Entry #29: Beautiful and
I'm sure that at some point you've all read a book
that portrays Africa as a magical place. I'm here to testify that
it's all true! Okay, so maybe Im being a bit generous since I have
only been to Tanzania's capital and it's world famous national parks. I'm
sure my opinion would be different if I had also visited Sudan
or Rwanda. Sort of like someone traveling to San Francisco and Yosemite
and assuming all of North America was just as great...but, hey, this
is my website and I'm going to take some artistic liberties in writing
My experience in Tanzania was magical, not in a
Harry Potter way, but more in a Ouija board
sort of way. I can't quite point to one specific thing that made Tanzania
mystical; its the vague way that a collection of 5 second experiences
culminate into an overall positive feeling.
Maybe it is the way the golden grassy plains are spotted with green flat top trees like the fur of a leopard.
Or maybe its
the way the vibrant blue and red robes of the nomadic Massai tribesmen
speckle the distant countryside like the first stars after sunset
as they herd their skeletal cattle and goats across the great river
Or maybe it is the way millions of pink flamingos create
a pink thread that rests on the horizon of Lake Myanmar.
it is the way that 50 hippos belching and farting to some chaotic
chorus in a way that would make any 8 year old boy (and this 32 year
old) giggle and laugh with glee.
Or the excitement of having an Elephant
charge the Safari Jeep youre in and for that moment before the
jeep speeds away to safety, you think you are living in a horror movie
where your panicking that something is about to go wrong and the driver
will not get the car in gear in time or he'll stall the engine or
the Jeep will get stuck in the mud bog.
Possibly its watching
two Zebras fight in the first rays of daylight under a 500 year old
Balboa tree with its enormous trunk and short branches.
Or maybe its
the fear that sneaks into your heart when you realize that something
is sniffing outside your tent and your not sure if its a lion, a hyena,
a wart hog, or the drunken Swede that had too much whiskey after dinner
and would think roaring like a lion as he jumped on your tent would
Or maybe its the way people greet you with a genuine
smile and give you honest advice, which is in such contrast to my
visit to India. Those experiences have made Tanzania a breath of fresh
air, literally and figuratively.
The wildlife is so abundant upon entering any of the national parks,
it seems surreal. It is like going to the zoo because the animals
are so close to the Jeep, if they aren't directly in the middle of
the road. As you will see from the photos, you don't just see 1 animal
at a time, but instead you see a herd of 4,000 Wildebeest that has
300 Zebra mixed in, as 10 lions watch from a rocky perch looking for
their next meal.
There is something that is different about seeing
1 of something as opposed to having your whole field of vision encompassed
by thousands, if not millions of something. Think of seeing one person
verses a sea of people at a protest or a festival, there is a different
energy from seeing that. It has been an incredible experience and
has been a highlight of my trip.
As far as cultural oddities, the strangest thing I have encountered
was a guy from New Zealand who was on the Safari trip. He used to
be an Olympic trampoliner, but now jumps on trampolines at Fashion
shows around the world! What the...! If my guidance counselor had
only told me that tramplolining was an occupation, I can only imagine
how different my life would be. Is tramplolining listed on the Myers
Briggs test? And what sort of personality combination do you need
to be matched with that occupation?
I feared that at this far into my journey I would be wowed out--numb
to new and wondrous things, jaded by beautiful sights and tired of
experiencing new cultures. But, I am glad to report that Tanzania
has really excited me for the last three weeks of my journey: the
Pyramids; Petra; Jerusalem; and Athens.
go to entry: #28
All Photos by Sean McGrail