My cousin Charlotte does not believe in paying money to look at an animal behind a cage. Why would you look at an animal behind a miserable locked cage when you could view an animal in its natural happy habitat? I must say, I do agree. My cousin Charlotte also dyed her jack russel pink with beet juice because she was bored during the rainy season. Clearly, I am related to this person.
That being said, since our return from Botswana we have spent much of our free time in South Africa visiting different nature reserves and playing with various animals face to face. Monday we went to the rhino and lion park where we were allowed to pet a cheetah named Eddy and some lion cubs. It was about mid day and they were very sleepy and didn’t really care one way or an other, but 1 lion cub did show me his teeth and if my translation is correct (the African accent was pretty thick) I think he said, “back the F$%# off white girl.” Whatever. I pretty much wrestled a rhino, don’t worry about it.
On this particular trip we also saw an ostrich-mating dance, which was pretty incredible. Basically the female ostrich prances around a little and shows off her feathers, then the male comes over with his pom-pom ass and really shows off his feathers. Then the female acts all uninterested and the male continues prancing around for her. I can’t help but think how much bird-mating displays are like every bar in a college town on a Saturday night.
Monday night we spent about a half an hour divvying up an impala that one of Uncle Nick’s customers shot. Apparently there are a hundred different flavors of antelope in Africa. Impala would be one of them. 200 kilos of impala meat is apparently a lot. Therefore there was some disagreement as to if this dude actually shot an impala or a kudu or water buffalo or something else entirely. Personally, I don’t really care, but when you marinate this mystery African meat in pomegranate and cover it with spice and star fruit it is absolutely delicious.
Tuesday after a lazy morning fueled by coffee and bacon, Charlotte took me to Glen Afric (an other nature reserve near her place) to frolic with the elephants. There is a mama and 2 babies. By babies I mean an animal taller than me and weighs 50 times as much, but thinks it is a playful kitten. When I was in Thailand I was not fazed when riding the elephants or even when the elephant I was riding decided to role around in the river we were walking through. I am not sure why (charging rhino) but for some reason (charging rhino) I felt a little more jumpy around these elephants (charging rhino). Regardless it was fun to pet them and have them throw dirt in our general direction.
Rewind! I should also tell the story of our re-entry into South Africa from Botswana (Sunday afternoon) because even though I am sure it was nothing to Charlotte and Brevis, it was an experience that added a few more grey hair to my head. If you will remember we still, obviously, didn’t have registration papers for the car we were trying to drive across this particular African border. This particular African border is interesting because most people from Botswana apparently hate the Afrikaans in South Africa. History lesson that I will not go into for your own sake. So even though Charlotte and Brevis both speak Afrikaans, when a Botswana official greets them in Afrikaans Charlotte and Brevis are forced to feign ignorance because if they were to reply in Afrikaans to these officials we would be in about 3 hours and a lot of moneys worth of trouble. I have so much to learn. At any rate, we (again) get through the passport side of things. We even get through the car side of things and we are about to drive over the border when we see an other car ahead of us stopped with at least 4 African officials in uniform surrounding it. The passenger from the car is clutching his passport and looks scared out of his mind. Again, I am trying to judge the veterans in the car and when I hear Charlotte mutter, “uh-oh…” my pulse quickens.
The second we pull up behind the other car, the African officials (and their guns) become immediately disinterested in the poor gentleman they had just been harassing and all eyes turn to our car. Said harassed gentleman quickly jumps into his own car and speeds away. Lucky bastard. Once again I try to plaster on my not so sly wide-eyed creepy grin. I am in the front seat and Charlotte is in the back and Brevis is driving, mind you. Brevis, cool as a freaking cucumber, hands the officials his passport and drivers license and asks the officials if they would like to see anything else. At this point, Charlotte and I are both sitting on top of a number of ostrich feathers we were attempting to bring back. Charlotte also has a giraffe tail she found on the ground tucked into her Prada. Yes Prada, your handbags are now being used as vehicles to carry giraffe tails around Africa. We dirty Americans thank you. At any rate, the African officials smile at Charlotte (obviously not the weird girl in the front who looks like she has just been let out of the psych ward) and ask Brevis to step out of the car. They lead Brevis to the back of the car and Charlotte turns around ready to grab certain luggage if and when they open the trunk. We see them all laughing and within 20 seconds Brevis is back in the drivers seat laughing. The trunk door not even touched.
“So what was that all about?” I asked, trying to seem like I wasn’t crapping my pants at that exact moment.
Brevis just laughed and nonchalantly said, “Oh those guys said I had 2 beautiful women sitting in the car and I must have more important things to do than sit at the border and I had better be on my way quite quickly so I could take care of things.”
Charlotte just giggled and said, “Oh you gotta love Africa.”
Yes. Yes I do.