Friday, November 15, 2013


The rains have returned, albeit slowly. Things are very thirsty but most of the storms only bring wind and lightning without pula. The clouds build every afternoon and often begin doing their thing just as the sun sets. It makes for some stunning landscapes. One can usually see smoke from new lightning-strike fires in the morning.

Both of you that regularly follow this blog probably remember that last spring I found a baby mongoose so brand-new that it was still hairless. This year's crop of kits is now big enough to start moving with the group. They haven't really begun to hunt effectively but they have learned that when one of the band stands on its hind legs and chirps, that there is a sweet mound of termites ready to be eaten.

Speaking of termites, the first proper rain (47mm) of the season brought the termites out for their once a year mating madness. Somewhere between billions and bazillions of them filled the night air frantically looking for a mate. Every creature rejoiced at the bounty expect the tourists. Termites don't bite but that doesn't stop city folk that spent good money to see 'Real Africa' from freaking out.

Speaking of freaking out, I opened the engine compartment the other day and one of the hoses turned to greet me. I stood eye to eye with a boomslang. The boomslang is a highly venomous snake. It is difficult for a human to get bitten by one because it is a back-fanged snake and one would have to try to get one's finger all the way back to where the fangs hang. This knowledge did not stop me from screaming like a little girl. I was raised in a Catholic household and once watched my grandmother, arguably the most gentle, prim, and proper woman I've ever known, chop a grass snake to pieces with a garden hoe. All the more impressive because she was in her 70's by then and she wielded the hoe in her polio-twisted arms with ninja quickness.

Speaking of healthcare(I know, I know, but I'm feeling lazy about the transitions) the majority of the guests in these camps are Americans and once they learn that I'm not from South Africa they often try to engage me in a political conversation. I've come up with a new way to deftly steer the conversation to more benign grounds, "Ma'am, I'd rather talk about religion than politics. What are your feelings on circumcision?"

No comments: