Getting the Hang of Things
Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
33Trip End Jul 17, 2013
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Had my first breakfast here: corn flakes with milk and dark brown toast with some form of berry jam. Then it was off to work.
We then returned to camp for a muffin break. Muffins were much better than I expected, since they were just plain. I discovered our "colosseum" for meerkats, warthogs, and mongooses. I was treated by three very chatty hogs, which I now know that I can actually get in with and pet (will do that tomorrow probably).
After muffin break, it was time to walk the junior baboons. Definitely was not feeling up for this one either. Juniors are much much much larger, more aggressive, and smellier than the baby baby and big baby baboons. We were given very similar instructions as the ones I mentioned yesterday, but were told to walk close together so that no baboon could weave around us as that will make them test the pecking order more with nibbles and challenges and jumping on us. Again, no matter what happened, we were to avoid any reaction.
We walked quite a ways with our baboon group. One jumped on Richards back and climbed up to his shoulders (forgot to mention yesterday: Richard is a British gentleman and has red hair. The baboons love him, partly because they rarely see gingers so they do enjoy grooming his hair very much), sat for a minute, tried to leap over to my shoulders, missed and grabbed my hair, swung for a second, dropped to the ground, and pounced onto the woman in font of me. She then fell, as the junior baboons are quite heavy even without their momentum taken into consideration, and got right back up without much of a reaction at all. I was so impressed... The roads we walk on are more like sand and large, uneven rocks. Because she didn't react, none of the baboons challenged her or got aggressive.
We reached a part of the land where a sandy, rocky elevated section appeared. The baboons recognized this as our stop and rushed up the hill to forage and quickly climbed the trees as well. We sat with them for half an hour to an hour and just watched them enjoy their natural habitat. The female dominant (they have a male and female pecking order) came and began grooming our lead. We learned that this female was put in with the senior baboons, but got picked on so was moved back to the junior baboons. The big reason this was allowed is because of how much respect she has for humans. Since she is the dominant, once she shows her affection towards humans, the others hold the same respect. In addition, if the others are mean towards humans, she quickly straightens them out. She groomed our lead for over ten minutes, then went back to do other baboon things. Another female came up and groomed me for a bit, mainly my face, and then left when the dominant came back. We walked back to the camp and let the baboons back in their cage.
It was then lunch time. This morning I had decided to commit to going to Nueras for the week. After a few days I will decide if I want to stay longer. So during lunch, I went and paid for the trip... $1050 Namibian dollars. I will leave Saturday morning.
Lunch was awful. Sausages with bread and some vegetable condiments. The sausage was disgusting. At least they also provided a green apple, which was good.
After I ate, I chatted with a British woman for a bit. She told me there are a few places that do elephant research that I would be able to go and work with if I wanted. I will definitely have to keep that in mind for the future. She also told me about a game site that I can pay to attend through naan ku se. I decided I would look more into it. I heard a few other people talking about how it's one of the best game parks in the country. I then went and showered for the first time since I've been here. I have learned by word of mouth that the showers are warmed by solar energy, and that by noon they are a decent temperature and not busy. We have an hour and a half lunch break, so it is plenty of time. Today it was quite nice to shower since a baby baboon weed on me yesterday (forgot to mention that... On our walk, it sat on my leg, and proceeded to wet itself and me. This is a much more common occurrence than one would think).
I then went to shower off the dirt, and my group had gotten done almost an hour earlier than everyone else, so the water was even hotter than when I showered at noon. I got bundled up in warm attire, and headed down for baby baboon induction. I learned how to care for a baby throughout the night.
Then it was supper time, and it was quite fantastic. We had chicken with some form of sweet sauce, rice, and mixed veggies (peas, carrots, and corn). They ran out of chicken so the back half of the line had to have pork (again). So thankful I was towards the front.
After I ate, I headed right back to the room tonight. Last night I sat by the fire and socialized, but tonight I am just exhausted. Charlotte (my other roomie) is considering the safari, so I was able to look over hr information. It is $3590 Namibian for a three day camping and more than $5000 for a four day accommodation. The camping takes place right by a popular water hole, so I think it would be fantastic for that experience, but if Sophia doesn't want to go to the coast, I will do the four days as that is the stop for the additional day and it will then be worth the $1500 namibian extra. Decisions decisions.
Pretty crazy... So far ive been weed on by a baboon, groomed by a baboon, sat on by multiple baboons, fed baby baboons bottles, fed baboons corn, and walked a caracal. This is seriously the definition of people living with animals. I'm so blown away every second that I am here.
I can't believe that less than 48 hours ago I was writing and crying because I didn't think I could survive this place. I could seriously call it my home, cold showers, awful sausages, poopy baboons and all.
I believe that we are assigned to research tomorrow. From my understanding that means that we go on game counts, which is supposedly incredible. I cannot wait. Until then, goodnight!