’Though the sky sure as heck looks like we might be’
I thought I might have to skip a weekly blog post (quelhorreur!) but it looks like I have internet here in Uganda, at least for the moment — the key words being ‘for the moment’.
So this’ll be a quickie. Mainly photos, with a witty bit of banter as filler. (Fingers crossed on the ‘witty’ as well as the internet access.)
Let’s start with that picture up top, showing an extremely scary (at least to this Former Midwesterner) sky. Some of our intrepid birding band were actually on board that little mainly-metal lightning-bait boat and insisting upon chugging upstream to clap their eyes on the Murchison Falls—no matter that the sky looked like the one that whipped Dorothy off to Oz. But cooler heads prevailed. Thank heaven for our Hipster Birder Leader, who insisted on herding us all safely to shelter, where some disgruntled mumbling ensued while we waited out the maelstrom. We (finally) did get to chug on up the Nile.
We missed the Falls, but not the boat. Thank you for not making me a Lightning Rod, dear Hipster Leader (the guy at left, not behind me. Duh)
On the Nile, we found plenty to amuse, including crocodiles and hippos. And (of course) plenty of birds, pointed out by our afore-mentioned Leader, who was himself a rare specimen—a birder sporting not only Hipster Headgear, but a beard, a ponytail, and plenty of tatts (though none of birds, I noticed.) He was also really into martial arts.Continue reading
‘How could I resist sharing these tidbits with you?’
‘Jambo’, everybody! And other forms of greeting. It’s considered less-than-cool to photograph people in Kenya and Tanzania, at least not without their permission. (I’m totally on board with this; I only mention it to explain my lack of people-in-the-scenery shots.) But it is the ‘done thing’ to say ‘jambo’ to everyone you meet. It’s Swahili for ‘hello’, and it’s pronounced sort of like ‘jumbo’, so the first time someone said it to me, I was rather taken aback. But then I got into the swing of things, and was ‘jambo’-ing like crazy.
Little kids in school uniforms got a real kick out of this. They’d wave gaily at us as we passed by in our safari-mobile, shouting back ‘how are you?’. (At least they didn’t shout ‘shikamo’, which is the greeting used when meeting an elder.) Such waving and smiling! I’ve never felt so much like a Clinton County Fair Queen in my life.Continue reading
Not even in New York City have I heard of traffic having to stop to make way for zebra crossing the road. (‘Zebra crossing’; couldn’t help myself.) Though I have heard that elephants used to tie up whatever traffic was happening at three in the morning whenever the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus was in town.
Maybe that’s not an official elephant crossing. But who’s going to argue? Not those guys on the left, anyway
But this post isn’t about zebras, or even about elephants. Though we did in fact see a very wide range of animals crossing the road whenever the spirit moved them: warthogs, wildebeest, hyena, baboons, impala, gazelle, ostrich. And goats. Many many goats.Continue reading
First things first. Yes, yes. I know that the picture at the top of this post is not of a leopard. (Though leopards, not lions, according to our Amazing Guide Donald, are the cats one expects to find draped in trees. Though only one at a time. Leopards, apparently, are loners. Lions like being with other lions. There were actually two more lions draped in this one tree. I just couldn’t fit them into the picture.)
‘Let sleeping lions lie’, I always say. At least when I’m this close to one
While lions, contrary to the evidence in that photo, do not exactly grow on trees, we were very lucky safari-goers, lion wise. We saw not only lions sleeping in trees, but lions sleeping in the grass. And sleeping on these huge rocks called ‘kopje‘. (For you ‘Lion King’ movie fans, that’s where the Big Boss Lion lived.) We even saw lions not sleeping. One rather large male even crossed the road right in front of us. Each of us remained very still, and tried not to look like a warthog, which is one of his favorite foods.Continue reading