15 Oct Twisted sense of humor – Nairobi National Park
You know life has a ridiculous sense of humor. Why you may ask. When I was a little boy I had this grand vision for my future home. I always told my loved ones that I am going to have a very huge compound almost an estate or even a palace so that before reaching my house people will have to go through this vast space of my compound filled with animals. It was a very vivid imagination where I saw my guests being welcomed by a set of lions and then giraffes would bow in front of them and say “Welcome! Welcome!”.
There would be elephants trumpeting and letting me know I have guests. Now, drinks would be offered by gorillas. Gorillas would also engage my guests in conversations like, “Did you have a pleasant journey here? Oh, yea the heat is too much these days. Would you like another glass of juice?” Apes would jump out of the windows to pluck fresh fruits for my guests. The kids could slide down from the giraffe’s neck. The gorillas would even make the guest rooms ready while the apes started preparing a feast for the guests. It made perfect sense to me back then.
However, my mom and other family members laughed. Mom would always tell me that with all those wild animals in your palace nobody would ever have the courage to visit you, my boy. To me, that did not make any sense. Animals are so loving and giving and I did not comprehend the wilderness aspect in them.
Years passed and I went through the motions of life. I learned life lessons and probably lost touch with my inner child on the way. It is an expected transformation in adults to not have all those childhood dreams linger around when the seriousness of life hits you from all sides. Then, here I am in Nairobi National Park and it felt like Deja Vu or more like I was catapulted back in time.
There were baboons all around the entrance of the National Park. I could not stop smiling because these big monkeys looked so happy to see humans. They were jumping up and down like crazy. It felt like I was in my childhood dream. It felt like coming home. The universe truly has a ridiculous sense of humor. My childhood dreams manifested in front of me years later in Nairobi and I could not stop smiling.
As you can see from the pictures there were beautiful animals roaming freely all around us. We watched them in awe. The ever graceful giraffe bowing with that tall elegant neck looks like a real-life manifestation of my childhood dreams.
This naughty monkey was found in our car while we took a stop to stretch our limbs after a 2-hour drive around the park. My friend Mitchell had gone back to the safari jeep to get some of her stuff when she came face to face with this blue monkey with amber eyes. This dude was searching for food scattering things in his food hunting process and as soon as Mitchell yelled in shock, he jumped up on her head and in a blink jumped to the top of our vehicle. That is the exact moment I captured his picture.
Now, this is his picture where he looks rather shy or guilty after being caught red-handed. If you look close you might even feel that he is not exactly remorseful and rather bored with the lack of any new food from his little food hunting in our vehicle. I could not stop chuckling at this dude and his expression. I felt like he wanted to say “Yeah whatever! Keep moving you humans”
In my life, I have kissed dogs, cats, trees, an elephant and a giraffe. Never ever have I kissed any human except my mother. I am a combination of sensitive and savage! Okay that is falsity and let us get to the real story which I can say is very slobbery (belly laughs).
Later that day we visited The Giraffe Centre and nature proved to me once more that I am part of her and I am loved dearly. Normally people are given pellets at the entrance to feed the giraffes as they enjoy being fed and are not so touchy when you pet them after feeding. They then make you feel welcome to their paradise. So it was a big surprise to all of us that an adult Giraffe named Eddy came up to me looked at me in awe and just kissed me. Not once not twice but a couple more times while the crowd around cheered on and clicked pictures. One of them captured a better picture than my own photographer. It was a slobbery situation as giraffes have thick antiseptic saliva. I was filled with gratitude and love that I did not think about anything else.
Eventually when I told the story and showed the pictures to others they went bananas and bombarded me with questions of how I felt and all I could say was that I felt connected to Universal Intelligence and that Invisible force of unconditional love and yes giraffes have dark tongues and slobbery thick saliva (laughing so hard that my sides hurt).
We saw many beautiful beasts in their glory and have captured them here. The Western Black Rhinoceros had a lazy gaze and laid back attitude. The Rock Hyrax looked all alert. It is also called Rock Rabbit and is native to Africa and the Middle East.
We also saw the Giant Eland which is the largest species of antelope in the world. Some of them weigh more than 600 kilograms. The big bird perched on top of the bare tree is a Grey Heron. They are patient and look calm but it is important to know that they are predators and eat other birds.
The gazelles looked beautiful and very graceful. Their swiftness is truly astonishing. Now The African Buffalo is a different story. He looks like a dangerous predator and makes you feel eerie. Another name for this Cape buffalo is Black Death. If you read about this predator and his style of hunting and crushing opponents you will realize this name is apt.
Jodi Picoult was absolutely right when she said, “When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.” The majestic lion and his equally majestic counterpart looked at us casually. We felt one with nature while ostriches went about their day peacefully and cape buffalos locked their horns and grey herons waited patiently for their prey.
Will Smith’s quote comes to my mind as I leave the National Park, “It is really beautiful. It feels like God visits everywhere else, but lives in Africa.”