Tag Archive | Animals

Safari Adventures: It’s like the Lion King or Discovery Channel -only real and unedited.

Best photo bomb ever with the giraffes; a sand tornado, our safari jeep & all 25 volunteers on safari

Can you spot the BEST PHOTO BOMB ever? (with the giraffes); a sand tornado, our safari jeep & all 25 volunteers on safari

In Swahili “safari” means trip or vacation. Not crazy-cool-awesome-African-animal-wildlife-adventure as we know it to mean. How much more rad would it be if every time you got away, even on a weekend trip to say Wisconsin, you said you were going on safari? I mean, even in Europe they call it “holiday.” Both sound so much more like a mystical fantasy getaway than “trip” does.

Immediately after arriving in-country, a group of 25 of us volunteers booked a weekend safari with Pristine Trails. Pristine was simply wonderful and I highly recommend them! Adam our coordinator was fantastic (and adorable) and made everything so easy for us! On our way to the safari parks, we stopped to visit the Maasai Tribe. They are the only tribe (of over 140 tribes) that still completely lives by and follows tradition. They believe they get all the nutrients they need from the cow so they only eat cow meat and drink cow blood. I actually felt scammed and pressured to buy jewelry. Tourists come to see them all the time, so they profit off of us. But seeing their tribal dances and their homes were really neat. I guess the cow method works for them – they live long lives, are all over 6 feet tall, and when they jump vertically, man do they get air!

maasai

The Maasai

To see animals in the zoo is fun for a little while but then you are reminded they are trapped in captivity and you feel bad for them. To see the animals in their natural habitat, roaming completely free and wild in nature is unlike any other experience I’ve ever had. The animals and terrain – it is literally a live version of The Lion King. It felt very much like an out-of-body experience for me, as if I was watching Nat Geo or Discovery Channel only real and without a TV screen to protect me from the wild animals. This was up close and personal with nature at its best.

We got to visit two National Parks: Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park. Between the two, we saw four out of five of The Big 5 (cape buffalo, leopard, lion, elephant and rhino). I was bummed that the only one we didn’t see was a leopard. There are only about 4,000 black rhinos left in the world and we saw 3 of them! We also saw a family of about 30 elephants bathing (one of the highlights!), tons of giraffes and wildebeests, water buffalo, a hyena, a jackal eating a gazelle, a baby gazelle just minutes after it was born and struggling learning to walk, zebras, so many gorgeous and vibrantly colorful birds, hippos, ostriches, baboons and monkeys that even stole our chocolate and cookies from our lunches. The zebras seemed to always be posing for photos. They are very photogenic! One of my favorite, most symbolic photos is of a water buffalo standing besides a skull of another water buffalo.

My group for the safari was so much fun. We took dirty photos of the animals and scenery and kept playing songs from The Lion King; even our driver sang along to Hakuna Matata! Whenever I saw the warthogs, all I could think about was Pumba singing, “I clear the savanna after every meal.” 

One of the highlights: seeing the elephants bathe

 My driver spotted two figures out in the distance about a mile away that appeared to be approaching us. It turned out to be two brother lions that walked right up to our jeeps (and peed on the jeep behind me), and then kept walking. As they passed us, I saw two warthogs notice the lions strolling towards them and they took off in the other direction faster than their little legs could carry them. It was adorable and amusing but a reminder that this wasn’t a movie, it was real life, and I was witnessing the power of the food chain. Lions are cool in a zoo, but in the wild, they are absolutely stunningly beautiful and extremely majestic. I was mesmerized by their beauty. These brothers were slowly strutting towards us with such an arrogance kind of like they were saying, Yeah, look at us you silly tourists, we’re The Kings of this savanna, so we’re going to pee on your jeep just to prove it to you.

The progression of them coming closer and closer.

Beautiful brothers. (All photos here are mine except the one where I am clearly not taking it)                                                            Maybe Bert’s? If it is yours and you want photo credit, please let me know and I’ll gladly update it.

The monkeys were everywhere, on the street and in the trees. It was really neat to see the female cleaning the male, just as I’d seen in videos but this was IRL! During lunch, Chris was enjoying his cookie, when suddenly a monkey came from the trees and snatched it straight from his hand. Another one came towards me, I grabbed my lunch and ran. He grabbed the chocolate I accidentally left behind. He was fascinating to watch and he knew to unwrap it just like humans do. Another group went back to their jeep after lunch only to find a monkey sitting in the backseat eating their food. #cuterascals

Baboons

Bottom middle: the monkey eating Chris’s cookie. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have gotten that close.

Baby Gazelle, Jackyl & Gazelle, warthog, Water buffalo alive & dead, hyenas, hippos & zebras

Baby Gazelle, jackal & gazelle, warthog, water buffalo alive & dead, hyenas, hippos & zebras

This is already photo heavy as it is – so if you want to see more pictures click here.

I wish we could have stayed in tents in the national parks but we didn’t. I think it would be have been so neat to sleep in their territory, listening to them howl before you go to sleep. But we slept at a much safer campsite. I smile every time I look at these photos and still am in disbelief that I did it and am able to cross it off my Life List. There will be a next time because I know I will do another safari at some point. The joys of witnessing nature, no one trip will ever be the same.

Being responsible sucks sometimes

Being a grownup officially sucks! Yea, that’s right. I’ve always considered myself a responsible practical and realistic person.  Usually I am the one who shares the voice of reason with friends. However, today that responsible person in me was challenged when I was faced with the cutest brown eyes that were almost impossible to say no to.

When Mr. Fiancé and I headed out for lunch, Paws Chicago was on our block with two of the most precious Black Lab/Terrier mix puppies.  Adorable just doesn’t begin to give justice to these two. All we know is that they are 13 weeks old and are expected to be about 30 lbs.  My family has always had non shedding little dogs and Mr. Fiancé’s family has a chocolate lab – aka huge and sheds like crazy. We have discussed dogs before and this Lab/Terrier is exactly what our compromise came to.

Pro:

  • She is adorable with the cutest floppy ears.
  • We live on a dog friendly floor in a dog friendly building.
  • She is the perfect compromise to what we each are looking for.
  • I work really close to home and could come home for lunch daily to take care of her.
  • She is a perfect size.
  • She is a rescue and needs a home. So why not ours?
  • We live by a grassy park.
  • She had little tiny paws so she wouldn’t get very big.
  • She already has her shots.
Cons:
  • It is a huge responsibility.
  • We live in a high-rise, so it is harder to train a dog.
  • We live in a high-rise, so it isn’t exactly fair to have a dog in an apt.
  • We have to train her.
  • It is a huge responsibility.
  • We’re getting married next year and dogs add a lot of expense.
  • It is like having a child, which I am not ready for yet.
  • It is a long-term commitment.
  • I like being a Doggie Aunt – caring for my parent’s dog for a bit and then returning him, but there is no passing off your own dog.
  • It is harder to travel.
  • You don’t have as much freedom or independence.

Sorry, I didn’t take a picture and the photo of her online just doesn’t do her justice. She was so much cuter in person.

Deep deep deep down, I know I am not ready to be responsible for a child dog 24/7.  It was really very difficult to be a grown up, walk away and say no. I know there will be other adorable dogs that need to be rescued and I’m just as confident that someone will rescue her. I hate being practical and realistic. I so badly want to be five again, stomp my feet and say “but I want her!” or call my mom and have her buy her, but I am realistic and I know the time isn’t right for us and that would be unfair to the puppy.

Damn, being an adult sucks.

Wonders Of The Web Wednesday

Happy Hump Day! Since Wednesday is smack dab in the middle of the work week, people often need a pick me up to help them get through the rest of the week.  So here are a few links that I want to share with you.  Hope they make you smile too! 
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Northern Lights: I have always dreamed of seeing this in person. Ever wonder what causes it? If you geek out about astronomy like me – this is really fascinating and beautiful.

NFL lockout video: Ever see the movie Field Of Dreams? Watch this funny video featuring Taylor Lautner and NFL players mock the current NFL lockout situation.

10 commonly misused words in the English languageThe grammar dork in me loves this. Did you get all of them correct?

Dogs surfboardingneed I really say more?

The Great Debate as seen on Shatterbox:  Awesome illustration. Do you prefer over or under?

*If you come across any cool links you want to share with me, please do! Or if you want to participate in Wonders of the Web Wednesday on your own site please feel free but link back to me. Thanks and Enjoy!

** EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: I HAVE CHANGED THE NAME OF WACKY WEDNESDAYS! IT IS NOW WONDERS OF THE WEB WEDNESDAY!

***I am working on a new photo that is my own for this, as well as a way to link up.

Wacky Wednesday

**Sorry this weeks Wacky Wednesday got posted on Thursday.  This week has been super busy and has flown by.  There is just too much cute to wait till next week! 

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**This weeks Wacky Wednesday is heavily inspired by favorite Tumblr/friend over at Oops Sorry!  (Thanks for sharing all of this, I love it!)

Wacky Wednesdays

Happy Hump Day! Since Wednesday is smack dab in the middle of the week, people often are simultaneously optimistic that the weekend is almost here while also being down that there are still two full more days left to go.  I’ve noticed people need a pick-me-up on Wednesday’s, so here are a few links that made me smile this week.  Hope they make you smile too!

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Apparently I have been watching a lot of animal videos this week!  Have you seen anything this week that made you smile? Care to share?


Love, Caryn