Dung, dung, dung, dung...

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End Aug 03, 2010

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Sunday, August 1, 2010

Safari day 4
Spring boks
Bush boks
Giraffes and we got to see a young briefly nursing (when they walk both left legs move at once then same with the right) Giraffes seem like a mistake from god. It seems as if their bodies work against them. Their legs act like compression socks. If they bend, they have to straighten up after like 20 seconds and shake their heads to get the blood back. They sleep standing up because if they sit down the blood will not flow to their brain.

Yesterday, i shared the tidbit about the white hyena dung. I asked Rifos more about it today. He said that the dung doesn't come out white, it turns white after a little bit. He went on to say that often, hyenas eat the bones of a carcass which leads to the white stool.

Now as much as I want to save this next nugget of knowledge for my slideshow wine and cheese presentation when I get back, I must share this. Apparently, elephant dung has many uses. Our guide, while picking it up and breaking it apart, told us that people roll it in papers and smoke it to clear their sinuses. Similarly, it can be made into a tea for the same purpose; it can also be burned to keep away mosquitoes, though that may have been rhino dung. How amazing is that?

In my next life I plan to start a company called Barnaby's Excrement Tours of Africa. I don't know who Barnaby is, it just sounds good and sounds like someone who would wear a lot of safari garb. The plan is that the tours will track animals by their feces and teach the customers, all poo enthusiasts of course, the myriad uses of doody. It will be immensely fascinating and there is an endless supply of material.

Rifos told us about the Buffalo branch that their culture uses to catch the spirits. He said that people go to the place of a death and wave the thorny branch around to catch the spirits. Some of the thorns point to the past and some point to the future. When they bury a person they also put the branches on the grave.

It was a beautiful day today and after breakfast I sat out on my back porch for some time and I actually changed into a bathing suit bottom. I read book #9 and then settled in for an early afternoon nap. After lunch I read some more and then we departed on our 2nd safari at 3:30.

We drove around for a long time without seeing anything good. Finally we saw about 10 elephants and one of the young elephants trumpeted at us several times! It skipped around as if it wanted to play with us and then tooted the cutest trumpet noise a couple of times. I'm thrilled that I finally got to hear some animal make a noise! It was VERY exciting. After that we saw a huge rhino but it was pretty far away and we couldn't get any closer because it was on private property. During our rest stop on the road I went to the bathroom in the grass. I had to walk farther than I would have like to find a suitable place where the grass wasn't too tall but I could still hide behind a tree. As I was hiding back there I thought of all of the things that could be lurking in the tall grass, crawling on my tush, or flying into my hair. When I stood up I caught my bun in some thorns on the tree and had to rip my hair out. I was also attacked by some burs on my socks that were impossible to pick out and stuck in my skin when i tried in vain to extract them. Wretched things. I hastily walked back to the car without taking the time to do up my pants and belt in private. I really cant believe they let us go out on our own. Thankfully, I told my British friends to keep an eye out for me and for the rhino we had seen nearby.

I am sitting here at dinner writing my blog. Somehow I neglected to notice how dirty one gets after riding in the back of an open jeep for 3 hours. My hair is so dusty from the ride and also hasn't been conditioned in a month.

Tonight I have to start the daunting task of repacking. My bag has grown since I originally set out on my trip but I haven't really purchased anything, so I'm confused. One day maybe I'll figure out the science to this packing thing. I must learn to not bring so much and that it isn't SO bad if my clothes smell because I've been wearing the same ones over and over.

When it comes to souvenirs, don't expect one. There is nothing to buy here unless you want some dumb beaded tchotchke that collects dust or a carved wooden lion that you didn't even get to see in real life. I didn't even get anything for my parents who I know DEFINITELY don't want some African piece of crap that they feel compelled to display. The word souvenir comes from the French word (spelled the same) meaning to remember. If I bought you a souvenir all it would say is, "remember the time I didn't go to Africa?" or "remember when Morgan went to Africa and kept sending those annoying blogs?" For me, I remember all of you every time I compose these entries and every time I select the names to which I send the emails. Thank you so much for following my stories and accompanying me on my trip. Your comments have reminded me that I am not really alone as I experience these new things.

All my love,
Ps this is not my last entry. I still have 1 more safari before I leave tomorrow.
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Caitlin on

We all miss you so much and cannot wait for you to come home! Sitting around the table yesterday in the Hamptons wasn't the same without you there! I am so happy you sound so much happier on safari than your sandy, water-less, bunk bed experience. I can only imagine the slideshow you will compose for our kiddies in the fall, it will be almost as good as the Icelandic one that never quite made it. Maybe we should learn how to do that? Or maybe we can just hope to only click on appropriate videos on the smartboard and not ones of their teacher in a bathing suit running into a hot spring? Oh well, all for a good laugh and considering that's how we spend most of our day at school, it's a-okay. Can't wait for you to be back and hear everything else that wasn't in here!

Rayna on

Morgan, you need to write a book of some sort. And I can just imagine what Barnaby looks like. I love that name. You are so lucky to have this experience. You have inspired me to consider an African safari for a honeymoon (fingers crossed).
Love you.

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