REMEMBERING PAST ADVENTURES: Bhutan
I was exploring Paro on our first full day of our trip. Our little group had split up for half an hour to run errands, buy memory cards and such. In the distance I spotted a small park in the narrow strip that made up this city nestled in a valley of the same name. The buildings were brightly colored, like crayons, with a Swiss chalet motif that at first seemed strangely out of place.
As I reached the park, these kids spotted me and, screaming and giggling as children do when they play, ran over to me in a jumble. They didn’t speak English and I certainly didn’t speak Bhutanese, but in moments like this language is rarely a problem.
It was clear that they had decided that a photo shoot was in order. They climbed a low wooden fence, and perched upon it, they made funny faces, big gestures, and cracked each other up in the process. I couldn’t have asked for better subjects.
It was dark and grey outside but their little faces were all the sunshine I needed.
OUT FOR A RUN
One of a few wildebeest that seemed to be running just for the sake of it.
A hippo family takes advantage of a cloudy day to relax on the the banks of the Mara River. This rowdy bunch was part of a pod that lived near our camp. So close in fact I could look down at them from the embankment only a few feet from my tent. Morning, noon and night we’d hear the familiar high pitched squeals quickly followed by a series of deep low grunts.
They look like they’d be slow, but they’re not. I saw one jogging in the distance one morning and it was more nimble than I had anticipated - it seemed to float over the Mara.
A beautiful young male relaxes on a hill of rocks. Every notice how cats seem to be able to sleep on the weirdest things, and in positions that would put us in traction for a week?
ELEPHANT VS WILD DOG
I found some files that a friend sent me from our visit to Vumbura Plains in Botswana. It’s brief, not the best, but still cool. It’s a small part of a confrontation between a pack of wild dogs and some elephants who didn’t want the dogs around. Look at the bottom of the screen for the dogs. The elephants, you can’t miss.
If you’re wondering why this momma lion’s head is chopped off, it’s because I hadn’t figured out yet that I needed to make my frame wide enough to account for her movements. This lesson, among others, I learned while on safari with Wild Eye in Kenya this year, and I wanted to share with you! Click here:
It was sunrise and we’d just left camp to start our morning game drive. We came upon two young male lions looking for a place to relax.
This male walked slowly, more like a saunter, and periodically let out a series of soft, low roars. They were sweet, not menacing, almost sad.
PLAYTIME ON THE MARA
Cheetah on the right had been playing with one of his brothers on a termite mound (out of the frame) but got bored and decided to dive bomb his other brother, as young cheetahs are want to do. Cheetah on the left was far more interested in taking a bath, but when he saw his brother leaping through the air in his direction, I guess he figured he better join in or be pummeled.
That however was not the end of first cheetah’s mischief making, he turned around and promptly jumped back on the termite mound and bit the first brother on the back.
All in a morning’s fun on the Mara.
Important Note: Today is International Cheetah Day. According to The Last Lions Facbook page
It is estimated that there are fewer than 10 000 of them left and they’re not abundant anywhere. Having disappeared from an astounding 77% of their historical African range, the world’s fastest land mammal is in need of our protection.
REMEMBERING PAST ADVENTURES - Bangkok
I was heading with a small group to a cooking class, off the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, when a ramshackle boat passed us, moving at a pretty good clip. The boat was a family owned cargo ship, with curtains, toys, and clothing, littering the deck, juxtaposed to large industrial looking vats.
We didn’t see anyone on board except for this toddler, alone and in the back, taking a bath in a bucket. He stared at us, not moving, as we waved at him. I couldn’t tell if he was scared or mesmerized.
We turned down a canal to the left and his boat continued on its way, chugging along, going who knows where, taking the stare of those little eyes watching us, until he faded from view.
THE ATTENTION GETTER
A cub beseeches its mother for who knows what. The mom, well, she wasn’t particularly moved, even after the cub slapped her in the face.
When I first saw this secretary bird in Kenya, I thought it had been injured and immediately dread washed over me. I hated the idea of something just waiting to die or be killed. Part of me wanted its life to end at that moment, so it wouldn’t have to wait for hours in pain until some predator walked by and ripped it to shreds. (Nothing like my empathy running away with me.)
Thankfully, he/she, not really sure which, was just drying its feathers. Perhaps tanning too, though that seems unlikely. Anyway, I was assured by our guide, Jimmy, that this was customary behavior. Knowing that, my dread subsided and I just thought he looked really silly.
A little 50 Shades of Grey to me, and they kept at it every 20 minutes for days..
A large male leopard takes a moment to look back at the impala he has draped over a tree limb behind him.
A momma with all her teats taken has no patience for another cub’s desire to saddle up.
Two of three cheetah brothers sit at twilight. They had been lounging around, scratching their claws on remnants of trees nearby, stretching, marking their territory. Soon they would begin the evening’s hunt, but alas we had to return to camp.