Corn on the cob is one of the quintessential American foods and as such, sometimes, an expat can get slightly obsessed with finding some to gnaw on. My corn-obsessed friend and I found ourselves on the road in Kenya… and stopped to find some corn being roasted on a brazier. When we got closer, we were turned away as the vendor admitted that it was not fresh and he was simply re-heating the corn. Too bad, but at least, the vendor made a good photo subject.
This year I had a few amazing animal encounters. I was touched by a manta ray, “trunked” by a baby elephant, and slobbered on by a giraffe.
I had never imagined just how soft and gooey a giraffe lick would be. I guess the goo factor helps make the leaves stick when the giraffes eat from trees. But what surprised me most was the sound. As the giraffe swallowed the pellets I was feeding her, she greedily sucked them in. Then all of a sudden, a deep sound like that of a didgeridoo, rumbled near my ear. It was all those pellets falling down the giraffe’s throat.
African elephants are huge and they cannot limbo. To prevent the elephants from eating everything, the safari camps use dangling metal rods strung up like a belly dancer’s belt. These gates are so tall that our safari jeep fit underneath with only a rattle.
There is almost no way to avoid being exploited as a tourist. If we accept it, then we pay. My friend wanted to go to an “authentic Masai village” and so we did. It cost us about $25 per person. We were shown around and encouraged to contribute to the school and the well, etc. then we were encouraged to buy souvenirs. A horn soap dish and two elephant hair bracelets were the only thing my friend wanted. The chief’s son started the bargaining at $100. We did not buy anything. My advice to anyone when dealing with cash cows is to give us the feeling that you respect us. That is the best sales technique.