Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Africa! Safari! (Not the Killing Kind)

Warning Moja: This post was so long that it took me a while to do it.

Warning Mbili: I might use some Swahili in this post, so if you don’t understand it, just ignore it.

Warning Tatu: There will be talk (and maybe photos) of poop and blood and guts.

You have been warned.

See? I told you.

This is my official post about my recent trip to Tanzania. Because I usually forget to take a lot of photos on trips, I took three times the number I usually do to appease you, my readers. The problem now is that I have so many photos, and it’s hard to sort through them all. But here you go, my readers. Here is an account of my trip.

Jambo. When a lot of people plan trips to Tanzania, in their itinerary is some kind of crazy hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. I assure you that I did none of this on my trip. In fact, the first day it was so cloudy that we had a hard time seeing Mount Kilimanjaro. But, we finally saw it. I didn’t get a great photo of it. Sorry. This was a relaxing vacation. Relaxing. We stayed in places that looked like this:

And we piled in Land Rovers with our luggage under tarps atop the Rovers.

And we drove.

And drove (beautiful skies were everywhere).

And stopped for a picnic lunch under an acacia tree.

Acacia trees have thorns.

I sat on one. Ouch.

We drove some more, but sometimes our road, which very frequently passed by huge ant and/or termite hills, was under construction.

By ‘under construction’ I mean that there were large piles of rocks spaced a few yards apart from each other. So sometimes we had to go another way. By ‘go another way’ I mean that we wandered around and got lost for a little while until the drivers stopped to ask for directions or had frequent and intense discussions with each other in Swahili on their cell phones. My rover’s driver, Omari, had the ring tone of a rooster crowing which was not at all annoying. <= sarcasm (It wasn’t really that bad, just kind of tiring after a week.)

And after we reached our destination, we’d typically find a nice tent with a nice bed.

With maybe a tiny bed that I slept in off to the side. I should have just slept in the big bed with Emily because I was taller than the bed.

Sometimes we had to pour our sink water with a pitcher, but at least they had some nifty bathrobes for us to use if we wanted. I was too scared of spiders to use them, though. Also, who has worn the robes previously, and when were they last washed?

At this particular location we had to order our showers. We had to tell them when we wanted to shower, and then they’d bring hot water by and fill up these bags outside our tents which were attached to wood or bamboo pipes, which were attached to pull-string shower heads. I fortunately didn’t ever unintentionally dump water on my head on this trip like I did at the Dead Sea last year.

A lot of the ceilings at lodges where we stayed looked like this. I’m not sure why they don’t make more use of this architecture here in the states. It might have something to do with snow and not wanting to replace the roof every few years.

The places where we stayed came complete with warnings about where to walk and when to walk. Some of them had apparatuses to keep animals out. We also had tribal warriors walk us to our tents in on place. Part of me wondered if it was really necessary and if they were just trying to get more tips out of us. It’s all part of the tourist experience, I guess.

You can see some of the stick walls that were put up to keep animals out in this place. If you look closely, you can also see a monkey named “Waldo.”

And then it started to get dark.

After sleeping we would repeat the same day as before with some differences. Sometimes we’d see a variety of animals.

Asante sana squash banana.

Baboons really do throw sticks at your land rover. And if you park under them like our guide did, they poop and pee on your land rover.

Their bums are funny.

One time we went on a walking tour and saw water buffalo. They all look mean, but they’re actually friends with pumbas (warthogs). You can be a big pig, too. Oy!

Sometimes we just saw dead animals. Can you pick out what kind of animal this is?

Are you right?

Our group arranged to bring donated textbooks and supplies to a public library for people who can’t attend public schools as well as an orphanage. These three were the coolest, and they liked me because I also left some Happy Factory toys with them.

These two were my favorites at the orphanage. They held my hands practically the whole time we were there.

Their favorite toys were our cameras, though. I’m not sure who took this photo (maybe one of the kids?), but it’s the best.

While each day wasn’t exactly the same, we did mostly see animals. We saw thousands of zebras.

And thousands of Wildebeests.

Wildebeests and zebras are friends.

We also saw elephants.

For to march and drill over field and hill is a military goal!

The sky was also so beautiful.

The trees were cool.

It was really dirty, so sometimes I had to take a bird bath.

Just like the birds.

One time we stayed on a coffee plantation that also had botanical gardens. The dining hall was so cute! Look at it! It's so cute that it's almost like we're in a movie!

Some of these photos are from there.

Aww, look at little Simba.

And his mom.

And a photo of a roaming mail lion. He must be looking for Pride Rock (or his wife or something).

Watch out for the wildebeests, Mufasa!

There could be cunning hyenas waiting to scare them! (I cried when Mufasa died.) (Sorry if I spoiled it for you. Mufasa dies.) (Yes, there are flamingos in the distance.)

Here is a drive-by shot I took of some lions in a Renaissance art pose. Am I right?

Or maybe they were dancing, like Alex from Madagascar 2. What do you think, Marty?

Melman?

Gloria?

Moto Moto? (He likes ‘em chunky.)

This one night I woke up to a strange noise outside, so I got up and looked out, and behold! There was a hippopotamus about 15 feet away from me chomping on the grass! (Not pictured.)

In another instance a hippopotamus (either Gloria or Moto Moto pictured above) was marking its territory. They do this by pooping in your general direction and swishing their tails through the poop. It works for me. I'm not going to go step by their swishing poop tail. (I told you there would be talk of blood, guts, and poop. I don't want to hear any complaints, especially if you made it this far.)

We stopped at a couple of Maasai Villages. They make their huts out of sticks, grass, and cow dung. I went in one of the huts.

I have now been in a house of dung. They just had their fire going the whole time inside the dung hut.

This particular village was so great. They put on a little show for us and gave us a tour. We went to a little schoolhouse, and the kids were so cute! I guess little dirty kids just pull at your heart strings.

These are some kids from another village. They weren’t quite as … welcoming, but they sure did like to have their photos taken.

There are the “Big Five” killers that people like to see when they go to Africa: elephants, water buffalo, lions, leopards, and rhinoceros. I didn’t get a good photo of a rhinoceros. Sorry about that. Anyway, we were worried that we wouldn’t get to see them all. It was our last day on the Serengeti, and we hadn’t seen a leopard or even a cheetah yet. Hakuna Matata is what we kept saying. Well, look what we saw in the morning:

A leopard! You know this because it is in a tree. Cheetahs don't have the claws to climb trees.

And in the afternoon we drove right up to a cheetah having recently made a kill. And look! She has her cubs with her!

The cubs were scaredy cats. They were so jumpy. They’d hear something and run away. And then they’d slowly, slowly make their way back to the food.

And sometimes they had to turn the animal over to get to a new, delicious part.

Om nom nom nom.

So, there were also birds that we saw.

Did I mention the birds?

They’re just singing “We your friends! We your friends! We your friends to the bitter end! (…the bitter end…)

THE END

PS We also spent some time in Amsterdam (not pictured).

10 comments:

Ruth said...

I would love to go to Africa! Some day, I will go. I saw pictures of you in Africa, because my husband's cousin went with you!

julie said...

Awesome!

I love how much information you can get in a post without making it take 5 hours to read. I need to take pointers from you. Your pictures are great. It's so cool that you saw all these animals in their natural habitat - not a zoo. What was the temperature? Hot? Warm but not too bad?

Looks like you had a fun time! Yay!

Mellissa said...

That was definitely a highly entertaining "photos from my trip" post! I enjoyed all your "Lion King" references. You nut.

And yes, dirty little kids tug at your heart strings. So do clean little ones. That would have been hard for me to see.

I'm glad you had fun.

Sarah said...

Excellent!

Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

Clarification question: was your statement about Mufasa dying in reference to the lion in Lion King or to the lion you saw and named Mufasa?

Cardine said...

Ruth - yeah, I always forget that you're related!

Thank you, Julie! It was nice and relaxing. It was the Fall for them, and I think it was mostly in the 70s and 80s. A girl wore shorts and tank tops basically the whole time. A light jacket was nice to have for the evenings, though.

Thank you, Mellissa! The kids really were very cute.

Sarah - It was in reference to 'The Lion King.' :)

tearese said...

This was a great post. I enjoyed all the photos, and the movie references, they made me laugh. Especially Jungle Book and Madagascar.
The baboon bums ARE funny. I would laugh.

dub said...

That dining hall looks like it belongs in Alice in Wonderland. Not something you'd expect to see in Africa, right?

Thanks for sharing the photos. I feel like I just went on a mini-vacation with you. Sort of.

rosann said...

LOVE it!! You did a great job - I have yet to do my full Africa post - I don't know to start!! It was fun to go on another trip with you - hopefully there will be more??!! :)

Cardine said...

Kim - Thanks! I hope you get to go sometime soon!

Tearese - I love that you can always get my movie references. I am especially pleased that you got the Jungle Book ones. :)

Dub - I didn't think about Alice in Wonderland, but you are so right. It does kind of look like that house.

Paula - Thanks. I can't wait to see your photos when you go!

Rosann - I hope we go on another one, too!

Berty Bell said...

Oh my gosh! Totally jealous here! Loved the post/pictures/poop references! You can talk about poop any time - doesn't bother me, makes me laugh. Girl, when I'm not poor you need to enlist me to go on one of your trips!!!! ;) Again, totally jealous - looks you had a blast and saw a lot of great things!