We were awoken in the middle of the night last night by hooting, screaming, and squealing from across the river. George's theory was that this was a not uncommon
case of a domestic dispute;
probably teens that come home past their curfew from the dance or the party and were catching heck from their Dad. However, in this instance it wasn't local high school miscreants out with Dad's car but wild baboons in the heart of the Serengeti. My tent may not have all the promised accoutrement, but this has been a wonderful experience getting a perspective on nature I never would have gotten had we been sleeping in more luxurious accommodations.
This morning Zak got me up to see - silhouetted against the dawn in their acacia tree across the river - the troop of baboons
we had heard the night before. They were waking and stirring, warming themselves by leaping from branch to branch in the early light before heading down to ground level once the sun was fully up. The transition to the ground was punctuated by two large baboons chasing a smaller animal who ran away screaming loudly; perhaps he was the adolescent who had caused so much disruption the night before and the parents were getting in one final lick.
We are driving back East from the Serengeti and we just visited the
Olduvai (or as the docent stressed Oldupai) Gorge; very interesting. The girls have been making up nicknames for all of the members of our party and grandpa is now k
nown as Oldupai George. On the drive West, Oldupai George made the mistake of riding in the rear right (driver side) seat of Bone's old green Land Rover. We later learned this was the roughest seat in either vehicle so we made sure the folks were in the other vehicle on the return trip and we put the little girls in the back. They couldn't have cared less and spent much of their travel time trying to sleep on top of each other in various positions. On my and Anna's side of the car on the return (the passenger side which is on the left here) we see a line of
six giraffes moving sedately over the plain. To pass the time we are in competition with George and Zak for which side of the car passes prettier animals. Repeatedly gazelles dart in front of the car from the right to the left, no doubt in order to bolster Anna's and my pretty animal tally. Occasionally the scenery is punctuated by a colorfully-robed Maasai striding along purposefully t
oward some destination. They are a striking people made more so by their purple or red wraps and ornate beads and silver earrings. They have long muscled blue-black limbs and shorn heads. The men carry long sticks and the women are often in the company of children. Today we pass a number of young males whose faces are partially covered by white beaded masks indicating their status as recent initiates into manhood.