Deeds of Derring-Don’t

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‘The Child is at it again’

First, before you even think about correcting me in the comments (though commenting is always welcome) the term is indeed “derring-do” — not “daring-do.” I googled it. Middle English term, first used in 1579. And it means just what you think it means.

An early example of Childlike derring-do. BTW, If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump too? (Pretty good story, incidentally)

Second, I’m sorry to be so goldarned late with this post. (That is, if you noticed.) Yesterday, my regular Tuesday Posting Day, was also Old Apartment Closing Day, and I was sweating bullets until those funds got wired — anything can happen with a sale, you know — that I couldn’t even think about being amusing.

There was some serious celebrating chez Ken and Barbie

I’m not sure I can crank it up so well today, either. We did a bit of celebrating last night and well, um, let’s just say I was feeling no pain — until this morning.

Luckily, with The Child in my world, I never lack for a topic. This one was handed me on a silver platter, via Instagram.

Well. It’s a good thing that The Child and The Beau found each other. If either of them tried to marry anyone else, he/she would expire on the honeymoon

Yup. The Child and The Beau did this thing called Rim2Rim2Rim (or even R2R2R). Which means that you run down one side of the Grand Canyon, across the canyon floor, up the other rim, then run back down, back across the canyon floor — and then back up the first rim. We’re talking 40-something miles, plus the ups and downs. Doing this is sort of like running two marathons while climbing Mt. Everest.

For those of you who like stats

It’s not really bragging to write about The Child doing this. It’s more like utter astonishment. With my lumbar issues, I consider it an accomplishment to climb the stairs. Is there a B2K2B (Bedroom2Kitchen2Bedroom)?

That little speck is The Beau doing something you will never catch me doing — running along the edge of a cliff

I don’t know why I was so surprised that The Child did this Thing. For one so young, she has a pretty impressive record of derring-do-type deeds: swinging from bars, scrambling up walls, trekking on trails. She enjoyed jumping from planes so much she did it twice. (Photo at the top of this post shows her grinning mid-leap.)

Swinging from bars. When she was in high school. Though this was not part of the curriculum

Here she was last summer, beginning her 200-mile, 3-week solo hike of the John Muir Trail

Because I am lazy and nursing a hangover, here are a few more shots from this latest adventure. Incidentally, they started at 5am and finished at 7pm.

 

More fun facts for stats fans

Oh. I almost forgot. The point of this post, other than to brag about The Child, is supposed to be how cute it is when couples share a hobby. You know, like Scrabble or golf. Dude Man and I both dig birdwatching. Which sounds like a pretty tame hobby, I know. Except that we like to do it in really remote, fairly dangerous (leeches! armed guards!) locations. So maybe the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Essential birding gear in Uganda: binoculars and an automatic weapon

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that The Child likes to do stuff like this. After all, there was some foreshadowing:

Amagansett, New York. November 2020

 

 

 

Social distancing, the Borneo Way

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‘Forget masks and Purell; just crack open a Durian’

A couple of weeks and a lifetime ago, we were birding our way along a highway (and I do mean “high”) up in the mountains of Borneo when a ramshackle car sputtered to a halt on a steep stretch of roadway right alongside us.

Another roadside attraction. Nope, The Dude isn’t looking at that gorgeous mountain. There’s a bird over yonder somewhere

Our guide sauntered over to see what was what and reported back that the driver was on his way to the City (in this case, Kota Kinabalu) with a load of fruit to sell. He and his load couldn’t make it up the incline, so he pulled over for a smoke.

That’s Mt. Kinabalu, at sunset of the day we survived the durian episode

Now, we’re in Borneo, remember, so by “load of fruit” I don’t mean a whole batch of apples or pears. Not even pineapples or bananas. Nope, these “fruits” were completely unrecognizable. Our guide Hamit (a name I committed to memory by using the mnemonic “hah! meat!”, because what passed for meat in Borneo was pretty darned amusing) — well, Hamit thought it was pretty darned amusing to offer us tastes of some of these fruits and then watch our faces.

That’s Hamit on the right. I not only forgot the guy on the left’s name, but also his mnemonic. He was our driver, and he didn’t make us eat any fruit

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What could possibly be worse than a rainforest full of leeches?

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‘Well, how about a cave full of bats?’

If you are the least bit squeamish, you may wish to skip this week’s much-belated post. Belated, because I’ve been bird-hunting in Borneo.

Through a glass, but not darkly, I spot my target: perhaps a hairy drongo?

Borneo boasts lots of lovely avian species, but has less than adequate WiFi. Not that I’m complaining; it’s actually refreshing to be less-than-connected, especially when the news Back Home is of political plotting and pandemic panic.

Speaking of panic, here is the interior of the plane we took from Kota Kinabalu to Taipei, where I started writing this piece

I’m in an airport lounge (thank you, AmEx) writing away while awaiting our plane to JFK — which will be 14 1/2 hours in duration, two hours less than our flight to get here.

As I mentioned, the Bornean birds are beauteous. But one must deal with — gasp — leeches. And, although we took the Proper Precautions (see my piece “Leech Sock it to Me!” for ghastly detail), the little buggers weren’t daunted. Leech socks, as I squeamishly explained, are supposed to keep leeches from inch-worming their way up your pant legs.

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Leech Sock it to me!

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‘If you thought the Amazon had some scary parts, just wait till you hear about Borneo’

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m dating myself when I use terms like “sock it to me” in my stories. But hey, I’m a Woman of a Certain Age with a Certain Television History, which includes not only Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (of “sock it to me” fame) but Hullabaloo and That Was The Week That Was.

But this isn’t a piece about TV. (Though in a sec or two you’ll probably wish it was). I referenced those shows to explain my title and to admit to the fact that I have, as they say, been around the block a time or two.

One of the last times I went around the block — to Starbucks — they got my name amusingly wrong

I’ve also been to Guyana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, to the Amazon (twice) and to Panama (five times, but who’s counting — besides me?)

But never — ever — while reading the materials one is sent in preparation for said trips have I stumbled upon a passage like this one:

“Beware of loose netting in sleeves, backs, pockets, or pant legs that could allow leeches to crawl in. You may want to bring a pair of leech socks or buy some in Borneo.”

Leech socks”?!? “My stars and garters!” she exclaimed, continuing her Geezer-phrase sock-theme, “what’s this about leeches?!?” (BTW, the socks in the photo at the top of this post are most definitely not leech socks. They are parakeet socks.)

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