Monday, November 19, 2007

Sleeping on Safari

So many things to blog about, so little time.
The problem with camping in the wilds of Botswana, is that you don’t have access to your laptop when blog-worthy things happen. Then you get back to civilization, have a sandwich, and it starts seeming less vitally important to get this stuff down. Not to mention, that your office is super-chilled to -20 degrees Celsius (perhaps in an attempt to remind you of home?), and your fingers literally are too cold to type.

That being said, you really must know about this:
We went camping in Botswana on an honest-to-goodness safari.
There are many things that you should know before you attempt such a thing. The footprints of animals that come through your camp at night (explained in last blog) is one of them.
Here is another.

When you are trying to fall asleep in the middle of Botswana in a little canvas tent, thinking about how your guide said that lions see tents as big things like rocks, instead of yummy things, like canvas-wrapped dinner, and you hear a couple of twigs crack to your left, then another one not as far to the left, and then you hear a very low rumbly sound, kind of like you might imagine a lion would make if it is purring, and then you hear the cook’s voice whisper urgently from his tent to the guide “Gideon, Gideon a lion is coming to eat us (items in italics are my translation from Tswana language) –-- you would do well to lie very still, and think calm thoughts so that the lion cannot smell your fear, and suddenly make an evolutionary leap and figure out the whole canvas tent thing.
You would also do well to refrain from waking up your slumbering partner, for fear he will wake with a start, sit up, mutter something, and attract the lion’s attention.

You will be surprised how relieved you will be in the morning to find out that it was only a large elephant and a hyena in your camp, instead of a lion.

Really, you should take earplugs. Lions tend to roar, and they do this every half hour or so. Especially after they’ve killed something, or want to talk to their lion buddies a couple of kilometers in the other direction. If you don’t take ear plugs, you will quickly learn the difference between one lion roaring to his buddies, and 32 lionesses doing their group roar to celebrate elephant for dinner. Once you start trusting that the lions won’t attempt to unzip your canvas tent, then the sound of lions roaring all night gradually becomes less exciting, and more annoying.

Don’t even get me started on the noises hippos make.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Safari Update

Just spent a week camping in the wilds of Botswana. Awesome trip. Awesome group of people. Awesome animal sightings.
And, more importantly, some seriously funny blog posts.
Gotta do laundry first though.
Stay tuned.
Here's a teaser to keep you interested:
You know it's a good time when you wake up every morning and check to see what wild animals came through your campsite overnight and left tracks.
Big paws with no claw marks are lions.
Smaller paw marks with claw marks are jackals.
Big round lily-pad things are elephants.