Friday, September 10, 2004

Masai Mara, Kenya I

Spent an uneventful afternoon watching a leopard and cub chew over a baby zebra, covered in dense foliage. Skipping the long drive back to my authorized ‘camp,’ I found a lovely spot hidden from view. It sat in a beautiful glade with the grass cropped as close as a croquet lawn, only with elephant poo.

I settled in, set up my roof top tent and sat down with a cold beer, altogether pleased with myself, watching the sunset colors fade from salmon to blue to starlit black.

Then I saw the lights. Two trucks, coming from the north along the Telek River. My lantern shone just bright enough to write by, and my camp was dark. Still, they drove right at me. I ducked down and held my breath, but they shone a brilliant spotlight right at me.

My heart stopped, but they didn’t. Their engines raced as they headed for a river crossing. There were no good options. I emptied my wallet of all but a few thousand shillings. I hid the cameras as best I could. I stood by the hood and practiced smiling in the face of at best a tongue lashing (camping out of bounds is prohibited in the strictest terms) and likely worse.

But they didn’t come. And then I got really scared.

I had no good options. Stay out and lie sleepless, terrorized by every sound through the long night. Wait for the rangers or poachers or locals to come and beat the shit out of me, or run.

I opted for C.


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