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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:06 pm 
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After my eye-rubbing incident earlier, I continued, along the winding hills, and then soon evened-out along the flats into Nelspruit. Despite it being rainy, and the mist having come back for a short while in the town, pre-dawn was already showing herself.

However, I was once more weary - I suppose also an anticlimax of the adrenaline-rush that was needed to handle the naked-man scenario - and, parking in a garage forecourt, I tried to ignore the blaring music; and closed my eyes. 15 minutes of rest – not sleep – and I was able to continue driving. However, as it grew steadily lighter, and the magnificent granite outcrops next to the road between Nelspruit and Malelane smiled out at us in all their granite glory, I again suddenly felt a spell of sleep overtaking me. Sometimes the body is not willing, no matter how much the mind instructs it to the contrary! Frustrating, especially as the Park gates were already open (it was past 5.30), but I knew I would have to rest. I closed my eyes as car after car on their way to, presumably, work, whirred past. Each time, my car rocked on its suspension; still, I managed to rest another quarter of an hour.

But then, excitement took hold and I refused to dilly-dally a moment longer! “Aimee,” I declared, my eyes flashing a hazel hue of red, “Malelane is awaiting to honour us: let's goooooo!” Aimee popped open an eye – a different one to the one she opened when she awoke at home – and smiled warmly. Suddenly, the rocks, and the road, and the vegetation, and the sky, and our faces were glowing irrepressibly brightly: and it wasn't only the sun that had instilled the change!

At ten minutes before half-past six, we drew up to Malelane gate. The bridge over the Crocodile River just before the reception had yielded nothing of interest. Truthfully, I did not slow down enough to look too deeply into the river, or along its banks (too excited and urgent to get into the Park), but I'm fairly convinced that there was not a croc, nor a hippo, to be seen. Reception was quiet (the mad queues that usually park outside the gate before gate open, and then rush like Ritalin-laced, hyperactive rabbits to be first in were … well, long gone; and check-in was fast, very friendly, and efficient.

The rain had abated and the sky was slapped with streaks of grey-white clouds, their lighter parts tinged with a golden hue from the rising sun. All around was that new-found freshness that is typical of bushveld having been bathed in rain: the birds were flitting around at high speed (presumably to dry their wings), chirruping and cheeping; the insects were busily excavating their sodden holes; and all around was the sweet, spicy smell of volatile oils pervading the air, their parent bushes praising the New Morning – that entity so beautifully expressed in Cat Stevens's “Morning Has Broken”.


Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlight from heaven.
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning;
God's recreation of the new day.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

(Lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon)


That is exactly as I felt! The words coursed unrestrainedly through my soul.

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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:49 am 
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Góðan daginn everyone ... the saga continue:

As we enter the Park proper, we are greeted by a magnificent sky.
Image

With the hum of the insects, the dewy foliage, the pulsating air, and the chirruping birds, the “sweetness of the wet garden”, is “sprung in completeness”. Under the ambience of the modern Eden, we begin our trip proper with unbridled suspense and anticipation. What will we see?

Aimee is fully awake now and we set our near-sighted city eyes to try and accommodate the sudden change to bushveld gaps. It is a difficult task, and we can feel the strain on our eye muscles as we flick focus in and out of the thick vegetation, looking for our first animal. As usual, we place a bet as to what we will see first: the winner will receive a packet of peanuts especially taken with for the purpose. Peanuts may not seem much for a prize, but it is both compact and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Also, it can be savoured slowly, especially if you eat one peanut every five minutes.

Aimee chooses the most likely option – an impala. 80% of all first sightings have, I suppose necessarily, been impala. Based on this, I figure out that, since there are 140 000 impala in the Park, there must be 175 000 large mammals in Kruger. :huh: Nevertheless, I say the first sighting will be a leopard - just to be contrary; and to kindle some kind of hope for a (for the first time) first feline sighting. As always, Aimee wins; this time with a lovely specimen of an impala ram. He appears surreal, backed by a haze of golden rays. Proud and pure, he gazes fearlessly at us.
Image

We pause to admire this beautiful buck: we never tire of an impala's gracefulness and gentle manner, and we have often stopped for extended periods to watch a herd's antics, especially when rutting or stotting.

But, this morning, we need to move on: it's feline time, and we must make the most of our chances. We search carefully, looking for the leopard we sometimes see in this area, but it is not to be. We are rewarded, though, with two cute dwarf mongooses on the road.
Image

Image

“Why don't they call them mongeese? questions Aimee. I tell her I don't know why, so she says she's going to call them “mong-i” in future, as this is much easier.

The atmosphere is electric ...

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:05 am 
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A few kilometres onward and I turn smoothly onto the Crocodile River dirt road (S25), which we will follow all the way into Crocodile Bridge camp as we are booked in there for the night. We continue on our way, part marvelling at the lush landscape thick with growth; but also part frustrated at the dense, sometimes impenetrable (at least to the inadequacies of humans) vegetation. It is very difficult to see an animal in this bush. However, the S25 has patches of very-open veld, although the grass is still high enough to hide most things; especially if the things stand motionless.

After half an hour of seeing nothing of great interest – not even another impala – Aimee says, “You're going too fast – slow down!” I drop my speed from 20 to 15. A minute later, she suggests, “You're still going too fast; please slow down.” I drop from 15 to 10. “A little slower?” I ask wickedly. Aimee glances sideways at me, a wry smile on her lips, but says nothing; probably saving it for a later time: she never forgets.

Then a sighting … on the windscreen: a prawn-legged beauty of an insect, with a back-packing hump of folded wings.
Image

It stares at its adoptive parents through the looking glass - at least for the few minutes the air pressure holds it there; when I stop, it flees. We wish we knew our insect species better – maybe it was one of the big 5 from the Insecta class (or is it the big 500)?.

Then we have a faecal moment: a pile of rhino dung basking in the very centre of the dirt road! It is a bustle of activity: there are folders of butterflies (that term could make the Silly Collective Nouns Quiz!) sipping the sweet dung sap; all around, we have to dodge whirring dung-beetles taking off from dung-heaven, some of them piloting right into our cabin; some perch for a few moments before careening off again, almost striking our heads and upper bodies before exiting a window; others just fly straight through the cabin. One, who must have failed his whirring license, smacks into my eye.

An equal number to the flying chitin-encased insects are those that have already acquired a ball to roll. It is as comical to watch dung beetles rolling balls of dung encrusted with sharp gravel, as watching the antics of a baboon troop. It is phenomenal to see how they position themselves with their bodies facing away from the ball, and their rear legs pumping powerfully to propel the ball in an away-movement from them. Then the front legs have to play catch-up with the hind legs, so that these are kept in contact with the ball. Some beetles (mostly the females) catch a free ride on the faecal Ferraris, although they don't seem to mind disappearing periodically under the ball with a thump against the hard ground; probably giggling deliciously every time it happens!

The beetle below looks like he is soliloquising with the ball, orchestrating some arrangement to encourage the ball to propel itself.
Image

Then, as we watch the Midden of Eden intensely - congratulating another beetle at escaping with his ball; or laughing as one beetle's ball rolls over another beetle's body, temporarily incapacitating his efforts to make progress with his own ball – a mud-spattered white rhino unexpectedly appears at the edge of the road and lumbers across. It then traverses a green, flat section, before disappearing into the thick brush.
Image

Such a big beast, and it is hidden in seconds!

_________________
EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:58 am 
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Merhaba everyone! Next installment, as promised:

Ready to move along, we are perplexed to discover that the dung beetles have no sense of good direction: any way along a radius from the midden is acceptable to them. This poses a dilemma as there is a continual stream of beetles travelling under my chassis, and if we are to move, we are sure to crush some! However, the travelling beetles are so numerous as to guarantee that there will almost always be one under my car at any given moment. However, I do notice that, occasionally, there is respite and, with some well-timed moves, we can probably escape crushing one. In any case, it is getting awfully hot at this stage and we want to move – the air-conditioning only functions effectively when the car is running, and I don't want to remain idle(ing)for too long as petrol (gas) is running low. (I was too excited to remind myself to fill up before entering Kruger!). Too, there is the flying beetles that invade our private air-space regularly and, if I put the windows up, we will surely swelter to death!

Nothing else to do but brave a head-on collision with a flying beetle and peer under the vehicle. After a cursory look at the surrounding vegetation to somehow convince myself that there is no predator in sight, I push the door open and proceed to gaze under the chassis. A beetle flies into my forehead with a thud. I stretch myself a little more forward and down, and see clearly that there are only two beetles underneath, and both are soon to exit. Another beetle flies into me, this time almost removing my eye from its socket. It is time to get out of there. “Are the beetles out on your side yet?” I ask Aimee. She affirms that this is the case. Before another beetle can enter my no-go zone, I have the car started and travelling off at speed. We have spent a fascinating half an hour in the company of dung beetles – not something we do every day.

We see a pair of Tawny Eagles perched on a branch, seemingly in a dominance-submissive arrangement – but, more probably, their height difference is due to the curvature of the branch and nothing more.

Image

As the S25 is not yielding much in the way of big game sightings at this time, we resort to laughing and guffawing over ridiculous things we conjure up. I say silly things like, “The only way to see that mongoose [that just disappeared into the grass] is by a parting of the red-sea of stalks. Where is Moses when you need him?” Whosoever would proxy for Moses to achieve this is irrelevant as we move onto the next silliness with gusto. “Reed between the rhymes!” suggests Aimee as she concocts some hysterical limericks to illustrate her mot juste.

I stop next to a lone waterbuck ...

Image

... and record two of these limericks for posterity:

The lyre-shaped bee flew over a bridge,
Lodging his sting in a mad, monstrous midge;
The midge fluttered her eyes at the struggling bee,
Who ripped off his belly and shattered his knee,
And they flew off together to mate in a fridge.


and

A pea and tomato were wed one Spring morn,
The cow as the pastor, the ring of green corn;
“Do moooo take this pea as your legal veg mate,
'Till drenched in fried onion and boiled as fish bait?''
“Yes. Vegetate we will till peamatos are born.”


What is amazing is that she takes only half an hour to conjure these ditties!

I see a flower I cannot recall having seen before and, because I believe it is also important to notice all the things other than big-5 and “conventional” game, I marvel at its tiny petals and leaf arrangement. No idea what it is, though. Anyone know?

Image

We are laughing so much that we nearly miss the next sighting, especially as it is low-down on the road. As we round a sharp bend, we see a very-small, baby leopard-tortoise hurtling his little house across the road. Panicking at the approaching vehicle, he increases his speed to a trot, but is going so fast that he mistimes his direction and smacks his shell against a particularly stout grass stalk. He has obviously not yet been schooled in the challenges of reptile retrograde motion, so he fights valiantly to extricate himself from this mess. I have switched off the engine, and we remain quiet in order not to alarm him any more. After a couple of minutes, he figures that it is easier to point himself ninety degrees to the direction of his approach, whereupon he suddenly shoots free. He flees across the bumpy terrain and enters a patch which is more open. Most relieved, he disappears into the long grass. “Ooooh, cuuutttttee,” coos Aimee; “But, how do you know it's a 'he'?” Totally at a loss for a scientific answer – and foregoing a rhetorical, “Should we turn it over?” - I try a silly approach: “Must be the number of tiles on his back?” Aimee laughs and suggests that the kitchen floor at home must be female.

In my opinion, the S25 has one drawback: it overlooks luxurious civilisation on the other side of the Crocodile River, and extensive vistas often show agricultural fields. It is more a psychological drawback because, objectively, the openness also allows for one to see into wide-open spaces, which is both visually aesthetic and exciting. And then the generally cryptically-coloured lodge materials, and soothing, summer verdure, never fail to excite the senses. However, I still prefer doing this road as soon as I arrive in the Park, as the visual transition is then not such a shock; and, in addition, when I'm inside for a day or two, all I want to really see is Park!

We are upbeat, but still calmly anxious for a “special” sighting. (As if other things are not special :huh: ). By now, the sun is high in the sky, and I stop for a breathtaking photograph.

Image

_________________
EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:16 am 
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My 8000th post. :big_eyes:

Tere everyone! :D

We continue slowly along sinuous sections of the S25, the gushing river appearing at intervals through the thick vegetation. Still not much in the way of game – we come across a small herd of Equus burchelli antiquorum, and then again at stilted intervals along the road. However, what is indeed strange is that we don't see another impala for two-and-a-half hours since Aimee won her peanuts (half of which she has consumed): by then, we are halfway towards Crocodile Bridge camp.

At least, it is a substantial herd of a dominant ram and his harem that breaks the Aepyceros melampus drought. Aimee – ever the perceptive wit – asks if each doe is “engaged to 'her ram(i)'”! “So far,” I try; and Aimee ends the Sound-of-Music parody with “Ti doe for” (said in the most kugelly accent). I laugh copiously – my gall bladder is in danger of splitting and jaundicing the guffawing centre in my brain - and we continue in light spirits (I left the brandy and whiskey at home), waiting for what will transpire / inspire next.

Our eyes, ever keen, espy a pretty flower in the grass. Again, we marvel at its delicate structure, but have no idea what it is. I have to buy a book on Lowveld flowers, I remind Aimee.

Image

Despite having a reasonable snooze on the road trip from Jo'burg, Aimee's eyes are drooping like a thirsty bloom, but she refuses to sleep. When I ask her why, she tells me she's afraid she may miss the greatest sighting of her life – which Messr. Murphy (can an Irishman have a French title?) will likely cause to happen if she does. To amuse herself, she uses the already-dusty car dashboard as her palette, and carefully drags her index finger in expert curves to create this temporary artwork:

Image

The occasional slender mongoose darts across the road, disappearing almost immediately into the verge grass. Of course, there are francolins galore, and we wonder what the purpose of their subtle camouflage is as these birds make every effort to reveal themselves to their attackers with their cacophony of constant squealing!

Grey louries abound, with the occasional lilac-breasted roller and yellow- or red-billed hornbills. We laugh as we discuss how the hornbills in question seem to have the most clumsy flight pattern – often, they appear as if, at any instant, they will dive bill-first into the ground and be stuck there, to die of starvation or predator attack! In all honesty, they look more like gliding dinosaurs than modern-day flying machines!

A trio of warthogs is leisurely ambling along the sandy road, perhaps because it's easier than fighting through thick, hampering vegetation. They nonchalantly continue on their way, pretending oblivion to our presence.

Image

However, as we creep up on them, the forward one breaks into a dogtrot, almost immediately followed by the others. As we pass, they stop a few metres into the bush and gaze at us, seemingly annoyed we dare disturb a peaceful moment of harmony with Nature.

Then a small avocado-green patch of reeds, and we spot a lesser-masked weaver and his betrothed; he urgently desires her to be his mate, so that they can rear their fledglings with pride - but if only she was less fastidious, less anal, in her approach! We imagine their conversation:


Image
She leans in close and scolds him: “You charlatan weaver! Which school of nidification did you attend? You better weave your way into my heart soon, or I'll find a more skilled artisan to mate with. Remember, nix for nothing in this world! Better get the nidus-touch going now, or else!”



Image
He is exasperated and desperate: “But, my avifaunal femme fatale; I put on my best reproductive attire for you, and I have repeatedly reproduced a basket of beauty and pragmatic perfection! To breed, or not to breed - that is my question, I plead."
She listens disdainfully, then scolds him once more: “You are a basket case. One more chance to redirect your energies to greater pursuits. One more chance to show me your genetic greatness. Now, move your posterior post-haste, or there'll be no posterity for you!” She flies off.



Image
He clutches the reed tightly and, leaning his crimson eye as far out after her disappearing form as he can, he calls to her: “Be ready to inspect my prowess, my mellifluous amour - my piece de resistance will await you in a couple of days. Then I will be irresistible, even to a maiden of high-breeding such as yourself.”


He turns back to the task at hand, sweetly swizzling, “You're my mate, and I will stand by you; you're my mate ...”


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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:00 pm 
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(still continuing on the S25)

Though there seems to be a lack of abundance of general game – or, most probably, such game is well hidden in the thick bush and grass – we thoroughly enjoy the pleasure of the primeval atmosphere. Without fully understanding the intricate mechanisms that excite selected neurons to high levels of functioning, we can feel an ancient urge to merge with the harmonious majesty of this unique Park. It is but a microcosm of the cosmic grandeur that envelops it, but, in many ways, it is as eternal and equally stupendous.

Although there are undoubtedly wilder places than Kruger on the planet (take Jo'burg, for instance), I believe that there is nothing in this world that can generate the barely controllable excitement of this national park! Because of the vast diversity of the denizens and plants of the Kruger National Park, it could be the very next sighting that could be that one special, irreplaceable moment that we all are seeking. Metaphorically, we could be likened to gamblers, who often put everything onto one number in the hope of hitting the jackpot; we do not play with chips, but we do play the odds with the rare, the gifted, the predatory, the massive, the horned, and the mysterious. That one elusive sighting that we seek around every turn.

Our reveries include caracal kittens (even caracal will suffice), cheetah and leopard cubs (separate sightings will not be pooh-poohed), wild-dog pups; or simply the more mundane excitements, like aardvark, hedgehog, brown hyaena, aardwolf, pangolin, roan … At this point, we are comfortably out-of-breath, and we seek to urgently return to reality to preserve our sanity. We focus on the next space that appears through the bush, and await the next great sighting with fervent patience.

Image

A magnificent water monitor-lizard with its mosaicked black-and-yellow berry-like skin, peers at us through a mysteriously dark eye ringed with creamy-yellow. It rests the front of its snout on a rough rock, seeming to say: “If your great forefathers hadn't diversified away from us, this is how you would have looked! Not that ugly, hairy, burnt remnant of sophistication that you consider a skin! Any moult-ernative, but that!”

The weather here changes so quickly on occasion – it is only mid-morning, but the clouds have cleared to reveal an almost clear, azure sky. There are some impala, a sounder of five warthog deep in the bush, and then our first elephant of the trip. She is, however, too deep in to see clearly; especially as she is foraging behind a large bush. Nevertheless, she is our first elephant and, like all elephant, she's special!

We see the haphazard geometry of a dead-tree's branches; unfortunately, this lilac-breasted roller gets in the way of the perfect confusing picture :twisted: :

Image

A little further on, we see a clan of circling vultures taking advantage of the rising thermals. Higher and higher they drift until they are mere dots of black against the pristine sky. It puts into perspective how solidly we are rooted to Mother Earth, and the freedom that we wish to have by soaring eternally above her. The vultures do it effortlessly and it is a marvel to watch their efficient gliding. If it was allowed, I would be supine on the grass verge in an instant, my legs and arms akimbo as I recall the moments of eternal bliss and liberty I experienced as a child while watching the swallows whirling about the clear summer skies.

Here is one by her nest that we saw soon after:

Image

As the warming air begins to shimmer above the road, thereby warping the bush behind it, an innocent bee drifts in through Aimee's window. But, we barely notice, as we concentrate on another floral wonder:

Image

(Next episode: the bee saga)


_________________
EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Herewith, as promised a while ago, the continuation of my trip report with the "Bee Saga" episode:


Let me insert myself for a short sojourn into this story, to bee-f it up and, well, bring a bee-fitting perspective on things: I am Beatifus, the bee-yoo-tiful bee, all striped with yellow and black – like a Moscow clown's pajamas - and lethally endowed with a sinkshaft-type sting. Image If you're wondering how I come to speak fluent English, know that I learnt my A-Bee-C's as a larval wonder in the hive, before being commissioned to seek out the sweetest nectar in the neighborhood and return a globule of this to the honeycomb, where some of my co-workers transform it into honey by a secretive production process known only to a select few. Though I am innocent, as my species dictates, I can be a pain in the body to anyone messing with my routine.

On this lovely Kruger day – of which I have had the pleasure of experiencing but another 21 so far - I drift nonchalantly through the window of another tourist's vehicle. Some of these fuming monstrosities are endowed with impenetrable plastics and leather, so I love to examine the varying skin types and textures of the homo sapiens that are found there. This day, a wonderful, but mysterious, perfume wafts into my olfactory centre, and my nectar-homing organs are sent into a spiralling dive. How lovely this young lady and medium-aged man smell! I cannot resist their dermal covering, so I buzz over to the monsieur first and settle on his right forearm. He seems none too pleased and tells me to “buzz off”. I grip a little firmer and feel the edge of my sting begin to pierce the first cells of his epidermis. His nervousness radiates forth in distinct waves of sixth-sense signals that he has no idea he is transmitting, and I sense I am in control.


I look over at Aimee and see the restlessness infuse her body, sweep over her face. She glares sideways at the offending bee resting on my forearm: "Make it go out, Dada; I don't want it in here!" I tell her I'm not afraid of this little bee - even though I can feel an uncomfortable sharpness threatening my outer skin layer. Strangely, this is true - I suppose because I have never been stung by a bee, I believe that I never will be! Nonchalantly - a self-preservation device, as well as seeking to keep Aimee as calm as possible - I gently, slow-motion style, move my arm over to the open window and, holding it out in the breeze, I accelerate the car engine. As the outside wind resistance increases, I notice how the bees wings and feelers begin to ripple and flutter. I am distantly aware that I may be initiated for the first time in my life by a sting piercing my protective skin layer, but I am intent in eliminating this bee from the car interior, mainly to appease my daughter. Most of the time, if I have bees flying around me, or sipping on some sweet drink I am guzzling, I take no notice of them, and they reciprocate superbly. Maybe not a wise stance on my part, but one that has worked for me through the ages. Suddenly, our apian invader shoots backwards as the wind force outmatches his leg-gripping ability. The bee is gone. Aimee gives a nervous smile and thanks me for my prompt actions.

I relax and, pressing my back firmly against my seat, we slow down to 20 km/h and begin to focus our eyes to middle distance, seeking the next special sighting. As the vegetation slips past, I reminisce on how honey bees are becoming scarcer in recent years, and know that everything, both large and small, must be appreciated to the full when seen - for who knows when we may never see it again.


Stuff and beeswax! What happened there? This bunch of homo saps is a little more resilient than most: usually they lose their marbles; scream; vibrate and twist their bodies and heads in impossible contortions; and do everything but have an official epileptic fit - all this for a midget a thousand times smaller than them! This pair are much calmer. Suddenly, a high gale arises and I am, much to my chagrin, whisked off into the natural yonder. No way I get dislodged so easily; I'm going to stir them up some more. See, there's the fuming monstrosity again - guess they must have slowed down, lured into a state of complacency. Great! My wing beats are increasing, I'm whirring along; the window, which is still open, is drawing near. Here it is ... ahhh, I see the nice-smelling male. But, but ... what is that I now am enshrouded in? Ohhh, soooo heavenly: it's emanating from that female over there ... a nectarean fragrance par excellence! Oops, the male has seen me - he's none too happy, for the second time. Image Let me shoot over there to the goddess of nectar. No, little girl, don't be afraid - I ain't gonna hurt you ... I just want some of that future honey, honey. Let's see now, where can I land? Oh, here's a lovely, soft spot. A bit unstable, but soooo soft, like vanilla marshmallows.


Lost in my thoughts for a few moments, I am startled as a bee flies through my window again and suddenly lands on Aimee's upper cheek. Colouring-wise, it looks exactly like the bee I have just gotten rid of. Before I can do anything, it suddenly lurches up and onto her eyelid! "Sit VERY still," I caution her; don't move at all - not a muscle!" Aimee is terrified. For all my bravado a minute earlier, I am taken aback and, for a few moments, am unable to think of what the best course of action should be. My thoughts are more a hindrance at the moment than a help, especially worrying about what might happen if she was stung in the eye! I've never heard of that happening and, besides rushing through to the nearest hospital (which could take an hour), I wouldn't know how else to effectively help her. I stop the car and assess the situation. The bee is crawling around animatedly, first over her top eyelid, then around the arc of the bottom eyelid, then across the bridge of the nose and onto the other eye. Aimee is oscillating her stiff palms in front of her, making fearful noises, and begging me to do something. As a young child, I suspect that she was stung once, and that has primed her to the point of apiphobia.

I am willing to knock the bee off her face at the first opportunity, but, at the moment, it is too close to her eye, and it could be disastrous if I don't swipe it cleanly the first time. I put my arm around my daughter's shoulders and, with a soothing, calm voice, try to ameliorate the situation. She is keeping control - just barely - and I know I must act swiftly. Suddenly, I have an idea: "Aimee," I tell her softly, "move very slowly and evenly towards your open window." But, she is too petrified to understand clearly what I am saying. I repeat the instruction, urging her to take action. "No, Dada; what if it stings me! I can't move!" Her breathing is short and sharp. "Aimee," I persist, "you know I love you and I wouldn't do anything to hurt you. Please listen to me: the bee doesn't look too happy and, being in the sun, it seems quite agitated. I want to make sure we get it off you. Move slowly towards the window." Aimee has always been a courageous young lady and, somehow, she now collects her thoughts enough to take some action. She, ever so slowly, begins to raise her body upwards and, tucking her right leg gently under her, she gets sufficient leverage to move her head gradually towards the open window.


Mmmm, such deliciously soft flesh! But, where is the nectar? Must be here somewhere. Uh-huh; okay, let me see what else is around here. Okay, going down, and along this soft track. Wonder what is ... WAIT! A lovely, cool hole. Maybe there's something delicious in there? Let's see ... maybe I can squeeze this thorax inside. Uhhhh, this is harder than I thought - what a SMALL hole. Not gonna give up .. push harder, Beatifus!

This bee is ever so persistent, and is still attracted (for whatever reason) to Aimee's eyes. As she nears the open window, though, it suddenly runs downwards and inserts itself into the entrance of one of her nostrils. Aimee is still making muted, fearful noises, but, just as she is about to stick her head out, I tell her: "Hold on, Aimee! Not yet. Keep your head inside; I'll tell you when." I can see a few hundred metres along the S25, and it is clear. I accelerate the car along the dusty road, glad that there are no other cars to be seen. As the Merc reaches 30 km/h, I notice that the bee has made itself back along the bridge of her nose, and above her one eye. A little higher, I pray. Suddenly, the black-and-yellow insect clambers up onto her forehead. I push the accelerator down hard and the car reaches 40. "NOW!" I yell at Aimee, above the noise of the rushing air and churning engine. "Now; put your head out the window - QUICKLY!" Aimee obliges and, in a flash, the bee is blown off. I heave a sigh of relief, as does my daughter, and, not to make the same mistake twice, I quickly put both windows up and turn on the air-conditioning. I slow the car to 20 again and, after a few moments, I smile at Aimee and tell her what a courageous girl she was. "Yes, but what if ..." she starts to say, but I interrupt her: "Nothing happened and we must be thankful to GOD that He protected us!" "Now, let's see what we can see - that bee is not coming back here again."


Can't believe I was out-thought! By a couple of homo saps, to boot! Oh well, that's how it goes in the wild. Now I don't even know where I am; maybe I can find a queen who is willing to let me serve her? Image Let me go find some non-human-infested nectar!

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TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:23 pm 
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Now, after this harrowing bee attack, we had to reset our psyches pronto-pronto: "Aimee," I say, "if you're up to it, let's milk this Park to the top of the udder. NOW we deserve to rebalance the equation - the Park owes us some superb sightings! What do you think?" Aimee smiles broadly (like a white-rhino's mouth) and says this Park better deliver, or else! "Let's see some felines!" she cries, with a slight mischievous wink.

The day is getting particularly warm by now, so we decide to make a rapid sojourn down the Hippo Pools road -or some psychological mind cooling. Not much on the corrugated dirt, but the swirling, deeply dippy, prussian-blue-grey Crocodile-River water achieves its mental magic and we sigh serenely as we stare, hypnotised, at the purging power of the liquid two-hydrogens-and-an oxygen! "Right, Aimee," I mumble, "Let's book in at Croc Bridge and stretch these supertoned muscles on the firm tent beds."

At the junction of the S25 and S27, a tank of a white rhino stares at our puny intrusion upon his territory, patently fully confident that, if he chose to, he could storm us and trample our thin metal covering in an instant! Of course, being the considerate, gentle beast a rhino generally is, he will let us live, so long as we accord him the same respect and harmonious existence with the Creator that he accords us!

Image


As we turn right onto the H4-2 tar road and traverse the last one-and-a-half kilometres to camp, the usual zebra and wildebeest numbers appear on both sides of the road, stretching far into the now relatively open bushveld. Warthog are prevalent here and we cannot help smiling at the kneeling antics they perform as they forage for juicy roots and bulbs, only to sprint off with tails stiff as we whish past. We're looking for wild dog, cheetah, or leopard as we head towards the camp gates, but it is somewhat too hot now and we content ourselves with the herbivores, including a large herd of impala less than 300m from Crocodile Bridge.

Before we know it, we're sailing between the sturdy gate posts; book-in takes 5 minutes and, after three trips to and from the car to make sure all our groceries and crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils are safely stored in the stilted, pre-erected safari tent, we grab a cooldrink each and a packet of biltong and lounge on the ample verandah. The verandah overlooks a cool, treed, green-grassed area, and we sigh deeply and breathe in the refreshing air as we stretch those tight hamstrings and ease the knotted quads. Good to be "home", I think as we see a sounder of resident warthog scuttle past, not 10 metres from our perch.


Image


(Next: pork ribs and fireflies)

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:06 pm 
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After a cursory stroll along the steaming fence - and my almost-premature meeting with Mother Lawn as I connect my burly toe with an arcing root undoubtedly designed for that very purpose - I hoppingly suggest to my daughter, Aimee, that we have a quick bite, followed by a short snooze, so that we can seek felines more seriously in the afternoon.

Aimee's immediate response is to give my naked forearm a quick, sharp bite. "Okay, now we can go sleep," she states matter-of-factly. In between my guffawing laughter and volcanic toe, I manage to drag myself back to our tent and sneak some tuna and margarined bread between my ample lips. Aimee wants condensed milk with her tuna, but I chide her regarding the lowering-of-blood-sugar after-effects of an insulin surge caused by saturating the blood with condensed milk, especially as I need all of her eyes and most of her hearing to be sharp for the imminent afternoon drive. :naughty:

Not ten minutes later - and after a loving smile from my irrepressible daughter - she is gently sawing air in and out of her lungs, her arms and legs akimbo. I know I should sleep, but the excitement of being in Kruger is far more effective than a tot of caffeine-laced drink at keeping my eyes as wide apart as a yawning lion. :roll:

I laze outside on the verandah, updating my short-hand version of a trip report, and gently enjoy the twittering birds flitting all about, the cool afternoon shade, and the pooling of fluid in my ankles which relaxes my tired calves. :lol: A couple some tents away - probably married for more decades than I am alive - is having a verbal joust and I learn at least a dozen new descriptive words, most of which cannot be articulated on this public forum. :( What I can tell you is that I didn't know that a human can be metaphorically associated with a bushpig, a pack of frozen vegetables, or haemorrhoids. :roll:

At twenty-five to three, I blow gently on Aimee's wrist, which causes her to flick open her eyes in disbelief and mumble something about Jenny's racing pigeons, which I must ascribe to a vivid dream as I don't know any Jenny, nor any racing pigeons. The cooldrink and snacks - peanuts, naartjies, and condensed milk (Aimee is far too persuasive sometimes) - are almost thrown into the car as we leap into the vehicle, the only thing protecting our coccyges from being shattered by the excited impact being the ample seat-cushioning below our buttocks.

The morning drive but a warm-up preparation for the real McCoy (still haven't figured who this Irishman was :hmz: ), I sail my car through the twin white posts of Crocodile Bridge camp and, in a jiffy, we're in wild Africa. The usual browsers and grazers are filling their stomachs near camp - warthogs, wildebeest, impala, zebra.

There is also this lovely trio of slasto-patterned giraffes:

Image


Then this delightfully cute, striped foal:

Image


Aimee tugs my unbitten arm and points skywards - there is a stealthily graceful raptor dipping on the wing. Our avifauna knowledge requiring some miraculous educational course to improve it, we're at a loss as to what this beautiful bird is. After some heavy book consultation, we settle on a juvenile white-headed vulture, with about 3% confidence that that is indeed what we're seeing. Later, it is suggested that the heavy head and short, triangular tail is congruent with a juvenile bataleur - this makes more sense and I vehemently kick my right ankle to remind myself to be more smart with bird sightings:

Image


"Oh what a beautiful morn ... errr, affie; oh, what a beautiful day," I sing in D-flat minor, when the correct key is patently C-sharp major. Somehow, I have a feeling that this trip is still going to yield something superb.

Suddenly, Aimee, who is squizzing every gap in existence with gusto, yells softly in my ear: "Dada, quick: STOPPPP!" As I gently jump on the brakes, I see them! It has been a long time since I last saw them, and my heart is threatening to crack every rib in my chest, so hard is it pounding!


(To be continued ...)

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
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TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


Last edited by onewithnature on Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:55 am 
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It's amazing how devious the mind can be: for a couple of seconds, I see two wild dogs cavorting across the tar road, which turns my heart into an adrenaline generator and my mind into an hallucinatory stage.
"Wild-dog!" I yell, hitting the brake so hard that Aimee lurches forward, thankfully not knocking herself on the dash. I curse silently, upset that I have not been more gentle in my stopping attempt.
"Sorry, Aimee," I hear myself say; "didn't mean that - it's been so long since we've seen wild dog ..."
"It's okay, Dad," she murmurs, then stares at me askance for an instant in utter surprise, frowning a little. "It's not wild dog, Dad! Didn't you see them?"
"I thought I did," I answer, most confused; "but they ran so quickly from behind that bush. Are you sure it wasn't wild dog?"
She smiles the smile of someone who is infinitely sure of herself and, lifting her eyebrows with deliberate exaggeration, she directs me, "Go forward a little - then stop just past that bush." She points at the beautiful yellow flowers of a clump of wild-hibiscus shrubs.

Somewhat sheepishly at my impetuous behaviour, I edge forward. "Quicker, Dad," Aimee urges, "they're running away - we'll lose them!" I have to laugh inwardly at the polarity of the situation.
"There," she points, turning her body at ninety-degrees to the bush, "Stop!"
I try to look past her, but, in the time it takes to say "wild dog" and move my body to a more advantageous position, I lose the sighting entirely! For, in that short time, the animals - having already been primed by my earlier heavy braking - have skittishly sprinted behind a thick clump of thorn bushes. All I see are blurred shaggy coats disappearing in a puff of dust.
Flummoxed at how the situation has turned out, I switch off the engine and wait to see if they will come out from their hiding place, if only for an instant. I still don't know what "they" are, so I turn to Aimee - who is scanning the area intensely with her binocs - and ask her what "we" had just seen. Without moving her binocs, she replies softly: "Civets. Two of them."
"Nooo," I cry in disbelief, "that couldn't have been civets!" My sharp-squizzing ability, which has gained my daughter's respect umpteen times in the past, is now at stake. "Civets?" I half-mutter to myself, unable to process that wild-dog could metamorphose into civets at such short notice.

While we are waiting for the (supposed) civets to emerge, I mull over what could have gone wrong. I never mind being wrong, as long as I know that I am. Slowly, and silently, I admit to myself that I had not been concentrating sufficiently when Aimee had asked me to stop the first time - if this had been a kung-fu tournament, I would have been flat on my back as the bell went. Also, the lowering sun had peeped out from behind a tree and blinded me for an instant as I had stared directly at it at that moment. But, wild dog?!! How could I mistake civets for wild dog? I find no easy peace within myself over that question, so rather focus on the spot where said civets are likely to show themselves, and resign myself to the fact that perhaps my senses are more senseless at times than sensible!

After half an hour of patient waiting, we see nothing more, and I am left to reflect over the "lost" civets. Furthermore, because things happened at a rapid pace, neither Aimee nor I could capture anything of worth on camera. I never enjoy missing a sighting, but luckily it has only happened a half dozen times or so in total.

Aimee is highly chuffed with herself that she has seen civet for the first time in Kruger! When a fellow nature lover Now we turn onto the S28 dirt road and are rewarded with some cuties:



Image

Super-sweetie wowing the audience



Image

Double-banded sandgrouse in model pose



Image

More dwarfies, wrenching all resistance from the imagination







My 18000th post

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


Last edited by onewithnature on Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:27 am 
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Okay, so after my deciphering abilities between obvious African mammals had been severely compromised, I was in a pensive mood.
"It's okay," soothed Aimee, "you can't be perfect all the time!"
I switched from pensive to apprehensive:
"Thanks, my beautiful daughter, but it's too much pressure to be perfect. I prefer being human."

Aimee smiled an Aimee-smile, and my soul glowed like a rainbow after new rain.

Suddenly, I stopped the car.
"Another civet!" I cried.
Aimee whirled around, then smacked me gently on my shoulder, faking anger:
"Naughty Dad!"
It was a pair of giraffes. I was only trying to be human. Piecing the pieces together.



Image

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TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:55 am 
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The ride back to Crocodile Bridge camp produces many "civet" sightings, each of us trying to outdo the other with the number we see. Perhaps, at this moment, we are losing the plot somewhat. :?: Still, it is indeed lots of fun, both of us almost choking with laughter as we come across:

- a herd of 300 huge, horned civets crossing the road 5km from the gate :clap: ;
- a flock of flying carrion-civets circling on the late-afternoon thermals :P ;
- a long, narrow civet with a long tail scurrying across the dirt :) ;
- a tiny crawling civet pushing some balled excrement :lol: ;
- a twisty-horned civet staring at our intrusion :whistle: ;
- a rare sighting of a pink-lidded civet in a tree :dance: ;
- and crowds of noisy civets shooting past in polluting civet-tanks :roll: .


Luckily we capture some of these "civet moments": :D


Image


Image


Image


Image

(These buff pics are not of the herd of 300 we see crossing the road - a stirring sighting as they seem to magically appear from between the thick bush at the verges; these are of buffs staring and wallowing in blissful ignorance of their brothers and sisters three kilometres away.)



(Next: Fireflies and Pork Ribs)

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:18 pm 
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My 20000th post.

We slide through the whitewashed pillars of camp with a nanosecond to spare - the guard is already beginning to close the wooden-slatted gates. We readjust our car clock to CBLT (Crocodile Bridge Local Time), noting that ours is a whole three minutes behind that.

We spruce up at the ablutions, then straight to the shop to find that, due to a delayed delivery on victuals, the meat selection is almost non-existent. A few minutes to shop-closing translates into inadequate time for take-aways and, with the braai option now depleted, we are beginning to contemplate testing our atrophied appendices on leaves and grass. Maybe there is a chance their primeval functioning could be resurrected? However, no matter of praying could achieve that in time for dinner and - we must admit it - the distant thunder is emanating from our lower-chest region.

"Maybe tinned short-spaghetti and rolls?" suggests Aimee.
I pucker my nose at the thought, but the old adage that aligns beggars with choosers is stronger than my pride.
We stare at the tinned food section, but no spaghetti either - only green beans in brine or tender baby peas. Bully-beef is too fattening and sliced ham is insufficient on its own. They really are short on stock!

"Rolls and cheese?" I try, with a final desperate frown. Aimee nods.
We rush to the baked-flour shelf (the shop wants to close and we're holding up their sundowners), but the rolls are hard, the bread is squished, and the chelsea buns would give me heartburn.

"Hi Sir; can we help?" I see a dignified, well-spoken black man addressing me with a concerned smile. I look at his badge, which sadly for my English-trained brain, has an unpronounceable name attached. He sees me looking and helps me with the pronunciation, but as quickly as I say it, so rapidly has it flown from my memory. :( What is important to us at this moment, though, is that the badge also states that he is the camp manager. :dance:

"I know you're closing," I tell him, "but we can't seem to find anything that might cause our tummies to be satisfied."
He is savvy enough to understand the situation in an instant. After all, he is the camp manager. :D
"Sorry, Sir; but the deliveries are late. We don't have a restaurant here so, for this time only, would you like to get food in town?"

This is one of the last offers I expect from him, but I happily grab it as quickly as the vibration of his words stimulates my auditory nerve!
"Thank you so very much!" I gush.
"It's a pleasure, Sir. I'll radio the gates. Give me five minutes, then go out the main gate, turn left behind the camp, go over the bridge, and the guard will let you through. Please make sure you're back by eight.

Aimee is beaming; I am grinning. We'd never had such an opportunity before; even though we know the road to the outside gate is very short (a few minutes at most), the thrill of self-driving after hours causes a great overflowing of joy to our core.

We leap into the car and drive the few metres to the main gate. The guard has been alerted and lets us through without question. Onto a bumpy service road along the camp fence, we crawl onto the main approach road from outside. Ahead, in the gloom, we see the low-water bridge over the Crocodile River.

Image

Our hearts are burning with a radiant light, piercing the enveloping darkness with an unstoppable excitement ...

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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Cicadas are sharing their unique drone with us; a sound I have always associated with being on holiday! Some people find it irritating: we revel in their meditative song. :dance:

We stop on the bridge to admire the twilight setting on the Crocodile River. Above the warm water is a swarm of flitting fireflies, adding surreality to the scene.

We watch as a pied kingfisher hovers above the river in its characteristic flight pattern. Then it swoops, diving at ninety-degrees to the water's surface. We see the slight splash (it is streamlined enough to cause minimal surface disturbance), hear the plop, and, a few instances later, it rises, flapping its wings strongly as the weight of a hapless fish hangs from its beak.

It settles on a perch to enjoy its prize:

Image


A group of hippos laze below the Prussian-blue sky, barely paying attention to our presence:

Image


After enjoying the magnificence, we drive the short distance to the outer gate; the guard has been alerted and waves us through ...

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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:57 pm 
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It is a strange feeling exiting the Park when we should be inside its perimeters, and especially because, when I enter those bejewelled gates, I have no desire to see or smell the outside world: a place they call "civilisation", but which seldom shows much civility! :(

However, the exit-road from Crocodile Bridge gate continues, to some extent, the natural Park-bush, making me feel more comfortable with the idea of rushing in and out for a quick bite. Of course, my thunderous hunger-pangs remind me that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs supercedes any thoughts of pride and purity! :lol:

We are gently tranquil as the little town of Komatipoort pops into view. A farmland on one side and then the few streets - poorly lit in parts - that indicate that human habitation has taken root and smothered most of the natural bush that adorned this ground for millions of years.

There is a cafe or two, but we have no desire to try untested food from a little shop whose hot-plates and oil have been smoking all day; the latter perhaps unchanged throughout the day. We see a conglomeration of vehicles outside a neatly cobbled pathway. A large, African-patterned, clay fountain also awaits. Since we see nothing to immediately attract the eye further down the road, we agree that we'll give this a try. Hope they've got take-aways, I wonder, as we tip-toe over the cobbles, past some inviting aloes and ferns.

A smiling girl greets us at the door, adjacent to a single, vertical pottery piece that stands alone in a vast entrance hall of rough-hewn tiles. The emptiness seems to be sucking us deeper inwards, patently to seat ourselves in the warmly-lit room behind. However, I know we shouldn't take advantage of the thoughtful Crocodile-Bridge manager's kindness, so I ask if they have take-aways. The girl is almost slightly thrown by this question - obviously, the decor and food there deserves a languishing, slow stay! - but, after she consults with a pleasantly smiling blonde carrying a kitchen towel, the answer is in the affirmative.

They don't have a take-away menu (that is obvious after the consultation that took place), but a neatly, leatherette-bound sit-down version. A cursory look reveals nothing that seems suitable for a take-away dinner. The smiling girl then notes that they have a 1kg pork-rib special for R90. In unison, my daughter and I agree. We're invited to take a seat in the bar, but I remind the girl that my daughter is only 10. She blushes and brings us two curved, smooth black chairs, placing them at one end of the vast entrance hall.
"Please take a seat; the food won't be long," she says sweetly.

Aimee and I sit down and admire spaceous, but strangely alluring, decor. The small-town tranquility is occasionally interrupted by the gentle clanging of kitchenware and a soft, kitchen word. After 20 minutes of seeing no other human, the smiling girl arrives from an antechamber and thanks us for our patience, suggesting the meal is on the way.

After 40 minutes, my buttock bones are pressing through the flesh, aided by the hard, black chairs. I begin to shift from side to side, then stand up and pace the well-ventilated room. A couple of African-theme paintings, hopefully by local artists, adorns two of the walls, with a vibrant black-and-earthenware colour-scheme gracing the other two walls.

I want to take some memorable photos of this quaint place, but discover that my memory stick is full. No time now to select pics for deletion, so I reseat myself and pretend to be nonchalant, despite my increasing wonder at the delay and my nagging intestines.

"I'm getting hungry," suggests Aimee in her little-girl, pleading voice. I step to the entrance of the back room, to see it empty. It is almost an hour now since we ordered our food. I have been tried and tested many times by the so-called "African Time" pace of doing things in small towns. Coming from a city, we try to be as patient as possible, but when the time to do anything exceeds double what we are used to, we begin to fidget and fret! The distant "thunder" is also becoming more importunate.

Deliberately, I step through the back room and into the kitchen. A chef is surprised by my appearance. Another staff member steps forward.
"We ordered our food an hour ago," I hear myself saying above the gentle din of the steam and sizzling fat. "Please could you tell us how long it will be as we need to get back to Crocodile Bridge!"

Off she slinks, to reappear a minute later with the smiling girl.
"I'm sorry," says the slightly-less-smiling girl; "we had a delay - it will be ready in ten minutes."
No other patrons, unless they are stowed away in secret rooms; a single rack of ribs to cook - what could be the delay? :huh: Still, we're on holiday and I refuse to be sucked into a city-situation of stress and sidetracking.
"Okay," I acquiesce, my face a little pinched with anxiety.
I treat my buttocks to the smooth, black chair once again.

Not five minutes later, out comes a take-away carton. We open it to see cut racks of ribs drenched in monkey-gland sauce. I thank the once-again-more-smiling girl, pay, and head back towards Kruger's gate, hoping they won't be too chagrinned at our delay.

The gate guard waves at us as we pass through, and we admire once again the flitting fireflies and languishing hippos by the low-water bridge. Soon we are at our tent, devouring the, I must admit, deliciously prepared pork ribs. Aimee breaks a record by eating an entire 500g at one sitting! She is proud of her accomplishment as we drift off to a well-earned sleep, the frogs see-sawing in their unique singsong ways, and a distant jackal reminding us that we are not city-bound, despite civilisation being a couple of kilometres away.

What will tomorrow yield?

_________________
EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


Last edited by onewithnature on Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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