Monday, March 19, 2007

Stricken again…

Safari is hot! Damn hot!! You can pay big bucks for some comforting and charming chalets… but when you go out and want to see the animals… then you can forget about comfort. You can come straight out of the shower, but before you go around the first bend you feel sticky again.

Venturing into the jungle you think of Stanley and Livingstone and the pioneers that first set their foot in these areas. Unshaven for days I feel I could be pals with the guys and member of a very exclusive club. It’s a dirty, sticky and smelly club. Nothing can glorify it and its nothing for women. This is for real men! Driving on tarred roads though, you feel happy you don’t have to cut your way through the thicket with a machete. I’m satisfied with tracing their tarred footsteps…

Last week when we were driving around in Hluhluwe it was very hot. This is also in the coastal region, so you got the humidity factor on top of it. When you multiply the two and then again with 1000 and subtract the sunscreen factor (Formula: (temperature x humidity x 1000) – sunscreen factor), you find the net discomfort factor! The aircon is of course running full speed… but with the windows open it doesn’t even say hello! As we were battling with the heat and trying to enjoy a herd of elephants I suddenly got hooked up in the fact that something was missing in front of the car. I was filming across the front and thought to myself… shouldn’t that proud star on my Mercedes be in the way now? Never mind the elephants. It’s gone!! F***ing bastards… someone ripped the star off my car! Oyvind was very quiet… for a long time whilst I kept swearing over my molested vehicle. Then, after an hour or so I realized that I’m in KwaZulu Natal… with Oyvind… and we hired a Toyota Tazz at the airport. The Merc was still safe up in Joburg with the star intact, and Oyvind laughing his guts out. I could have a good night’s sleep now. Not so bad… never been interested in cars to the same extent as many other guys, and it meant f**k all to me to have that star in front. So why I suddenly so focused on it?!

Today in Kruger it was also damn hot. Not so humid, but just stinking hot. We woke up in the morning and saw an elephant across the river. We saw it eating and working its way slowly upriver. When we returned for lunch after a gamedrive, the elephant was level with the restaurant and we watched it coming across the river, splashing water with the trunk and then mud. This is normal practice for everybody in malaria infested areas… against the bugs… but also sunprotection! I’m sure we shot a gigabyte of pictures, as it came closer and closer. I started filming with the videocamera and was completely engrossed with the situation. Then, as I looked at the camera I thought to myself. Something is missing here… where is the f***ing battery? I started looking for it on the sundeck… then over the railing and into the abyss down towards the river. No battery in sight. Oyvind also looking now, both desperate, coz both knew there would be plenty of more stuff to put on film. One more look at the camera I could see that the LCD screen was still running..? How could that be without battery?! A closer look revealed that it was actually the open space for the LCD screen to fold in and close. The revelation was followed with silence, utter embarrassment and the laughter from Oyvind.

In retrospect it is quite clear to me what happened. At least it is one out of two possible scenarios. One - that I was “stricken” by the sun or the heat… or both. Sunstroke or heatstroke… or whatever you call it stricken. Being a Viking from the cold north only increases the likeliness of such a stroke. The second one is malaria… and that I was in a state of delirium during these two incidents. Early stage, I’ll give you that, but Oyvind will probably agree who has put up with me for the last 2-3weeks. Both very possible and likely… considering that I’m following Stanley and Livingstones footsteps… and knowing what those guys had to deal with. I had it coming, for sure.

No comments: