10/3/09: Ngorongoro Reserve and Arusha, Tanzania
There’s an old African proverb that says, “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.”
This morning I woke up and I had to start running.
It was so cold at camp on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, that after breakfast I decided to go for a short jog around the campsite. Almost as soon as I got started, I heard a rustling in the bushes nearby. To my surprise, just 50 feet away there stood a gigantic elephant.
We had seen many elephants from the comfort of our jeep on the safari, but it’s a totally different feeling when you’re standing there alone, staring down a who-knows-how-many ton beast. I motioned back to the campsite for others to come see, and pretty soon a crowd of about seven had gathered. We were all enjoying the moment, taking pictures and laughing about what would happen if the elephant charged at us, when all of a sudden… the elephant charged at us! We scattered in every direction, and as fast as the chase began, it ended. But I can now check “anger an African elephant to the point of attack” off my life’s to-do list.
Back at the Meserani Snake Park in Arusha before dinner, a couple of us decided to go for a run of our own choosing. (It’s amazing how little exercise we’ve gotten since coming to Africa. We jogged around camp for a little while, but when that wasn’t enough, we asked the Masai warrior guarding the camel stables if we could run around those as well. Not only did he agree, but he offered to run with us and show us his village. Before I knew it, I found myself with two other out-of-shape safari-goers, running stride for stride with Taiko, a Masai warrior, and saying hello to everyone in his tiny village in Arusha.
And to think, just over three months ago I was sitting at a tiny cubicle in an empty office in Charlotte pondering the meaning of life.
[Side note: We did two laps around the village, and on the first I give one little kid a high five. He was very excited to see us coming the second time around, so I held out my hand for a high five again. We missed, and he took two steps to turn and run with us anyway, and then, out of nowhere, he looked at me and shrieked as if he had seen a ghost. I have no idea how I frightened him, but little kid, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry!]
Puzzles for Postcards
Rhyme Time! (Solve three of these four greedy rhymes)
The machine that organizes some of your larger coins
A relative of a hundred dollar bill
When Kenyans put their money where their BBQ is
A large display of people’s earnings
Picture of the Day: Our tour group is really just a bunch of kids who like to climb trees.