Spring break odyssey: Day 1
This spring break, we decided to take Spectrum along with us to wherever we’ll be. Some of these tales are fictional, others not so far from the truth. Either way, it’s up to you to decide.
Whew, midterms week was rough. That pop quiz in Interpretive Dance? Is “you are a self-actualizing fish” even a valid prompt for a free-form improvisation? I won’t ever know, but I do know that I now have nine days in front of me, a plane ticket to Africa, a self-inflating moon bounce, and a spliff. Totally kidding about one of those things.
Alma looks so lonely right now—she’s holding her hands to vacant stairs. My closest friends are gone to Miami, the Dominican Republic, SF, you name it. No one wanted to come with me, sadly. You see, I had this distant great-aunt who passed away and left me a boatload of inheritance. With all this money suddenly, it was time for me to see the world.
It’s a form of self-actualization. I’m a self-actualizing fish.
First Stop: The Serengeti in Kenya
My plane is landing now, and I can see dust clouds riding the hot savanna plains. Mmmh, I can almost taste the wilderness. Oh, great! There’s my taxi driver.
The Serengeti, or the Maasailand—named for its historical tribes the “Maasai”—lies between Tanzania and Kenya. Between the two governments, over 80% of the Serengeti is protected in parks, conservation areas, and game reserves. It has some of the largest and most diverse migrating herds of animals in the world—I’m going to see gazelles, giraffes and lions!
I think it was Julia Child who hiked across the Serengeti carrying only a sleeping bag, a water bottle, and a rope to circle her sleeping bag … to keep the scorpions away? I’m not sure, but whatever. If she could do it, I could do it. I didn’t exactly plan it this way, but something sort of not-so-cool happened between me and my guide a while back. Apparently the word for “thank you” in Swahili is not “kutomba wewe” as my taxi driver told me. After I “thanked” him for helping me, my guide shouted at me and left. Its okay, though! I have a rope, a water bottle and a sleeping bag, and if that was good for Julia Child, it will be good for me.
I never considered myself much of a spiritualist, but I always wanted to experience the Serengeti. Look at this nature! I haven’t seen signs of a human for miles. I caught a glimpse of a watering hole about an hour back. Not exactly “Lion King”—just a couple of lizards. I was really beginning to doubt my abilities for a second back there, what with all my sweat and thirst and stuff, but now I feel perfect. Like, 110% muy great. Like, AMAZING! Am I rambling? Guys, its not me—the sun has been in my eyes for the past six hours.
Where are all the animals? Whom am I to commune with? Since my guide left me, I’ve been trekking in a consistently northward direction. The wind always blows north, right? Although … the sun is setting in front of me. Hmm. Wow, I never realized how long shadows can stretch on a flat plain. I feel like my slender form is stretching out for miles behind me. Dude, it’s hot, even with the sunset. And why haven’t I seen any wildlife yet? With whom will I commune? Is that a building in front of me? I can’t tell because my eyes are tired from squinting. It could just be a cliff or something. I was originally headed to Ol Doinyo Lengai, the only active volcano in the Serengeti. Nothing like hiking a volcano, am I right—imagine all the animals and plants I could see from the volcano’s height. Speaking of the animals, where are they?? Will commune I with whom?
Ok, I’m seriously starting to… Was my skin always the color of that reddish sand over there? That reddish sand over there by the … oh good, it is a building of some sort. I really need to lie down in some shade and find a nice place to sleep and perhaps a guide. I certainly won’t mention “kutomba wewe” again. If I could just make it past this fence, if I could just make it to this door, if I could just open it, if I could….
Wait … are those poachers??
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