Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day 6 – Saturday, July 21st, 2012 (part 1) Leopard Bait

by david on August 20, 2012

Yesterday was a very long day.  I managed to eat some supper, but I mostly just rearranged it on my plate.  The lack of appetite has been more of a curse than not feeling well this trip.  I really enjoy eating game and African bush cuisine.  By “bush cuisine”, I do not mean simple or bland; quite the contrary, it is full of flavor and of the highest quality.  I mean that the food (“cuisine” seems too fancy a word) is what the locals eat.  It is the best use of local ingredients and spices.  It is the combination of things that would just never occur to someone from our hemisphere.  Before I get long-winded and rattle on, just let me say I love the food in camp.  I even diet before getting to camp just so I do not have to feel guilty about overindulging when I am there.  It really sucks that I am around all this wonderful food and have not been able to enjoy but one lone meal since I have been here.  Lest I lose my train of thought completely, after not eating the previous night and feeling poorly (even though the day had been wonderfully successful), I decide to sleep in this morning and try to get some strength back. 

            I manage to get to the lodge about 8:30 am, and I find the coffee pot full and still hot.  The warm liquid feels good going down and starts me on the path back towards being a human being again.  If I ate anything, I do not remember what it was.  I feel sure I got something down or Vera would’ve most likely sent me back to my room and not have let me out to play for the rest of the day.  Johann is over at the motor pool.  I top off my coffee and head over to investigate what he is doing.  They have just finished reworking the front-locking hubs of one of the Land Cruisers and are in the final processes of putting everything back in the correct order.  I watch for a while, amazed at the number of things my friend knows how to do.  Me, I know enough to take the car to a qualified mechanic when something breaks.  Tearing it down and fixing it myself has been beyond my capabilities for many years now.  I might attempt it in an emergency situation, but, in reality, I feel sure I would make things worse.

            Since they were finishing up, Johann asks if I wanted to go with him and Willie to check the leopard baits.  This sounds good to me, as the fresh air in an open truck tends to help open my sinuses and clear my head.  It most certainly helps with the headaches I’ve been having for some days now.  I go and grab gear, including my rifle, and I meet them at the truck.  Why take a rifle, you ask?  If you remember helpful hint #6 in my book, “be ready for anything in Africa, because in Africa anything can happen and it usually does”, you know that I have taken this advice to heart.  I combine it with the Boy Scout motto “be prepared”, always planning for any and all contingencies.  If I had walked out without my rifle or daypack, I would have needed one or the other in the worst way.  If I had been without my rifle, we would have discovered the world-record something or other, and all I would have been left with was, “you should have seen the ____ we saw today”.  I don’t ever want to be in that position, so I always carry my rifle.  There is also a very real possibility of running into something with claws, teeth, tusks, or horns that has been having a bad day and would like nothing better than to share some of that bad day with you.  A rifle of appropriate size tends to allow you to encourage whatever animals are having the bad day to keep those feelings to themselves.  No-sir-ree, I don’t go anywhere without my rifle.

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