Friday, September 5, 2008

The Safari Starts!

I've been at a conference for the past week here in Santa Fe, NM. It runs through tomorrow. I took so many pictures during the safari trip that I don't have space to store them all on my laptop. I've got the full resolution images on my external hard drive, and thumbnails on the laptop so that I can still organize and tag all the images even when the external disk isn't attached. But to upload pictures to the blog, I need to have the full res version (well, something bigger than just my thumbnails). Realizing this, I uploaded a bunch of pictures last Friday, while the hard drive was attached, intending to write up accompanying text later in the day. Well, day turned to night turned to day turned to another week and here it is wednesday with no text written. Yet. Let me quick change that, for this first batch of pictures at least.

We started our journey on Saturday afternoon, flying from various parts of the U.S. to London. We continued on Monday morning with a flight to Nairobi, and then on Tuesday with a bus ride to Arusha. Finally it was Wednesday, day five of the trip, but day one of the safari, and we were itching to get started. It didn't take long. We drove out of town, away from the moist, runny slopes of Mt. Meru which encompass Arusha, and into the dryer lands south and west. After a quick stop at the grocery store for supplies (water, gin, rum, chocolate), and a two hour drive, we got to the entry station for Tarangire National Park. We got out of the cars to stretch our legs, and to pay the park entry fee. There were some really colorful birds in the parking lot, including the multi-hued starling which is sort of the local version of a pigeon: plentiful in number and typically found creeping up on you at the picnic table while you are eating lunch. Speaking of which, while we were itching to get started, our guides told us it was time for lunch, so we had to eat that before we could start looking for animals, and we thought, "how much longer is it going to be before we finally see something?" Well, not long at all. We finished our lunch and went back to the landcruisers to discover that we were going topless (for one. Loosely topped for the other vehicle). We hopped in, drove through the park gate and one minute later came across a herd of zebra & wildebeest, and ten seconds further down the road passes a monkey, and we realized, Wow, this is going to be an amazing trip.

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