out of africa

When we finally got on the road with the less-than-prompt tour service operator, we had to reorganize our morning, and say hello to the baby elephants another day. So we went for a Safari walk. A knowledgeable tour guide led us to see every animal in the park, except the pygmie hippos. A definite advantage of the cooler season–animals are alert. We were followed by baboons, watched albino zebras grazing beside cape buffalo, languished in the lounging lions, discovered eland and bongo, differentiated between leopard and cheetah, and kept away from the crocodile couple.

Massai warriors met us for lunch. No, really. They were standing outside the Ranger Restaurant, awaiting our arrival, so we could form a dancing line, photo and videograph, and then extort money from Jim. But it was very cool to meet them, kinda like Disneyland when you meet Sleeping Beauty….Kenya with the Massai!

Baboons and warthogs distracted the kids as we ordered lunch. I ordered the spicy coconut and mushroom soup….mmmm, yum. But the waiter returned to say they didn’t have it. I’ll try the sweet potato with tamarind soup. Waiter back in five–sorry, they don’t have that either. Well, then I’ll try the vegetable quiche. The waiter returned again–don’t have that today. Why don’t I just bring you roast vegetables, he asks. Okey dokey. Haven’t had this much trouble ordering since our visit to the Arctic Circle, seven hours from nowhere. While we waited, and waited, we watched baboons jump a foot away from our table, watch mama baboons piggyback their babies, watch other baboons pick ticks out of each other’s hair, and watch warthogs scrounge in the savannah. An hour observing and lunch is served!

Off to the Giraffe Center, where we fed giraffe their lunch pellets from a fifteen foot platform, eye level to these five friendly females. Two orphan giraffes, one seven months and the other three years, with three grown aunties. Madelyn got a great close up as she mouthed a pellet and was kissed by her new friend.

I saw home in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. I told Raymond, our tour driver, that I was feeling called to Africa as we walked up to the gorgeous home of Out of Africa‘s author, Karen Blixen. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford weren’t in attendance, but many of their 1986 film set pieces were. Zach began his spiral into fatigue-induced, incorrigible behaviour as he ran laps around Ms. Blixen’s dining room table. So we headed for the hills, not the Ngong Hills, though they were awfully scenic…rather, the Mennonite Guest House. And in rush hour traffic, that meant a solid hour and a quarter before our arrival.

After dinner, Hannah asked for the room key so she could go to bed. That is a first in eleven years! The kids were toasted…sauteed…whipped into a frenzy with all the activity, and crumbling at the end of this day. But six weeks into our adventure to Africa, and we have seen African animals!

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