Monday, January 19, 2009

South Africa Journal pt 3

We are sitting outside in the night time breeze, sprawled on the office steps, Lene and I. We are tandem typists. Bathed in the blue glow of our laptop screens, we pause only occasionally to swat away the biting insects attracted to them. Truth be told, the bugs here aren't nearly as bad as i had anticipated. No repellant needed, so far, and not a flea or bedbug in sight.

We revel in the small miracle of interrnet connectivity. Something largely unavailable to us in our first two weeks here, and something which we realized we both had completely taken for granted, communication-wise. I think it would not have made such a huge differnce to us in another place, under other circumstances, but here at the sanctuary it was hard not to feel claustrophobic and cut off from the world without that particular communication link. Our cell phones do not work here. It is unsafe to walk anywhere alone or at all after dark. This combined with the time difference and our working hours makes getting to a pay phone or internet cafe ridiculously inconvenient. Even in yellowood park, away from the city center, we are surrounded by concrete walls and electric fences. No one goes out at night and there are lunging guard dogs in the front yard of every home down our street. Its a gorgeous place. But not a cozy one.

I used one of my days off today to just sleep in, paint my toenails, and call around to see what kind of adventures we gan get up to. i swore i wouldn't waste any days just sitting around, but then because of the difficulty with phones i ended up not taking any days off at all and just working straight through because i didn't have any actual plans. So i think a sleep in was needed. And i got some calling done too, so i think it was worth it

After Amy and Claire were done their feeds we cabbed into the pavillion to grab a bite to eat and catch a movie. A girlie night at the mall. Hah! Who's a tourist now? :-P Still it was fun. We had a huge supper and a few too many cocktails. The movie was alright ("Yes" with Jim Carrey, a cute - if a little basic - feel good movie about making your own adventures) Good for a few laughs and a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling, anyway.

I managed to completely put my foot in my mouth in the usual Tuttle style on the way home. I'd taken a picture of Claire in the back of the cab and the flash had accidentally gone off on my camera. The cabbie looked around to see where the lights had come from (bouncing off all the glass windows and mirror, of course) we all laughed and i apologised to him for the distraction (especially while driving at night!) and when he gestured at the rearview mirror i laughed and said something like "Good lord! Are you blind now?" At which the car got pretty quiet. Assuming the moment had simply ended, i didn't think anything of it until after we got home.
And then Amy told me he had actually, seriously, had a glass eye or been blind in one eye, which i obviously hadn't noticed.
And so i keep my tiara as the reigning queen of awkwardness !
At least She tipped him well...

*scritches head sheepishly*

New subject!

I've managed to book a three day horseback tour of the daakensberg mountains and to the Sani pass in Lesotho next week, which i'm really excited about. The Basotho people, apparently, dont believe in fences and high security. They pride themselves of being quite separate from their surrounding South African neighbors. The guide book described it as "a welcome change, visually AND psychologically" from the concrete and razor wire of SA. I have to admit, as soon as i read those words i heaved a great big sigh and thought "yeeeeeah...."

Tomorrow one of the vets is taking us back to the Natural history museum. I'd been talking about how much i wanted to see it for a few days, and then Amy, Claire and i ended up going on a goose rescue with Medi and thats where it ended up being. We actually coralled the geese and their 4 goslings into the open doors or the museum itself, so that the parents wouldn't be able to fly of and abandon their babies if they felt too stressed. we walked them all to the far corner of the exhibit, opened the catchbox and grapped the nets. I got the mum and someone scooped up the goslings. Then the dad took off, flapping accross the hall. The curator grabbed one of our nets and took off after him. The hall was instantly filled with a cacaphony of eching goose honks, flapping wings and deafening crashes as the curator swung his net madly at the goose. We stifled our laughter as the net bounced and thrashed above the display boards and the goose raced from end to end. At least they couldn't say it was us, if anything got broken. I was a little worried, with the curators...enthusiasm, that the goose might have been injured in the catch, but he was netted and examined and none the worse for wear aside from a lost feather or two and being a little bit out of breath.

As it turned out, the curator was friends with Medi, and offered to show us around behind the scenes a little. We got to see the private entymology collection and a few of the pickled specimens. He was about to show us the mammal collection but we had to cut things short on account of the geese we'd captured, now waiting in crates in the foyer. Medi promised to bring his friend a few specimens of the giant biting spiders from the pelican enclosure (horrible black and red pointy legged things with caustic yellow looking webs). So we're going back for a better visit tomorrow morning. After we collect some spiders. *shudders*

We're all having a big lamb cook out tomorrow night after work. Then on thursday Lene and i go rock climbing and abseiling for the day.

all of this on top of whatever the clinic throws our way.
should be a busy week!
and then the draakensbergs and Lesotho.


more to come.


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