November 15, 2009
Yesterday, Kai and I went out in the morning in one of the Land Rovers with Killarai to watch zebras as usual, but oddly enough had trouble finding them! Eventually we did find some, but we decided to go back to camp for lunch and use the afternoon to start doing some data entry since we’ve collected so many sample so far!
I ended up going out in the afternoon with my friends Lydia and Rachel while they looked for more weaver nests. It was great fun – weavers are incredible little birds and the way the trees look when they are covered in weaver nests is very reminiscent of Dr. Seuss illustrations. We had great fun standing in the back of the Land Rover and hanging on while Killarai drove it a fast-as-light forty five miles per hour. Which doesn’t sound that fast when you think of driving at home on the highway, but forty five on a dirt access track in the middle of the bush in Tanzania is a different feeling entirely!
Back at camp, we were all really excited because Daudi, his awesome wife Trude and two of their friends from Arusha, Kim and Fred, had arrived to spend the last few days camping with us and birding with Mwalimu Ken. We ended up not having out usual evening lecture on some aspect of vertebrate biology because they were too busy searching for birds!
And now I’m getting lazy and trying to conserve battery for more data entry, so I’ll just leave you with a quick list of amusing incidents:
1. Kai spent all day discussing how much he wanted to try “amarillo” and Killarai and I had no idea in what he was talking about. Turns out that he meant “amarula”, a very sweet, caramely sort of cream liquor which is indeed very tasty!
2. Kai trying to drive the Land Rover – equal parts amusing and terrifying! I really want to drive as well, but given the fact that the stick is on the left because the steering wheel is on the right means that I probably would be incapable of shifting gears given the fact that my elbow and wrist are still quite weak and painful on and off.
3. Kim deciding that “zebra later!” is a clever pun on the phrase “see ya later!”
4. Watching a lone wildebeest run away from the Land Rover repeatedly as he kept running away only to end up in the exact place we were trying to drive to! Poor thing probably thought we were trying to hunt him down.
5. Zach and Anton imitating the pair bonding dances of the hornbills they are studying. This is priceless on so many levels. Its already commonly accepted knowledge around camp that at some point, Anton will lock Zach in their tent and just unzip it enough to toss in food now and then so that Zach can concentrate on laying eggs – just like horn bills do by holing their mates up in trees and blocking the entrances with mud.
Wish you were here!