Thursday 25 December 2008 Today is our first Bangladeshi wedding anniversary with F. who was the first one to congratulate. He beat me to it :-) [...] At 7 AM, we went for our walking safari. It lasted for about 2 hours.
In addition to our guide David, another guide with a weapon also accompanied us. Whilst walking, we saw gazelles, topes, buffalos and jackals. We also saw an impala skeleton hanging down from the branch of a tree. Clearly, it has been hunted by a leopard, brought up to the tree and eaten by the cat on the tree. It was a very interesting sight.
Besides this, David told us about plants and animals dones. Among the plants were one with purple flowers, the fruit of which is used against snake poison, wild acacia, wild gardenia, and a tree, which is used by the Masai to clean their teeth with its branches. In Masai villages, there are plant doctors, "witches" who know all the uses and effects of the plants. The sick and the villagers see them to get treated. We observed the elephant dones. The elephants have a very weak digestive system. For this reason, their done consists of grass, which has not been fully digested. The Masai collect this, burn it for heating, and boil it to make 2 year olds drink the done water in order to strengthen their immune system. They also make people with stomach ache drink this. Giraffe done is small and round. It is very interesting that a very small done comes out of such a big animal. In watery areas, because the lions and other predators hunt animals while they are drinking, some animals such as dikdiks developed new methods and are never seen drinking water. They quench their need for water by sucking the water drops on plant leafs.
We also found a giraffe skull. Besides the organs, it was a complete one, including all the teeth. I held and lifted the skull by holding the horns. It was pretty heavy. At least around 7 kg. It could be even heavier. The crane is quite small but the eye cavities are pretty large. ... Another eventful evening safari [...]. Soon after we went out for the safari, thick and grey clouds followed us. Our guide, Masai David quickly covered our car's top and right side. Immediately, the heavy rainfall started. Rain of this sort is not normal this time of the year in Kenya. It must be one of the effects of global warming. With the start of the rainfall, all the animals started running around. Some of the gazelles sat down on the spot. This is to protect themselves from lightening. It became more difficult to find the animals. Even though we didn't see a hyena, we saw a large and deep hole, which they dug and use as their nest. Then a big, massive male lion! He was older than the one we saw in Shampole, so his head and mane were much more magnificent. He looked very noble. He was really very impressive. But there were 12 cars surrounding the lion. Unfortunately, Masai Mara is very touristy and the animals are almost domesticated. The poor lion was disturbed and bored by the exhaust blowing on his face and glaring eyes, so he hid behind the bushes. Because it was raining cats and dogs non-stop, the roads (or rather the stony pathways) became muddy and slippery. Our jeep constantly swerved from one side to another and slipped. From time to time I was frightened. Due to the cold and rain, we returned to the camp early. Safari under the rain was of course a nice experience. Now as I am writing this, the rain is strongly and incessantly dropping on top of our tent. It is actually creating a very romantic atmosphere. I never knew that always being in nature, hearing its sounds (including the rain) and sleeping with these sounds could be so relaxing. It is perfect that there is no radio, TV, artificial tools, electronic or plastic gadgets, a single building or car noise. This way, F. and I get to spend more time with each other and talk. It is our last night in Kenya. I am sad that we are leaving tomorrow. But at the same time, I am worried that this rain will continue. Because flying in a small plane to Nairobi in this weather is no different than writing my death sentence. I am frightened each time I remember what I have been through on the plane for the sake of reaching Masai Mara. If it was possible, I would certainly prefer travelling by car or staying here and missing our London plane (God forbid of course). God willing, I hope the weather will be calm tomorrow and our flight will be safe and comfortable. ... Last night in Kenya...Because it is Christmas night and because all the guests of Kitcheche Camp eat all the meals together around the same table; tonight, the dinner was special. What I want to write about is about the dance show that the Masai employees of the camp put on for us in their traditional red costumes and with knifes and spears in their hands. They lined up one by one and passed around the tables hopping a few times whilst making deep throaty noises, which probably also included some words. These sounds are to scare the lions off. Then they got into a semi-circle and one by one got in the middle and jumped high. Each one tried to jump higher than the other.
Then, they got into pairs and jumped in a synchronised manner. The one who jumps the highest grabs the girls' attention and also would not have to pay with 5 cows to marry a girl.
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