Sunday, August 25, 2013

Billy Out Of Africa - The Lost Mother-in-Law

We managed to get through the main part of our safari without anybody getting eaten or even slightly chewed. Our final stop in Kenya was at Amboseli National Park in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro - the highest mountain in Africa. There was even a little bit of snow on the top, but nowhere near as much as there was even ten years ago. Still, that's nothing to worry about because Australia's potential Prime Minister Tony Abbott says that global climate change is a myth. Thanks heavens for that. I expect the planet's weather will return to normal as soon as the Mad Monk is elected.

Mount Kilimanjaro with a herd of pelicans in the foreground

It has to be said that my staff were very tired by the end of the trip. Eating all that food really takes a toll. Then there was the stress of preventing Badger and I from scaring the lions and stopping my female staff's mum from trying to stroke every elephant she saw. On one occasion my male staff had to crash tackle her as she approached a female and her calf; something that is best not done as a mother elephant is likely to rip your head off with her trunk and use it for a football.

A mother elephant covers her eyes as my male staff crash tackles his Mother-in-Law in an attempt to stop her from molesting the animals.

In fact my staff were so exhausted that they fell asleep on chairs in the garden of the lodge. They would still be there if Badger hadn't noticed that a few vultures had mistakenly thought them to have "kicked the bucket" and started gathering in the trees in anticipation of a good (if somewhat fatty) meal.
Vultures gathering in the trees, attracted by the smell of my sleeping staff. The vultures thought my staff were decomposing but actually they had simply lost their deodorant.

A baby hyena even popped out of one of the storm drain to see 
where the delicious aroma was coming from.

You may remember that when we first arrived in Nairobi almost three weeks ago, my female staff managed to burn down the airport. As a result, chaos still reigned when we returned to the airport to leave. There were humans of every hue rushing all over the place and pilots wandering about looking confused as they hunted for their aircraft. Anyway, when my staff, Badger and I finally settled into our seats in the plane bound for Bangkok it was an enormous relief, despite the prospect of a nine hour flight with an entertainment system that worked for five minutes and then broke down and food that strongly resembled leopard vomit both visually and in an olfactory sense.

My staff were on their ninth vodka and tonic and the plane was just about to cross the Indian coastline just north of Mumbai when my female staff was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling that she had forgotten something important.  "Where's Mum?" she asked my male staff.
 "No idea." he replied. "I thought she was with you." He gulped down the last of his drink and pressed the little button to summons the cabin crew, not out of concern for his Mother-in-Law but to order another vodka and tonic. Anyway, a thorough search of the plane revealed no sign of her. They even persuaded a very fat African lady to stand up in case she was sitting on her, but all to no avail. On arrival at Bangkok airport my staff made inquiries at the lost luggage counter and it turns out that my female staff's mum had in fact boarded a plane bound for Lagos. Kenya Airways assured us that she would be returned to us as soon as she was located. Suitably reassured my staff, Badger and I retired to a very nice hotel room overlooking Bangkok's Chao Praya River from where we could watch bush chocolate and other pollutants floating serenely towards the Gulf of Siam.

 The view from our hotel room in Bangkok.

Now then, since you've all behaved so well while I've been away I will treat you to one last African sunset shot.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Billy Out Of Africa - part three

Since my last post we have all visited the Serengeti and the Masai Mara. Badger killed and ate a hyena and I had a ride on a lioness.
I took this photo from the back of the lioness I was riding on.

 Apart from that nothing much has happened. Oh I almost forgot. My female staff's mum had a hot air balloon flight over the Masai Mara and very nearly landed on a lion. The flight itinerary stated that breakfast would be served upon landing. What it failed to mention was that the passengers were on the menu.
My female staff's mum's balloon about to drop in on a lion for breakfast.

The Serengeti was interesting. The word Serengeti is from the Masai language and means "Endless Place." The word Masai means "The people who herd cattle and goats while texting their friends." We went to a Masai village where my male staff disgraced himself by demonstrating to the kids in the little school how much his belly had expanded since the start of this safari.
Some of the Masai school children had to receive counseling after 
my male staff exposed his stomach.

While Badger and I scuttled around in the dust amongst the goats and cattle looking for stray vegetables, the rest of the family challenged the Masai village to a game of soccer. It was a bit of a mis-match. My staff and my female staff's eighty five year old mother against the entire village. Here's the Masai line-up below just prior to the kick-off.

In the end it was a surprisingly close game because my male staff simply laid down across the goal and every shot the Masai team took simply bounced off his belly. However, in the end the Masai's innate tribal cunning won the day when they started a rumour that blueberry cheesecake was being served in one of the huts. At that point my male staff left the goal and went to find out whether or not the rumour was true. It wasn't and the Masai won by one goal to nil as the chief's son deftly dribbled the ball past my female staff and her mum and tapped the ball into the unguarded goal. His celebration was something to behold as he ran to the crowd, slid on his knees in the dust and raised his shuka cloak over his head. This surprised the crowd a little because he was not wearing anything under his shuka cloak. I understand that my male staff is being dropped for the return game and will be seeking a transfer to another family.

Another amusing incident comes to mind. When we were watching a pair of lions in the Serengeti my female staff had her car window open and the large male lion backed towards the vehicle. Alarmed, my female staff closed the window on the lion's tail, just as the vehicle drove off. Nobody noticed that the lion was still attached to the vehicle until we returned to the lodge half an hour later. Imagine my staff's surprise when they climbed out of the car to find themselves next to a large lion, who, to put it mildly was a little peeved at having been forced to run backwards at forty kilometres an hour for thirty minutes.

More adventures soon. Meanwhile here's a photo of male male staff in the swimming pool..

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Billy Out Of Africa - part two

And it came to pass that we departed Nairobi and drove all the way to Arusha in neighbouring Tanzania. Then it also came to pass that we had forgotten to pack Badger and had to drive all the way back to Nairobi again where we found him chewing the grass on the hotel's lawn. I glared at him, but he just blew a raspberry at me.

Anyway, once Badger was on board we drove all the way back to Arusha and then on to a big lake called Lake Manyara
Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Around the lake there lives a population of mutant guinea pigs called hyrax. My male staff says they are actually a relative of the elephant - something to do with their feet apparently. Badger says that's nonsense and he knows all about feet. He says they are a race of alien guinea pigs sent from planet Cavy to free all earthly guinea pigs from the tyranny of humanity. Now I ask you. Which sounds more likely?

A mutant alien guinea pig from the planet Cavy.

There were other strange creatures living on the shores of Lake Manyara too - things called olive baboons. We watched them for ages and all they did was lay in the road and fiddle with each others bits and pieces. My male staff turned to my female staff and said "How come you never do that to me?" My female staff said something to him that I didn't quite catch, but it sounded a little like "Go and get plucked." But since male staff doesn't have feathers I may have been mistaken.
 Olive baboons sharing an intimate moment in the middle of the road.

Next we moved on to Ngorongoro Crater which is named after the sound made by the Masai tribesmen's cattle bells. I had to laugh because these days if they named the Crater after a typical Masai noise it would be called "Diddle-ee-dee-diddle-ee-dee-diddle-ee-dee-dee Crater" after the sound of the Masai tribesmen's cell phone ring tones. Nevertheless the Crater is a stunning place. Even Badger was impressed.
Spectacular Ngorongoro Crater from the rim.

There were lots of interesting creatures down in the crater. Crowned cranes for example as pictured below.
This animal's name is Ena. Say Hi Ena.

One thing I will say about Tanzanian lions is that they have a sense of humour. The one pictured below overheard my male staff saying that he wears the trousers in his household.

And finally, let's face it, you just can't beat an African sunset.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Billy Out of Africa - part one

So, here we all are back in Africa. Badger, my staff and yours truly. Many have you may have all seen that Nairobi International Airport burned down the very morning that we arrived. I would just like to say that there is no truth in the rumour that this was caused by my female staff smoking a cigarette while they were refuelling the aircraft. Actually it was a cigar and I will sue anyone who claims otherwise.

Today we all went to the Daphne Sheldrick Pelican Orphanage, where young, very cute baby pelicans like those pictured below are rehabilitated for release back to the wild.

Then it was on to the Giraffe Centre where my female staff was forced to feed a giraffe. It swallowed her arm and my male staff had to pat it forcefully on the back to make it cough it up again. Badger laughed and laughed until the giraffe swallowed him too. This time we just had to wait for nature to take it's course and wait for Badger to pop out of the other end, none the worse for the experience, but somewhat indignant.
 My female staff and her giraffe friend. My female staff is the one without the horns.

Finally it was onto the Karen Blixen museum. You all know Karen from the movie "Out of Africa" which starts with the words. "I had a bean in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills" I didn't have a bean, but I did have a poop which is almost as good. Anyway, Ngong means knuckles. The picture below illustrates how the hills got their name.
 The Ngong Hills viewed from Karen Blixen's house now in the outskirts of Nairobi.
This is Karen's house. My female staff was wondering where Robert Redford was.