Sunday, February 8, 2009

Circle of Life

How do I describe the last 5 days in Tanzania? I was brainstorming titles for this blog post, looking for a phrase that will encapsulate the experience:

- Be very quiet, I'm hunting Rhinos
- Animal Planet
- Garden of Eden
- The Big Five - Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards, Water Buffalo
- The making of Simba
- Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my! (minus the tigers and bears)

I settled on The Circle of Life since I witnessed both the mating of lions and killing of prey (to be described shortly). They did not show this in the Lion King! A 4 to 10 word title can't capture the experience, but I will try to give highlights of the trip and supplement the description with pictures and videos at a later date....

Day 1

- Found out from the pharmacist that I was overdosing on my pain meds. I now know each pills pupose and prescribed amount. (This is a highlight for my liver. The rest of my body/mind rather enjoyed the drug induced state).

- In Lake Manyara Park, an elephant, who I call Keyser Soze, stepped out of nowhere and crossed the road in front of our jeep with his big ears flapping. He continued to walk into the bush " And like that, poof. He [was] gone."

Day 2

- Drove through the land of the Maasai Tribes (cattle herders). The Maasai people dress in bright red/purple cloth, are adorned with beaded jewelry and have stretched out earlobes. It is an amazing view to see massive fields of green and then a splash of bright red surrounded by cattle.

- Was petted by a Maasai person, who wanted to touch my sling.

- Crossed the lush green hills and into the Serengeti, which stretches for miles on end. The land is arid with dry grass, but then there are pockets of green trees and vegetation. Words can't describe the immensity of the Serengeti, nor can photos paint a clear picture.

- There are over 1 million Wildebeest in the Serengeti. As we entered the park, we were surrounded by a sea of Wildebeast on either side of the road.

- Saw the original fossil footprint of "Lucy," Australopithecus afarensis, who walked in this area of Africa almost 3.6 million years ago.

- Saw 2 lions sleeping. The female woke up, followed by the male. He proceeded to mount her in front of us, despite her lack of enthusiasm. After a mere 10 seconds, the action stops and the female walked away...likely underwhelmed by her mate's poor performace. (video to be posted shortly).

Day 3

- Saw a leopard jump from a low branch to a high branch.

- Watched 2 giraffes swinging their necks together, like a synchonized dance

Day 4

- saw a hippo outside of the water, which is rare, and he ran across the road in front of our jeep. For a 300+ lb animal, these creatures have some wheels.

Day 5

- Drove into the Ngorongoro Crater, which is the only crater I have ever seen that is filled with life - 30,000+ animals are here.

- And a rhino crossed the road. Learned that he can beat a hippo in a race. And if he charges you, move to the side b/c they do not have lateral movement. They are dumb as stumps apparently.

- Finished my artistic creation called "The Butts of the Beasts" - a montage of rear-end shots of my favorite animals. A true work of art.

- Saw a pride of lions slowly take down a buffalo. They literally sat there and gnawed on his ass while the buffalo was still alive and standing - lasted for at least 3 hrs...a bit disturbing. (And yes, my non-vegetarian friends, video to follow.)

So, all in all a successful and entertaining safari shared with Sharon (cousin), Chris and his two sons, Chris and Charlie from San Diego, and Natalie from Alaska.

Next Stop: One-armed Jeanne (inspired by the nickname one-eyed Willie from the Goonies) and Sharon are ready to take on Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,000+ ft)...

Stay tuned for the update in 8 days!


  1. Can' wait to hear you yelling from the summit of Kili.

    Go Jean!!


  2. Reading made me want to watch Planet Earth.

    I expect a wall-sized edition of "Butts of the Beasts" upon your triumphant return.

  3. That's a great story, and the title was very well chosen. ;-)
    I'm glad things are getting better.

    Now I want to see the "Butts of the Beasts" you so proudly talked about! :D

    Have fun on Killimanjaro!