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Things that remind you or, the path to the giraffe

March 4, 2008

So I was catching up on gardening blogs this a.m., missing our garden (buried under snow as it is, 6000-odd miles away), and Kate Smudges had posted a cool Internet meme that goes like this:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

The nearest book to me is Climbing Anchors (I’m boning up), but it’s too short. The next closest was the Lonely Planet Swahili Phrasebook, “On Safari” section. I kid you not. My sentences are (ok i put 5 in):

We’re very keen to see… / Sana sana tunataka tuone…
Yesterday we saw… / Jana tuliona…
Today we saw… / Leo tuliona…
What’s there? / Kuna nini pale?
What’s that animal? / Huyo ni mnyama gani?

This reminds me of three things right off:
1) We have not studied for tomorrow’s Swahili lesson, and teacher Violet can already tell we’re bad pupils.
2) Call the safari company to look into a cheap trip to the Mara
3) I didn’t post any pics of my first wild giraffe (twiga) siting about a week ago!!

We were at Hell’s Gate National Park, and I’d left Chris and Alex to climb a manky dirty multi-pitch line (that they loved) while I hunted around for what I could find. I’d started on foot, but a troop of 20 or so baboons spread out and heading south across the park convinced me to take the car. Alex assures me they are harmless, even herbivorous, but they’re BIG and I’m not yet assured.
I’d been watching the many zebra, with lots of little ones, roll in the dust and mosey toward the next water hole. Zebras have this wonderful way of looking at you like they just don’t give a %$# who you are. Thompson’s gazelles–the deer of Africa I think–mingled with them along with angsty warthogs that rush off, tails straight up like antennae broadcasting a warning, the second they are startled.
I’d just left the zebras to wallow in a dust hole when I came by an enormous giraffe, munching acacia RIGHT by the road. He was annoyed I’d interrupted brunch, but only moved off slowly into the thicket without noise. It makes a city kid’s heart pound pretty fast though!
can’t see me
I am not a wildlife photographer and it was the harsh light of high noon (kiss of death for photographs), but isn’t he amazing? Twiga is a good word for him, no? This was about 30 minutes later. I was coming back the other way, and he’d gone to drink some water at a catchment out in the open.
Giraffe profile

With those zebras, all nonplussed.

Soon the twiga crossed the road and met up with these guys! Mama was quite a bit smaller.
mama and baby
They didn’t socialize long. Mama and babe stayed close to the bush cover, and he just kept on going.
At the end of the day we were climbing near the mouth of the park when we saw him come around the far hill and amble with that sloping gait along the far road back down into the valley, back-lit by the setting sun, haloed in dust, thin and hazy as a memory.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. andrea permalink
    March 4, 2008 7:57 pm

    Love the twigas!

    So your post the other day on the flower industry near Lake Navisha inspired me to pick up “Flower Confidential” once again. What a fascinating read. To continue the meme game:

    “They have to pull out leaves to try to find a balance between too many leaves and not enough. If there are too many leaves” – and here he bent down and splayed the leaves of a plant apart -“then this leaf will shade the one below it. So the one below is not producing energy, it is costing energy. That’s what it’s all about.”

    I don’t know about you, but that just about sent shivers…

  2. March 4, 2008 11:26 pm

    I loved seeing your pictures and how close you got to the giraffes and the zebras. What an incredible experience you’re having … I hope you take lots of photographs and keep on posting them.

    Thanks for continuing the book meme! It was fun, wasn’t it? I thought it was cool that Andrea continued it too … and talked about ‘Flower confidential’.

    Are the flower businesses returning back to their former state now that there’s peace?

  3. Kristy permalink
    March 5, 2008 12:07 pm

    I love the giraffe, there are two breeds and this last trip was our first time to see the Masai variety. We saw more giraffes in Kenya than we did in Zimbabwe. For the Zebras, they almost look as though they are laughing…a real belly laugh when they open their lips and show the smile …and their heads sort of bounce!

  4. Judy Edmands permalink
    March 8, 2008 2:50 pm

    Lynn (and Chris), Clay and I are enjoying your photos and commentaries immensely, and so appreciate the sharing of your experience. (I tried to respond once before but was unsuccessful.) I am especially curious about the flower industry in Kenya. Do you know how long it has been such an important part of their economy? It has been 10 years now since we were there, but at that point we did not hear a word about it. I am wondering if it has developed since, or if we just missed it completely. Loved the book meme! Thanks Lynn! Judy E.

  5. ppenick permalink
    March 11, 2008 12:25 am

    Pam/Digging says:

    Your experiences in Kenya are amazing. It looks like your experiences with the tall locals are going well. I’ll look forward to checking in with your adventure again soon.

  6. March 12, 2008 12:14 pm

    I think he likes you! I’m going to call you Twiga whisperer from now on.

  7. bloomlikeflowers permalink
    March 12, 2008 1:32 pm

    Sweet, Crafty! I’ve been waiting for a good nickname…

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