Monday, November 22, 2010

Kenya: Getting Sleepy

Most of the animals in the zoo are asleep. This isn't just because zoos are boring; animals in the wild are all asleep too. Even at home the animals are sleeping. They say you're never more than three feet from a spider at any given time. Well, that may be true but chances are the spider is sleeping.
Shhh. Do not disturb.

This is the lion I eventually woke up. I do not recommend trying such a thing at home, though, I guess if you have a lion at home to awaken you have bigger problems.

The lion snoozed on, oblivious to my attempts to bother him. Only five meters away, I sat on top of a land rover (yes, on top) being the biggest jerk in the history of the universe. I roared. I imitated prey animals. I insulted the lion's intelligence, talent and breeding. If he wanted to, he could have jumped over to me in one easy leap. He could have swiped me from the roof and eaten my head, which is why I almost called this story, "Kenya: Getting Stupid."

A bus full of German tourists pulled up alongside us, whispering in hushed awe of the majesty of nature. I used the telephoto lens to get an extreme close-up of the lion's balls and then made baboon sounds at him. Beneath me, safe in the car, my driver was cracking up. I asked him to join me on the roof but he valued his life.

"What exactly is it that you want to see happen?" one of the Germans asked, doing nothing to hide the disgust in his voice. His subtext clearly read, "Shut the hell up, you stupid American."

"I don't know," I replied, bored, bored, bored, "Wake up, fight another lion, eat a zebra. Anything really."

Then I learned that lions do not appreciate Indiana Jones references. I reached my hand out towards his heart. "Kalima," I told him, "KALIMA!"

But he didn't use the traditional response of om nom shabai, no, he turned his head, and opened his yellow eyes, piercing through skin and heart and soul with them. I slunk into the car, adrenaline gushing over me. It seems that our histories are intertwined somewhere deep inside my DNA. He has eaten me and I have run my spear through his heart countless times. I see our past in his eyes.

80% of our time on safari

The Germans drove away, laughing.

Shaking in the car, I knew I had seen the eyes of the hunter and lived to tell the tale. I felt a connection to my ancestry that I have not felt since; an awe at the power history holds over me.

But Africa is a sleepy place, and inspired or not, after our lunch on the banks of the crocodile infested waters, we had no choice but to do as the lions do.

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