Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monkey Sense: Lesson 3

Did you know zebras can only see in black and white?

How ironic.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monkey Sense: Lesson 2

When you can't reach an itch, find a stick.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Safari Time!

Park Reserves Tsavo East and West, Kenya. April 11-13, 2009

Safari's aren't the toughest of sports. In fact, it's not tough at all. We just get driven around in these super mini-vans with insane suspension and sweet sun roofs- which gives us plenty of time and energy to take pictures like this:

Or like this:
Or like this:

You get the point.

But besides my unnecessary posing activities, we're also driven around because there's so much to see! 

Hippos in a river

And some things require a really keen eye to notice. 

Check it out: A Five-"legged" (Male) Elephant. Yeah. Our jaws dropped too.

But as amazing as it was to see the multitudes of creatures that roam Kenya, I found that my most memorable moment was watching Africa take in a quiet, deep breath as a new day began.

Hippo Takes a Dip at Sunrise: Tsavo West, Kenya

Sigh... what a wonderful place...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Ape Man Girl and the Ape Man Club

I think I'm sophisticated cos I'm living my life like a good homosapien.
But all around me everybodys multiplying.
Till they're walking round like flies man.
So I'm no better than the animals sitting in their cages in the zoo,
mancos compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees.
I am an ape man.

I think I'm so educated and I'm so civilized cos I'm a strict vegetarian.

But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians.

I dont feel safe in this world no more
I dont want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man.

I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man.

I'm an ape man.
I'm a king kong man.

I'm ape ape man.
I'm an ape mancos compared to the sun that sits in the sky.

Compared to the clouds as they roll by.
Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies.
I am an ape man.

In mans evolution he has created the cities and
The motor traffic rumble, but give me half a chance
And I'd be taking off my clothes and living in the jungle

cos the only time that I feel at ease
Is swinging up and down in a coconut tree

Oh what a life of luxury to be like an ape man.

I'm an ape, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man.
I'm a king kong man,
I'm a voo-doo man. I'm an ape man.
I look out my window, but I cant see the skycos the air pollution is fogging up my eyes.
I want to get out of this city alive.

And make like an ape man.

I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man.
I'm a king kong man, I'm a voo-doo man. I'm an ape man.

I'll be your tarzan, youll be my jane.
I'll keep you warm and youll keep me sane.
And we'll sit in the trees and eat bananas all day.
Just like an ape man.

I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man.
I'm a king kong man, I'm a voo-doo man. I'm an ape man.

I dont feel safe in this world no more.
I dont want to die in a nuclear war.
I want to sail away to a distant shore.

And make like an ape man.


Credits: Thanks, Cosmo, Mogli, and Bellena for inspiring and concocting a unforgettable weekend!
Photos taken by Cosmo, Bellena, and me at the beach and sand dunes surrounding the Che Chale Resort, Melindi, Kenya.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Monkey Sense

Africa gushes with life.  From the multitudes of ants that line your room like blinking Christmas lights to the monkeys (with pretty balls) that steal your food, 

it just GUSHES with life here.  So, with this constant reminder of the "circle of life"and creatures that keep it rolling, you can't avoid learning a few life lessons from their prying  hands.

Lesson 1: Carry a Sharp Object
Trigger fish are pretty territorial. I knew this. After all, the only creature that managed to draw blood from me when I worked at the TN Aquarium was an itty bitty trigger fish that found the only whole in my dive get-up (tip of my index finger).  It wasn't the sharks,  barracudas,

                                                     or giant arapaimas that got me.

It was that little trigger protecting its nest. Thus, it came as no surprise that the animal that would try to hunt me in Africa would be yet another trigger- only the ones here are HUGE. They're a little over 1.5 feet long, 1 foot high, fat, and look like bullies on the loose with buck-teeth. They're also known for taking bites off of fins and bruising divers.

So there I was, cruising through the reef with just Saidi, a local dive master, when two (and one in particular) started charging at us.  Repeatedly.  Now here's the problem with underwater assaults: You're defensive moves are in slow-motion and their attacks are real-time. I mean, they're of the sea and you're of low-friction land.  Speed just isn't on your side. The best thing to do is get out of there. So we did. And the darn things kept following us. Finally, in my semi-panicked state, I pulled out my final line of defense: My sharp object- A stream line, state-of-the art pencil. Yup. A pencil. After all, I was doing conservation-related research. What else would I have?

The good thing is that it worked. I held up the pencil bravely in front of my mask and made a few threatening jabs.  The trigger must have realized the game was over because it saw the pencil and ducked away with its mate and never bothered us again... 

(Actually, I think we just finally got out of his territory but I would have taken a chunk out of him if I had to!  Therefore, this story is totally legit. So like I said, carry a sharp object and stand firm.)