Friday, December 29, 2006

The Long Road to Zanzibar

First we want to thank everyone for the comments! We definitely feel the love . . . which reminds me of a Lion King song, which reminds me that we've been constantly thinking about the Lion King . . . here we hope to give a quick update of some juicy stories and interesting moments. We'll give the play by play in a few days from Dar es Salaam, where we will have basically nothing to do but hang out online.

We're here in Zanzibar at last. The past week has been grueling--as Megan so perfectly puts it, "it has been a trip of extremes." We've had some of our best travel experiences and worst travel experiences, and we sometimes have to think that the worst travel experiences will someday be our favorite memories.

An example. Christmas Day was an unusual one. The night before had been bizarre (can't even start that now), and we woke up Christmas morning at roughly five a.m. to the sight of a massive mosquito net and the sound of tropical rain. We joined the portion of our crew that had camped for the night at Miserani Snake Ranch (yes, great advertising for a camp ground . . . and yes, they do have a large collection of venomous African snakes . . . and yes, they remind you that most of those snakes live all around us in Tanzania). The crowd that had been camping was less than cheery, and we were soon ankle deep in mud trying to load vans to head to the Serengeti. Christmas was looking bleak.

But then an omen . . . a wonderful omen . . . our driver to the Serengeti was named Livingstone! We knew that would mean good things awaited us in the future. That was partially true and partially really really wrong.

While I'll get into animals later (yes, saw cheetahs, wildebeest, lions, topi, impala, giraffes, zebra, elephants, warthogs, rhinos, hyenas, jackals, ostrich, baboons, etc., etc., etc.), that night at the campsite was particularly interesting.

We had reached the campsite (which had no fences, barriers, armed guards or other barricade-like things) after braving roads that looked more like rivers, and we were exhausted by time we could attempt to pitch a very musty tent. The campsite had a sign that we initially dismissed: "Caution: Wild Animals May Attach Humans At Campsite." While we thought being attacked would be bad, being "attached" seemed somehow much, much worse.

Anyway, later in the evening, we sipped on a spicy cucumber soup followed by a tasty coconut rice. Then, the ever trusty Livingstone approached to give us some information. Apparently hyenas, jackals, and lions were frequent visitors to the campsite. We later learned that on that same Christmas night a lion made a kill just a hundred meters from a neighboring campsite. We also later learned of a woman who was bitten by a hyena on that very Christmas day.

The news was unfortunate as I had quickly acquired a taste for Kilimanjaro, a Tanzanian beer (say "it's Kili time!" to a local, and you're bound to get an excited response). I decided it would be in my best interest to not drink any more anything and avoid leaving the confines of our canvas shelter for the duration of the evening.

Such would not be my fortune. Around 2:30 in the morning, I hear an urgent request, "Brad, I need to go to the bathroom." My first thought was to deny her request and reason with her about the likelihood of wild beasts biting her bum in the night air. However, her voice contained a certain urgency . . . an urgency nearly every one of us would share in the days to come (and Brad still makes those urgent demands today!). I knew she had to go. I also knew that the sheltered lavatory near the campsite was a vile waste pit, a stinking filthy nasty vomitous cement hole in the ground with no lights. So that meant Megan would be using a bush, and I would be guarding for lions, hyenas and jackals that may be tempted to "attach" us.

Luckily, we were not attached, and we soon returned to our relatively safe shelter for the remainder of the night. Happy honeymoon to us, and a Merry Christmas to all!

In a couple of days, look for stories about the overwhelming popularity of G. Unit and 50 Cent (if you see "fity," tell him that Captain Salem wants him to come to Zanzibar). Maybe we can also give details of yesterday's 16 hour bus trip with no toilet during the journey . . . which involved naked swimming men and nearly being mobbed by a gang wielding machetes.


Mark Everett said...

I can all ready see you planning on writing a book like the sex lives of cannibals. We are getting about a foot of snow tonight...wooooo. I still dont understand why I couldnt have come with you on your honeymoon, darsh

Mark Everett

Missy said...

i can think of some other things you might do in Dar es Salaam. sounds like an exciting trip. my exciting trip to Amarillo is being cut out due to before mentioned snow.

Wes said...

I am so glad to hear that you have survived the first part of your trip intact.

I can't wait to hear the rest of the story.


Jenny said...

Wow...sounds like an "adventure" to say the least! I'm glad you made it if we can just get you home w/o being "attached"!!! haha. I miss you guys! Can't wait to hear more:)

Love you,

christin said...

I think I'm going to quit my job to promote your is absolutely hilarious. I am sad to know that hyenas are vicious though :(

Love you,

Anonymous said...

What a jolly, holly Christmas! Hope there's plenty to cheer as ya'll head for the New Year. Sounds like better days lie ahead, though. Thanks for the update.
Luv ya--
Daddy Rick

George said...

I bet I'm the only one in the room who knows what a topi is. And I hate etc.'s when it comes to aminals.

Glad y'all are having a ball. Sure sounds like the Africa I remember. Did I tell you about the time an elephant broke down a tree about 12 feet in front of my tent? I hope you get attached so you can report back as to how exciting it really was (I'll tell you about snakes when you get back. Don't want to scare Megan).

(And by Megan, I mean Brad).

ME said...

I dont think I can ever forgive Bill Turner for this big of a misprediction of snow amounts. I dont see how 12 inches could turn to 0 inches. This may be the end of Bill Turner in my life...

Anonymous said...

I read your travel report - gives me all sorts of new ideas for my prayer time. All I can say is - Megan, I hope you packed your dental floss!! Love MOM(Bush)

Tom said...

Sounds crazy. I will be in Breckenridge snowboarding some sweet powder in 40 degree weather. Jealous much Brad? See you soon guys...well maybe not see you soon, but hear from you soon.

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