Posts Tagged ‘lions’

This young lion, which came close enough for me to lean over and touch if I had been so inclined -- I wasn't -- provided a tall-tale to relate to my grandchildren. -- Photo by Pat Bean



“An optimist is someone who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.” — Walter Winchell


My early mornings are reserved for writing, but I played hooky today to run errands with my daughter-in-law.

When I moaned to her that I didn’t have an idea for today’s blog that I was going to have to write when we returned from gadding about – That’s the downside of signing up for this blog-a-day challenge – she suggested I write about my encounter with a lion.

The story is one of the anecdotes from my African safari that I tell to impress my grandkids, whom I want to think that Nana is cool, or whatever term they use for it these days. I know such self-serving promotion smacks of Frank Lloyd Wright’s decision to choose “honest arrogance” over “hypocritical humility,” but I do it anyway.

Lions sleep the day away as tourists gawk from metal contraptions that African wildlife consider just part of the landscape -- Photo by Pat Bean

And since it’s now past time for my brain to be at its writing peak, I’ll accept the suggestion and repeat the story. Once upon a time, on an August day in 2007, I had the experience of a lifetime…

All three of the native guides who chauffeured my friend Kim and I through Tanzania and Kenya for two weeks were experts at finding wildlife. On this particular morning, our guide had spotted three lions, a mother and two almost fully grown males, headed our way.

He parked and we waited for them to pass by our Land Rover. These tourist-transporting vehicles have become so common to African wildlife that they’re merely considered an indigestible part of the landscape. And Kim and I had been assured we would be perfectly safe as long as we stayed inside the metal contraptions.

As our guide had so correctly assumed, the lions passed not far from our vehicle. That is to say two of them passed. One of the younger males took a short detour to scratch his back on the tire of our Land Rover, whose canvas tops and sides had been rolled back to give us better views.

I froze, but then couldn’t resist a single shot from the camera I had in my hand. Here I was, standing mere inches away from the king of the beasts. I wanted proof – and I got it.

How “cool” is that?

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A real "Survivor" moment in Kenya. This young male lion actually scratched its back on the tire of the Land Rover just beneath my feet. -- Photo by Pat Bean

  “I don’t want to be thought of as a survivor because you have to continue getting involved in difficult situations to show off that particular gift, and I’m not interested in doing that anymore.” — Carrie Fisher

Travels With Maggie

I’m hooked on the TV series, “Survivor.” I’m not proud of the addiction. It means I can no longer boast that I’ve never watched a soap opera. “Survivor,” with all its melodrama, plotting and backstabbing, is certainly that.

It’s a rare contestant who doesn’t lie, cheat, gossip maliciously and betray. That’s the way to play the game. Being a good guy or gal usually means you get voted out early because the competition knows you’ll most likely be the one to win the million-dollar prize.

I’m a peace-loving person who wants everybody on the planet to get along and respect each other. More than once I’ve gotten up on a soapbox to spread this message. Yet Survivor nights find me watching a group of rowdy, inconsiderate, half-naked – sometimes even naked although CBS censors the privates — buffoons make war against each other.

Why am I hooked? It’s a question I’ve asked myself. When I do, this old-broad traveler actually comes up with answers. .

No adrenalin moment here, but an elephant coming out of a river at Tarangire National Park in Tanzania looked for awhile like it was going to charge our vehicle. While I didn't pee my pants, I was too afraid to move to take a picture during that "Survivor" moment. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

First there’s the exotic settings, like Australia and Africa, that appeal to my wanderlusted soul. Then there’s the idea of surviving the new and the strange, which on a more sedate scale, my dog, Maggie, and I do every time we head down the road to places we’ve never been or seen before.

“Survivor” is arm-chair travel at its adrenalin best. I find myself living vicariously through the actions of the players, standing in their shoes – or standing shoeless beside them – asking myself what I would do if I were them.

Sitting in front of my motor home’s small TV, or watching the show on my computer when I have no digital or cable connections, I fantasize winning each immunity challenge while still being the good gal who doesn’t lie, cheat or betray. Of course I always win. Such fantasy keeps my brain stimulated – and that’s a good thing. Or so I tell myself.

According to the ratings I have a lot of company. So why do you watch “Survivor?”

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