Sunday, June 27, 2010

june 22nd through the 26th!

JUNE 23RD
We awoke early so that we could get a jump on the day. We left our campsite near the Boma and headed to Tarengia National Park(sp?). Our drive through the park was really great, we saw many different kinds of animals including elephants, zebras, gazelles, impalas, giraffes, monkeys, cape buffaloes, wildabeasts, and 2 leopards. Seeing all these animals was really a great experience because I’ve always dreamed of traveling to Africa to view these animals in their natural habitats. My favorite part of our journey through the park was when an adolescent elephant tried to show off and acted as if he was going to charge our truck, I have the whole thing on video so I’m pretty excited to show everyone back home. I’ve taken lots of videos on this trip, not just pictures, so that everyone at home can see what Africa is like in motion. We continued to follow roads and eventually got to a public campsite. When we arrived we met up with Massimo Bassano, a National Geographic photographer from Italy. He was about 5’9” with dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, very elegant! What I thought was really cool was that he took the National Geographic Picture of the Year for 2007. I’m sure you could Google it to see it. He also spoke several languages fluently and had traveled all over the world to take pictures. His most interesting story was about how he had almost been lynched by an angry mob in the Congo. He told us a few other stories which were pretty sweet. After that most of us went to bed, but I stayed up with Peter and Erin. We sat around the campfire and took a few cool pictures, we also heard zebras and hyenas while we sat out there. After that I headed to bed.

JUNE 24TH
We awoke early, yet again and ate a lovely breakfast before leaving the campsite. We drove through the park for most of the morning and early afternoon. We saw tons of elephants, zebras, giraffes, impalas, gazelles, wildabeasts, and several other animals too. Soon we headed out of the park and went to another national park! This one was much more jungle-like and had tons of monkeys and birds. On the way in we stopped at a picnic site and had another great lunch, I felt really tired though and I had an intense headache. But it wasn’t too bad. Just as we finished lunch 2 baboons came and decided to check us out. After that we headed into the forest and looked for all kinds of wildlife. We saw several kinds of monkeys as well as elephants, monater (sp?) lizards, and hippos! In all it was really an awesome experience with new memories that will last a lifetime. After this we drove up the side of a mountain to get to our next campsite. I was super tired so I passed out for an hour before dinner and then right after dinner as well at like 8:30.

JUNE 25TH
We awoke extremely early to go to Ngorogoro(sp?) crater, which actually isn’t a crater, it’s a caldera. In fact, it’s the world’s largest caldera. We ate a lovely breakfast and headed out to the national park in 3 land rovers. My car buddies were Killerai (our guide, he’s a beast), Erin (the national geographic leader), Lexi, Sarah, and Tracy. We had a great time going all around the caldera seeing all sorts of animals. Most notably lions, and cheetahs. We saw one lioness eating a zebra which it had killed. We were literally 20 feet away from her while she was chowing on this zebra, absolutely incredible. Then we heard that cheetahs had been sighted on the other side of the park on a hill kind of thing, so we headed over there. Finding those cheetahs on that hill was basically impossible.. Their camouflage is absolutely unbelievable. Like even with a 350x zoom I still couldn’t find them. Eventually after literally 45 minutes of searching, I finally found the cheetahs and I have the pictures to prove it. After that we headed to a picnic area for lunch. The picnic area was really awesome because it was right next to a pond that was filled with hippos. That was really awesome to be right next to. Another interesting thing was that these birds of prey would swoop down and try to steal your food like right out of your hands. One tried to ambush me as I walked to the pond, but luckily I saw it out of the corner of my eye and ducked just in time to avoid being gashed by it’s sharp talons. After lunch we headed out in search of animals. We came across a hyena that had been attacked by lions, it was really hard to watch because you could see that it was going to die in the next few hours and it was in very severe pain. It’s back legs had massive gouges that were probably an inch deep or so. It lifted it’s head up and looked up at us and it was truly heart wrenching. I think I took 1 picture of it before I had had enough. Then we moved on down the road and saw 4 lions sleeping by a water pool. One of them had flipped over completely and was laying on it’s back, it was pretty funny to watch. Then we headed to another pond where we saw 5 hippos. 1 of hippos was actually rolling on it’s back in the water. It was absolutely hilarious. There was also a little baby hippo in the pool that was only like a week old, and it was absolutely adorable. Soon after that we headed out, but not before we stopped to look at baboons that were at the side of the road. I got a really nice video of a funny baby baboon. Then we left the park and headed home. When we arrived, there was another group at camp from Geneva. They were actually from the American school there so they spoke perfect English and were really nice. We ate a great dinner and then had our photos viewed by Massimo and the rest of the group. My photos ended up being really nice which made me quite happy. I’ll try to post them if I can sometime soon. After that we headed to bed.

JUNE 26TH
We finally got to “sleep in” and awoke at 7:15. We packed up our stuff and ate a lovely breakfast. Then we loaded up onto the Man truck and started our journey to The O’Neal’s house (the people who run UACC). Part way through our journey we stopped to drop off Massimo so that he could catch his flight back to Italy. After saying our goodbyes to Massimo, we headed down a dirt road to the Dorobo (our safari company) headquarters. We ate our final safari lunch there and bought Dorobo t-shirts. Following that we drove through Arusha and Magia Chi before turning onto a small dirt road to get to the O’Neal’s house. On the journey I learned that Mr. O’Neal was part of the Black Panthers during the civil rights movements of the 60’s and 70’s, which I think is really really cool. When we arrived we said our goodbyes to Killerai and Simon (our driver). Then we unloaded our bags from the truck, unfortunately I think my tripod bag was stolen by one of the villagers who was watching us unload. I was more upset that my machete was in the bag with the tripod! Yes I bought a machete… After that we gathered our stuff and headed into the compound. The compound is HEAVAN. It has hot showers, running water, electricity, internet, and FIFA. I watched the final minutes of Uruguay vs Korea and I watched the first half of the USA vs Ghana before heading to bed.

14 comments:

  1. Kevin, this sounds like you have had an amazing adventure. We can't wait to see you and look at all of your pictures! Got to go - Trill is banging her bowl for food.

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  2. She's just so rude isn't she? So bossy and demanding!

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  3. hey kevin its erin. Bethany and I just finished a volleyball camp this week from 9 to 12. It was surprisingly a lot of fun. Canada was fun but there were HUGE dock spiders! Aunt Ellen is coming today to visit Opa. Mom gets so excited when your blog gets updated and when you called you were like hi mom and she jumped and screamed KEVIN!!! Jake and Trilly got their hair cut yesterday so they look different but at least the smell good instead of smelling super nasty. Trill scratched my legs a ton when mom and i dropped them off. Tons of people are asking me "Oh my god what did you do to your legs?" The doggies miss you kevin. We will have your burger with bacon and lettuce and a cupcake for you when we pick you up at the airport. Glad you haven't gotten eaten by a lion yet. See you Wednesday
    Erin

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  4. Erin! Well i'm glad that volleyball camp was fun! I hope you guys got some really good pictures in canada because I want to see what you all were up to. Did you go fishing for me? Hahahahahaha I knew mom would absolutely love getting a phone call from me, i'm glad that she like it. Give Trillium a huge hug for me! And can you bring me a chocolate shake too?

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  5. Hey Kevin its Meghan! haha mom totally freaked out. It was almost scary. I just finished a volleyball camp with Jordan called Camp MVP. It was like a buttload of fun. The dogs miss you and whenever there is a new update Mom hogs the whole computer. Its so rude. She checks frequently everyday. Good news! I can make pancakes now!!! Haha. Avalanche is really annoying... what else is new! I can't wait to see you. I can't wait to see all the pictures and videos that you have taken. Your blog is great. I make Mom read me the updates whenever you post new ones. WOW Avalanche just barfed... twice. How charming... gross three times now. I miss u a lot but I don't think as much as Mom and Dad who are obsessed with your blog... no joke. Don't die in Africa. It sounds like you are having buttloads of fun. I am so jealous that you saw a cheetah! I can't wait to see you on Wednesday... Mom will probably start crying with happiness. They miss you SOO much!
    Love you lots forever, Meghan

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  6. Brosif life isn't the same without you. So you went to volleyball camp too? I've heard that it was pretty fun! Thanks for the play by play with the avalanche barfing saga, it made me laugh out loud. And i'm sure that mom and dad are obcessed with the blog, they probably check every 5 minutes! I actually miss home A LOT, like i'm ready to come home now, so I'm pretty excited for tuesday

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  7. Hi, Kevin. Aunt Barb here. I've been reading your blog too. Sounds like a great trip. I hope that you will post some pics on your facebook page. I would love to go on a trip like this some day. Sounds great!

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  8. Auntie Barb! It's been an amazing trip, I've really learned a lot about African life, and my life as well. It's been quite a humbling experience. And I'll definitely post some pictures as soon as I get back to Houston!

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  9. BROSIF! I MISS U. i can't wait to make you a big fat pancake because i just love to make them now! o boii i know life is not the same without me.... how could it be. I am just the best little sister everrrrr (way better than erin) I can't wait to see you. I call hugging you first (but I think mom might fight me for that) It sounds like you've had a great time. You are coming home soon. The dogs will want to see you a lot!!!!!!!
    Peace out homie, Meghan

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  10. hey kevin!! its erin again yes i went fishing for you but i went cheater fishing and im the one who hooked the worms on the hook and un hooked the fishes. yep thats right i had to hold the fish and take the hook out. and some fish were super squirmy! haha i named the first fish i caught Alfred. i have a picture of Alfred and a couple of other fish we caught. and believe it or not but meghan and i swam all the way to bear island and we have the pictures to prove it! I will make sure we have all the food you want when we pick you up
    Erin

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  11. Hi Kevin.

    I've just caught up on your latest series of fascinating blogs - what a trip you're having! And your writing is painting such a vivid picture of your experiences, that, seriously, just ditch that fancy camera of your Dad's somewhere and keep up the writing - it's all you need to capture the memories and for us to imagine them.

    Michael

    PS - just kidding, of course, about the camera. I can't wait to see some pictures at some point!

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  12. Meghan- I still dont believe you can make pancakes. Are they good?? And I think mom will want the first hug but we'll see on Wednesday! I leave tomorrow, it's kind of weird thinking that I'll be home in like 2 days, but i'm excited for it.

    Erin- I knew you would go cheater fishing for me! And you caught a fish and named it Alfred?! I found a Geico here and named him Alfredo! That's quite ironic. You swam all the way to Bear Island?!?! I need photo proof because i'm not sure if I can believe you..

    Michael- Thanks for keeping up with my blog, I'm glad that people actually sit down and take the time to read the 10+ pages worth of stories that i've typed! And I'll be sure that I post tons of pictures so that you can see everything that I've seen while I was here!

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  13. kevin, I CAN MAKE PANCAKES! they are good!!! - meghan

    kevin- IM WATCHING THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR!!!!-
    erin

    see you soon!

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