are now at our safari camp, Kings Camp.  We arrived yesterday afternoon and right after being shown our room (which is AMAZING) we immediately jumped into a jeep, with our safari driver, Monet (as in the painter), and went on our first safari drive.  The goal is to see "The Big 5," which consist of lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.  We didn't see all of the big five on our first drive but we saw two of the five, and several other animals.  We saw a pride of lions eating a buffalo they had killed the previous day.  The females, along with two cubs of different ages, were separated from the males.  The females kept trying to get to the buffalo meat (which was mostly a carcass at that point) but every time a lioness approached, a male would growl at her.  The two males were lightly napping beside of the carcass, but obviously still guarding it.  It was quite a thing to see.  By the way, the African buffalo does not look like the American buffalo—they look very different from each other.

We also saw a herd of elephant bathing in mud.  It was pretty hot yesterday afternoon so the elephants put mud all over their bodies to keep cool.  They were pretty funny to watch.  They saw us and made noises.  The guide said they didn't feel threatened in any way, because they are very use to seeing the jeeps.  The sounds they were making were more of a "Yeah, and what's it to you...." kind of gesture.

We saw several warthogs, some hyena, impala, several different bird species, a giraffe and a small school of hippos.  About 3/4 way into the safari we stopped for a cocktail—it was around sundown.  Awesome!  I know, right?!  Who woulda thunk it—a glass of Shiraz in the African bush.  The sundown drinks are called sundowners—go figure.  Anyway, after the drink we hopped back into the jeep and began our way back to the camp--taking the long scenic route.  When we started the drive it was about 80 degrees, but right after we got back in the jeep and started driving, the temperature dropped drastically, like 30 degrees, then another 10 degrees immediately after that.  Can you imagine that?  It went from nice and toasty to mother-fucking freezing in like 6.8 seconds.  We had an hour to go to get back to our camp.  We made it but I just about froze my ass off.  Unlike a crocodile, I'm not able to lower my heart rate to only a couple of beats per minute and survive freezing-cold temperatures.  I'm an American.  Central heat and air, along with Showtime and HBO are essential to my survival.

Once we made it back to camp, we hurled ourselves out of the jeep--it was like the jeep itself had somehow just flicked each of us from our seat.  I was never so glad to see the interior of a solid structure.  Since it was dark and we are in the wilds of South Africa, we have to be escorted to our room by a guide.  The guide comes equipped with a flashlight and walky-talky in case wild animals approach.  Little does he know that I would be long gone by the time he was able to reach someone on the two-way radio.  He would need to use the radio to dispatch a search and rescue team for me, if we were to encounter a wild animal en route to our room.

Once in our room, we found two robes had been laid out on the bed for us.  I went over to admire them and to my delight, there were hot-water bottles placed inside the folds of the robes.  I can't tell you when the last time I was so happy.  I jumped on the bed and placed one hot-water bottle (we'll call it Johnny—as in Depp) close to my stomach, took Mike's hot-water bottle (we'll call it George—as in Clooney) from his robe, placed it in my lap then curled into the fetal position.  There I lay for the next 45 minutes.  When they dropped us at our room, we were to prepare for dinner which is served at 8:00pm, about an hour after we returned from the safari drive.  At 7:45pm, Mike started nagging me that it was time to be escorted to dinner.  Could he not see the bond that had been created between me and my new loves?  Did he not care?  I felt torn--go with my husband or stay with the nice warm hot-water bottles—Johnny and George.  I was suddenly faced with Sophie's Choice.  I wondered if I could some way sneak the hot-water bottles out of my room, on my person, while we ate dinner.  Alas, I felt an obligation to leave the bliss of the hot-water bottles and have dinner with Mike, and just fantasize about how the Johnny and George felt against my body while we ate.

Dinner was served in a Boma—which is partly open to the elements (the center is open) and partly roofed.  Imagine a circle and along the curve is covered with a thatched roof and the center of the circle is open.  It's much like a donut.  We ate dinner in the donut—and it was good.  They served us a wonderful soup, ostrich (which I did not eat), an African staple much like chicken in the U.S., stir fry (which I did eat) with chicken and vegetables, and a desert.  After dinner, I quickly sought out our escort and eagerly walked back to our room.  Johnny and George were still there, waiting on me, and they didn't even hold a grudge.  They just got back into position and helped me to a good night's sleep.


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