Safari!

Trip Start Nov 19, 2002
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Trip End Dec 13, 2002


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Flag of Tanzania  ,
Friday, November 22, 2002

Jambo!!

Hello all from Africa!!  I am still alive in the land of the HOTTTT!  Wilting faster than a NW flower but enjoying it immensely.  A very unique experience.  Incomparable to America.

My safari consists of Millinga (my guide), Dowdy (my cook) and a Land Rover.  Sounds pretty extravagant.  But when you consider the GNP per capita is $200, it's actually quite affordable. Everybody else I saw on safari was similarly outfitted.

In Arusha, I was surprised by the number of street vendors.  And how aggressive they were. One thing I noticed about the people is how smart everybody dresses.  Even the schoolchildren with their uniforms.  Leaving Arusha, I saw several fields of coffee trees.  Agriculture makes up 60% of the country's GNP.  Dotted along the road were homes of every resource available:  mud, sticks, sheet metal, cement...you name it.

Lake Manyara National Park was the first stop on the safari.  At a distance the edge of the lake appeared white, almost salt-like.  Up close I saw the truth - thousands and thousands of flamingos.  Almost like a mirage changing before my eyes.

There are main roads that lead through clusters of trees.  Turn the corner, there's giraffe.  Turn another corner and there's elephant.  Just a few feet away.  You can look at all the pictures you want, but it's totally different once you get here.  Very surreal when it's right in front of you.

At one point, an adult male elephant strode right in front of the Land Rover.  Millinga said it was powerful enough to topple the vehicle and kill us if it wanted to.  A humbling thought to say the least. It's beginning to sink in that we're in nature now...on the animals' territory.  But the animals have very little interest in motor vehicles.  They mostly ignore us.  Not prey, not predator.  To them, we're about as interesting as a rock.

We came across a pack of baboons.  Millinga says you can spot the females in heat because of their red posteriors.  A few minutes later, a large male started chasing one.  She screamed and ran.  When he caught her behind some bushes, the noises stopped.  I turned to the Land Rover behind mine.  Everybody was grinning.  One thing I'm learning about nature is how uncensored it is.  Animals just act out whatever feelings, impulses or instincts they have.

Later we saw a herd of impala.  Millinga said the male was the one with the horns.  The rest were his harem.  Younger males travel in packs by themselves.

That night we camped at Panorama, on the hill overlooking the lake.  Very peaceful with lots of crickets chirping.  Sleeping outdoors here feels much different than back in the Cascades or Olympics.

Eric
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