High Five the Big Five

What is it with these places, skimping on insulation. We could clearly hear the couple next door so clearly at one point, I jumped up in bed, thinking they were at the foot of it. The original plan for the day was to do an early 2 hour drive, return to the hotel, go out again in the afternoon, and then call it a day. Joseph suggested we order picnic lunches go out at 7:30am instead of 6:30am and spend the day out, returning at  3;30pm. The rationale was that we could go deeper in the reserve if we had more time out, so we went along with the plan.

Drive, zebras, zebras, wildebeests, zebras, drive, drive, drive, elephants, antelope, elands, gazelles, Giselles, drive, drive, tupelos, dik-diks, but no spotted dick, zebras, mongooses or is it mongeese, drive, drive, drive, drive, drive, elephants, zebras, cheetahs, water buffaloes, lions. A group of three lions were parading across the plain as calmly as you please. Then we came upon a pride with 2 males and 3 females just lazying about on  a mound just twenty feet away from  our van. Like a rehearsed performance, they took time to stand strut, pose, and then back down to rest yet again.

We stopped for our picnic lunch at a picnic area that was swarming with monkeys. As cute at they were, we had to protect our lunches. Joseph had set our boxes on a stone table, no seating available, which was fine. We had been sitting for hours already. Under the shade of a tree, we opened our boxes to reveal what edibles we had. Faster than an Italian purse snatcher, a monkey that we had not noticed, dropped down from the tree’s branch onto our makeshift table, grabbed one of my plastic wrapped sandwiches and was back in the tree stripping it to eat. No one has taught them not to litter. He flung the plastic onto the ground before savoring his newly stolen treat. He did not even have the decency to leave the area. He sat there eating within my line of vision with what I would swear was a smile on his face. I offered my boiled egg as a peace offering to those who tried sharing the sandwich with the furry thief, but was told not to feed the animals. As if… They seem to work in teams with others; one acts cute and does antics, so another can be slipping your food away while you are distracted.

It was getting close to 2:30 and we were to return at 3:30. Joseph went off the beaten path again to return to the tree where we saw the leopard’s litter in the tree, but again no one was home. As we were driving back, all of a sudden he pulled off of the pathway again and when zooning through hill and dale, bushes and small trees to come to a small cliff where he stopped, pointed at a tree while announcing “leopard”. We spotted our first leopard in the wild ever. This had now completed our Big 5 sightings.

At 7pm, there is the bushbaby feeding. No one could explain to us what a bushbaby was, so  we waited to see for ourselves. This creature has been conditioned to come for food at 7pm each night, but tonight his watch must have been off. We waited until 7:30, but he/she/it was a no-show. Just as we were going in to dinner, we did see this fat dark brown squirrel looking creature running around the rim of the inner walls of the bar. Someone said that was the bushbaby.

Dinner was a bit different tonight. They set up barbeques out by the poolside. They also had woman dressed in traditional clothing cooking on mats on the ground. Some were frying sweet dough and others were frying savory dough or creating a lentil dish. Inside was the buffet in addition, but the entrees were all outdoors. One dish that was different was mashed potatoes combined with mashed vegetables, making for green mashed mounds. As green as it was, the potato flavor was dominant. Many of the traditional African foods that I have sampled so far are rather bland, lacking spices.

We had left our laundry to be done yesterday. Right after dinner, I went to the desk to ask the cost and pay cash. The young man at the desk asked my room number, shuffled through a pile of papers and then said 1,250 shillings. However, he stumbled over the numbers, which made me realize yet again that though English is an official language, many have difficulty with it. I gave him the exact amount, he marked the slip  and said okay, but without giving me a receipt. When we returned to the room, the bag of laundry was on our bed with the bill for 1,050 shillings, 200 less than I was told. That had me worried that I may have paid someone else’s bill by accident. Since the man had difficulty telling me the numbers for the cost, I had to wonder if he understood the numbers when I told him the room number. I really don’t want to pay another 12 euros for the laundry yet again, but I am hesitant to embarrass him by asking someone else for assistance tomorrow. Even with the accent difference, we have had to repeat things and change the words we use, but have had times where we still were not understood. 

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