Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dung Beetle

Dung beetles are fantastic animals. You can't really understand work ethic until you have sat and watched a dung beetle. They move tremendously fast. They have to stand on their heads and push with their rear legs. From that position they can't see where they are going so they have to stop every few seconds and jump on top of their ball of dung and turn in a circle to scope the route. Then they leap off and start pushing again like mad.

There are several kinds of dung beetles. Some are iridescent green.

This beetle got combative when I tried to take a picture of it. Looking at the photos I see that it has something clinging to it's underside. I don't know if those are little flies or if they are baby dung beetles. Perhaps it was protecting them or perhaps it was in a foul temper before I found it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I am in Botswana now. In Botswana there are only three affordable places to sleep in the whole country so mostly it's going to be camping in the forest. I still have tons of old blog posts from Ethiopia and every other country that I wanted to write... Here is a random post from Kenya. The picture is also random, taken from a game drive in Swaziland.

Nanyuki is one of the starting points for Mount Kenya expeditions. I had passed through the town in 2004 with a friend from Sudan, Lagu, when we climbed the mountain together. That time we didn't sleep in town so I didn't know where the hotels were.

I cycled for a while looking for one, but eventually just went with a street hawker who said he take me to a hotel that was pretty cheap. It turned out he was really a mountain guide looking for clients. He remembered Lagu. The first Sudanese man to climb Mount Kenya. He had been guiding two German women that time. We had met the women at the top and hiked down together.

The hotel where he led me, was next to the Montana Guide Company which Lagu and I had used. I saw our old guide in the hotel restaurant when I went to supper. We talked for a bit. He seemed despondent. Guiding is supposed to be a career. These guys are trained in safety and mountain lore. Normally it takes people four days to climb the mountain, but the guides can run to the top in eight hours if they need to. Business was down 90% because of all the post election killings. I offered to buy him supper or a drink, but his wife had already cooked dinner and it was almost night. It's dangerous to walk through town after dark.

After he left, a woman came over to my table. "I've already ordered," I told her, thinking she was a waitress.

"Oh. No," she says, "I'm not with the hotel. I'm an escort. I came to ask if you wanted a quickie."

I realised then that I had seen her outside talking to some guides. It was cool weather and she was wearing sensible clothes. Jeans. A light sweater. Tallish. Attractive. "Ah," I say, "No. I'm OK thanks."

Suspicious, she asks me, "You're OK? So if I come here later on, I'm going to see you with a woman?"

"Uh... No. It's just that I'm quite religious, yeah?"

"Oh." she says, looking at me as if I had just told her that I was gravely ill. "Oh." she says, "Sorry."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elephant grass

Just me
And the road
And the wind and sun
And the rustle and smell
Of the elephant grass

Friday, August 14, 2009