Sunshine musings

Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
Trip End Apr 08, 2012

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Flag of South Africa  , KwaZulu-Natal,
Friday, May 20, 2011

Spent much of today at camp as we finished off fitting the cage and bench to the Landcruiser, making it finally ready for us to go out monitoring in at HIP.

We started the day in the workshop at camp, welding two metal brackets to the cage; these would be the supports that we would later drill the bench in to, to secure it. I was reminded of my lack of knowledge from design technology classes at school as the goggles were placed on and I was handed the grinder to sand down the surplus metal. Now I don't claim to be the most practical of females and I don't pretend to be one of those girls who knows what lurks under the bonnet of a car, or what the flaming offside rule entails: there's nothing worse in my opinion than a girl pretending to know these things, just to impress mankind. I don't know, and quite frankly, I don't care: I like being a girl, and hopeless with it sometimes. But I can hold my own, and do practical things when needed. Like the sanding down of metal. So much to the disappointment of the group, who literally whipped out the video camera with the hope that I would create some amusing footage (I obviously give off a hopeless vibe) I handled the grinder with ease, and it was good fun. Although once that was over, I grew bored of the workshop once again.

Workshop session over and back at camp we painted the cage with primer once more to cover the scratches we'd managed to create in the workshop before a coat of paint. Then all we could do is sit in the sunshine and wait for the paint to dry before attaching the cage and the bench to the vehicle.

Sitting still in the grass didn't last long however as we realised we were sat directly over a tic nest. Much itching and paranoid checking of skin later, we were back in the sunshine, but perched on chopped logs for safety. The vantage point did give us time to watch a family of baboons nearby, playing in the grass with the tiniest member of the family. Baboons can actually be quite vicious, especially when they feel threatened, but they seemed so humane and sweet as they rolled around in the grass and tried to chase crickets.

One of my many things I've decided to do while travelling (actually get my PADI without wussing out in the water; learn to surf in Australia; a skydive in New Zealand; learn Spanish in preparation for South America) is to take up writing poems again. I used to write often, especially as a child (one of the many reasons I was never the cool kid at school, I'm guessing), and over the last few years have jotted down the odd scribbled thought. I figure it's another way to document my travels and experiences, and the geeky me rather enjoys writing and reading poetry anyway. So I spent the last few hours of sunshine scribbling down notes: I don't think I'll embarrass myself by posting any here though.

We finally made it properly out of camp after 5pm to test out our revamped vehicle and see a little of the reserve. As soon as the sun went down the temperature really dropped - I can't believe I shrugged at the thought of autumn in Africa and assumed it would still be warm. I am most definitely sniffing out another hoodie to add into my rucksack before the end of my time here.

Despite being cold, the sightings were more than worth it, as we once again came impressively close to elephant, rhino, and a very pregnant female hyaena who waddled along the road just ahead of our headlights.

The rest of the evening was spent warming up in the kitchen with potato pancakes (a recipe from lovely American volunteer Margaret) while discussing everything from our travel plans after here to sleepwalking and dreams - something we've all had a lot of recently: I'm blaming the current full moon and the side effects of anti-malaria tablets.
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