My African Photos Safari - Journal Entry #9 - August 27, 1988

Good Morning, Ann and Kathy, are you awake?" asked Lenny.

Could the morning be here already? I thought. "Good morning Lenny. Yes, we're awake."

I immediately threw off the nice, warm covers and got out of bed. I didn't want to be late again, like yesterday morning! It would be so easy to slip back into an exhausted, coma-like sleep if I didn't get up right then. It was 5:00 a.m., and a very cool morning at the Masai Mara River Camp, in Kenya. I hurriedly washed my face, got dressed, and quickly walked to the dining room. Ron and Nancy were there before me. I felt as if I had sleepwalked there, as I was still very drowsy. I poured a cup of hot tea, and slowly stirred some sugar into it, and hoped that the caffeine and sugar buzz would wake me up. I was still dark out. Don was next to arrive, and already looked awake. He poured himself a cup of coffee, and sat with Nancy and Ron. I still sat at the coffee bar, as I didn't feel like talking yet. Finally the tea kicked in, I woke up, and joined Nancy, Ron, and Don.

The kitchen wasn't open at that hour so we finished our breakfast beverages, and hurried back to the tents to gather our cameras and film, and headed toward the vans. That day Len Jr., Don, and I were riding together.

We left the Masai Mara River Camp and crossed the Mara River on a bridge that looked to be well constructed. The road was muddy from the rain of the previous night. We were on an extended drive to a place in the Mara where a high concentration of migrating wildebeest were known to be, at that time of year. (August) We passed the burial site of Denys Finch Hatton. (The character played by Robert Redford in the film, "Out of Africa," based on a true story written by Isak Dinesen - Karen Blixen)

We drove on and saw many zebra, topi, and a group of three lionesses sleeping on a small, knoll with amber grass, and a mother cheetah with her cub. I took several photos of the cheetahs interacting together.

We drove on towards our destination of the day, of seeing the world famous wildebeest migration. Several hours later, we arrived at a hut-like designed lodge, though I've forgotten the name of, with beautiful gardens. A burgundy shade of bougainvillea, grew near the far side of the lodge. Yellow, red, blue, white, and pink flowers, also grew in the well manicured gardens. I believe everyone in our group used the facilities. Then I walked over to where Len Sr., Len Jr., Ron, and Cliff, were all bending down, looking at something, which was an elephant skull, minus the tusks. (ivory). The teeth, especially the molars, were very large, and used for grinding the very fibrous plant diet of elephants.

The sun had recently become visible, and the sky was a shade of light blue, with puffy, white clouds. Lenny looked at my hair, stroked his beard, and said, "You've got some gray in your hair, like my beard." I joked with him and said, "It must be all the stress from this trip." Then I went on and said, "No, I'm just kidding. I've been getting gray hairs for a few years now."

We all piled into our separate vans and headed on to where the migrating wildebeest were. We arrived to witness several thousand running across the Mara plains between a few lone acacia trees.

Most of them were in a single-file formation, with a few, two and three abreast.

After we saw this exciting migration spectacle, we saw several more zebra, including a mother zebra with her four day old foal. I took several photos of this mother Grant's Zebra and her young foal.

After we stayed with the mother zebra and her foal for about 45 minutes, we turned around and started on the long drive back to the Mara River Camp, and arrived at dusk. I had time for a shower before dinner. Ann and I arrived among the first in our group that night. This was to be our last dinner together at the River Camp. We all held hands and Lenny said grace, as he always did before each dinner we had together. We spoke of what we'd seen that day, with the wildebeest migration as the highlight. We didn't get our wish of seeing the extremely endangered Wild African Dogs again that we'd seen the previous day.

I decided to say good night early, as 5:00 a.m. rolls around very quickly. It was raining again, when I got the area of the camp where the guests need to pass through from the dining room back to their tents. A Masai man of about my age, walked me to my tent. I had an umbrella, and held it over both of us. He had a spear with him. As I mentioned in an earlier journal entry, there was a rule that all guests needed to be escorted back to their tents after nightfall. As my Masai guide said, "The hippos have cross dispositions." I said to him, "Kiboko cali," (Grouchy hippos), and we both laughed. I asked him his name, but unfortunately forgot it, as it was hard for me to pronounce and remember. For years he had worn weighted, wooden gauges in his ears, gradually increasing the weight to stretch out the earlobes, so they become very thin, and extremely elongated so they reached just short, of the top of his shoulders. This was a cultural body modification. He had his earlobes looped up, around the top part of his ears, to appear more, "mainstream." I thought, it was sad that things got to the point where the Masai, in their own country, were made to feel like they had to look like everyone else, so as not to alarm tourists. (During my time in Kenya, I saw several Masai women and men, using empty plastic film canisters, in place of the traditional wood earlobe gauges. The film canisters seemed to be just the right size for as far as some people wanted to stretch their earlobes.) I told the Masai escort, "Asante sana." - (Thank you very much.) He replied, "Nakwenda sasa," - (I am going now) and he silently disappeared into the night.

I unlocked the lock on the tent and removed my shoes before going inside. I cleaned my cameras and lenses, made an entry in my journal, and got ready to sleep. I heard the laughter of the drivers, in the still night air, as their tent was just behind ours. I still had the lamp on and saw a bat fly through the tent. There was a space between the the canvas tent-which was just four walls of canvas with no attached canvas ceiling. The roof/ceiling, was an actual thatched structure, that the four sides of the tent set under.

My first thought was, "Bats can carry rabies," as I watched it make another silent, fluttery pass through the tent. Then, mercifully, it few out as silently as it had entered. I must admit it, bats creep me out. I don't mind spiders and snakes, but bats . . . just no. After the bat's departure, I turned off the lamp and listened to the sounds of the African night; the hippos grunting, the high pitched braying of zebras, and bird calls. I heard Ann come in sometime later in the night, and fell back asleep.

Anotado por kathleenlryan kathleenlryan, diciembre 02, lunes 23:27

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