Tuesday, August 7, 2007


You get to know a lot about your extended family when you're on safari for 2 weeks, much of the time in Botswana in a protected wild game preserve where you can go mano a paw with some really big cats, to say nothing of a dazzle of zebra, a pod of hippos, and... but I'm getting ahead of myself. When you travel with a group of 13 people (or pee-ple, as the case may be) you find out that some of us need to void our bladders more than others. Which in itself is not a noteworthy thing, unless the voiding needs to be done squatting behind a jackleberry bush or even, oh yayss as the South Africans say, on the edge of a one-lane airstrip. Ahh, the memory of a small plane of incoming strangers suddenly zooming in for their landing, surprised,that their first view on safari is not of a wild beast but of my naked behind, as I struggle to wipe myself, stuff the used T.P. into a small brown waxed bag, and jump up from a squat,accompanied by the hysterical laughter of my pride of nieces, daughter, and daughter-in-law, since they are more spry and were already zipping up their flies at the moment of my ignominy.
You'd think that an easy solution would have been to severely limit one's intake of liquid; however, that quickly led to dehydration which was even worse than having to pee in full view of baboons, who are real jokesters to begin with.
Now I'm not naming any names here, but there were a few human camels in our group (none with any Greenwald DNA) and they were remarkably sanguine about the constant requests for the guide to find a "safe" place in the bush, and let the pissers out for yet another elimination round. In fact, camels were one of the few species of wild animals NOT represented in the three fly-in safari camps we frequented. Giraffes,though, have a bit of a hump; they are listed in the Antelope family on the provided checklist. Who knew? Prior to this trip, I couldn't tell a Roan antelope from a Tsetsebbe, or something like that. Now I'm a mini-expert, shooting the shit with the best of them. I also know that an impala's poop is called midden which appears in neat piles all over to mark their territory.
Speaking of marking one's territory, maybe at this moment there is a pride of lions somewhere in the Okavango Delta sniffing all the places where my "cubs" and I
relieved ourselves so often last week. Meanwhile, the Greenwalds are all back in our real lives,using toilets instead of trees,reluctantly and alone.

[Tune in soon for the next episode: " A PHOBIA OF GREENWALDS"]