Friday, June 29, 2007

Kruger Park!

Here are the rules to game viewing. Wake up at 5am. Drive until you see wildlife that you've only seen on nature shows. Stop. Watch the wildlife. Take some pictures. Do not get out of the car. Do not agitate or feed the wildlife. Drive back to camp when you get bored or tired. Have breakfast. Leisure time in the camp until afternoon. Get back in car and watch more wildlife. It's pretty simple.

"Wow." Has been the most frequent word out my mouth over the last 5 days. Since we arrived, we've seen. Lions(20), Hyena(7), Cheetah(2), Leopards(2), White Rhino(1) Giraffe, Elephants, Herds of Buffalo, Warthogs, Mongeese, Babboons, Monkeys, Countless exotic birds, Crocs, Hippos, Wildebeasts, Zebras, and several varieties of elklike animals. Its' been unbelievable. They all seem to emerge from the trees, prowl around, and disappear as quickly as they came. In the 30 years that Rich's dad has been coming here he's never seen so much game. This is the first time he's ever seen leopards and we saw two in twenty-four hours.

The most memorable experience by far was watching a herd of 35 elephants, from calfs through big tuskers, aproach us from afar. The herd emerged from over a crest, stoped in the river to drink, and then proceeded towards munching on trees as they all plodded along. They surrounded our vehicle for about 10 minutes and then moved on. We could see every hair on their chins. And with one gentle push, even the mid-size ones could have toppled our vehicle. It was exhilarating and terrifying.

On top of the excitment of seeing such amazing beasts, has the been the beauty and serenity of the landscape. Each of our camps has been on a bluff over water where we could hear hippos and lions and elephants all night long belting out their Kruger chorus.

Africa Part 1

After 24 hours of traveling, some very close connections, and one lost bag, Rich and I arrived in Jo-berg on Thursday the 22nd at 10am. We were picked up at the airport by Peter Malan and re-united with Di at Elaine Menasses house. After re-supplying Rich with socks and underwear at the mall, taking quick naps and showers, Elaine graciously served tea to Di's 3 cousins and their spouses(her entire extended family). There we heard tales of their youth in Zimbabwe and status of family now. Di seemed in her element among the raucus seniors. In the 6 hours we stayed at Elaine's we imposed aprox 5 days worth of hospitality on her. After tea we were whisked off to the Malan's house where we met Peter & Jen Malan, Wayne & Belinda and their two adorable daughters Kara and Emma. Peter had cooked up two delicious curries and we all lingered over the dinner table savoring the meal and excelent company. We got a good night sleep and caught the early flight off to Krugar park. Hospitality is very important in South Africa, and in the less than 24 hours we spent in town, the Armstrong's friends made this abundantly clear.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Radio silence

Well, that three week span in Italy and London just flew by. When you're as connected as M and I are, it's easy to assume that the whole world has broadband. As it stood, we had in Italy only a dial-up computer infected with about every type of spyware out there. I managed to get it clean before I left, but it seriously hampered our online ability.

Italy was awesome. We fly to South Africa tonight. More later.
Rich Armstrong
Sent from my Blackberry