"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Does this Indicate the End of an Era?

Every year, for fourteen years,  when I start picking up highway litter, I ask myself if this might be my last season.   What body part will fail and bring an end to it all?   Feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, hands?   Or perhaps that muscle that runs down the left side of my back?

But the more I walk, the stronger I get and the body parts just get with the program.  Only once was I stopped cold and that was the summer I got tendonitis in my right arm (tennis elbow) from repetitive squeezing of the Grab Stick handle.  I was almost at Turnagain Pass and had to quit.   I couldn’t even pick up a glass of water with my right hand.

Jerome Lake pullout in winter

Jerome Lake in summer

I’m having that conversation with myself this year too, the beginning of my fifteenth season.  I have a piece of broken bone in my knee that is troublesome and I’m babying it in the hope it doesn’t act up again and lay me low while it heals, as it did in January.

A pair of Barrow's goldeneyes in early spring

Sandpiper on lily pad.


However, there’s another problem that might be even more powerful:    a really bad attitude.

I drove up to Jerome Lake a few days ago to check on the snow and ice melting progress.  I was dismayed at the amount of litter there.    It is such a nice pullout.   Next to Tern Lake pullout, it’s my favorite.

One of the abandoned cars is gone, but the other is still there.   It’s been heavily vandalized and pieces of it are scattered around as vandals and thieves make off with what they can.

These photos barely begin to show the amount of litter because the camera picks up only the light-colored stuff.

Dirty diapers really tick me off.

 Any other year I would have seen this mess as a challenge and jumped right into cleaning it up.  This year is different.

I looked at all this and thought about all the hours and body pain I put into making a scenic drive look even better.   I thought about all the wear and tear on my truck over the years and how it’s now throwing transmission codes.   And, I figured I’ve spent more than $7000 in gasoline over the years.   It wore me down.

What if I don’t clean up Jerome Lake?   What if I just clean up the roadside and ignore the pullout?

What if I just let the pigs wallow in their own filth?!!!

Not a good attitude to have at the beginning of the season.    That usually happens around July.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The 2020 Africa Journals

Chapter Sixteen
Where I Give Up on My Calendar

(Remember:   The photos look a lot better if you click on them.)

I was getting all my documents in order for this trip last January, printing the flight itineraries, hotel reservations, and such. 

Then, I printed a blank calendar page for February and begin filling in what I would be doing each day during February 13, the beginning, and March 3, my return date.   It helps me keep track of what day it is, even if I really don’t care what day it is once I’m out there.

All went well until I filled in the days I would be at Pangolin in Botswana, and the days I would be at David Lloyd’s Photo safari in the Maasai Mara at Entim Camp.   There seemed to be too many days between places, but I didn’t really have the schedule.

Marg arranged the trip, so I e-mailed her about the dates.   She wrote back that we had five nights at Pangolin and eight nights at Entim, with travel in between and a full day at the Serena hotel in Nairobi before joining David’s group, which included a night at the Serena before flying to the Mara.

Based on that, I filled in the calendar as best I could and then forgot about it.

All went according to plan—and my calendar—and we arrived in Nairobi late in the evening and were taken to the Serena.   This almost five-star hotel is a favorite of government officials and there is lots of security in and around the grounds.   There is lots of security at the airport, too, as well as on the streets in Nairobi.   There are cameras mounted on street light poles that take photos of all passing vehicles.    At night, the flashes are disconcerting but I guess the locals get used to them.

I went to sleep anticipating a full day to relax, work on photos from Botswana, and enjoy the hotel.  

Being the phone Luddite that I am, these cords connecting to the phone dumbfounded me.

I met the girls for breakfast the next morning at one of the nicest buffets I’ve ever seen.  

Breakfast:   Sausage, bacon, and over medium egg, chocolate chip muffin and a pear tart.

 Then, we went searching for a place where we could meet later with our computers to work together.   We found the ideal spot in a quiet lounge near the elevators.

Marg and Mary deep into Lightroom photo processing.

I went up to my room to pack my stuff because Mary and I were sharing a room when we joined the David Lloyd group.

I  grabbed my computer gear and tried to sign into Wi-Fi.  When I entered my room number, I got a message that read “invalid credentials.”   Numerous attempts later, I gave up, gathered my computer, charging cord, external hard drive, memory cards and so on, and went to the reception desk.

The front desk had me checking out that morning.   Yes, I said, we join the David Lloyd group today.  No, they said, David Lloyd’s group isn’t until Saturday.   Today was Thursday.   Or maybe Friday.   I’d given up on my calendar.

I went to get Marg, as she had made the hotel reservations.   She went online and got reservations for tonight at a large discount.   All of this took many conversations and lots of time to straighten out.

My lovely room.

Room decor

Then we confused them even more.   Mary and I were supposed to share a room when we joined the Lloyd group, but we opted to keep the single rooms we were in.

Looking out at the Pool Cafe where we ate lunch every day.

Finally, after some really nice but expensive downtime at the Serena, Sunday morning arrived and we went to Wilson airport to fly to the Maasai Mara on Safari Link.

There are extensive seafood buffets every Friday night at the Serena.    At $49 a pop, we passed.   The next day the lunch special at the Pool Cafe featured lobster, shrimp, and prawns.

I was thrilled to find these newly-fledged speckled mousebirds on a quiet walk in the Serena gardens.    Another lifer for me.

I had only my pocket point and shooty with me and these tiny birds were far away, thus the lack of quality.

I’m pretty sure the hotel reception clerks never wanted to see us again.   But we would be back noonish on the 29th for a day room before our midnight flight back to Amsterdam.

And now,  it's time to go to the Maasai Mara.