Friday, 1 June 2012

Zebra Crossing

I have just had a little anniversary. This week it has been one year since I left Australia. In late May 2011 I had a lovely lunch and final round of hugs with family, friends and my very dear Grandma Ruthie who just recently passed away. After lunch I did a final check of passport, documents, camera, camera battery ect, then I had an early fish and chip tea and the lovely Helen took me out to the airport. And at the scene of so many hellos and goodbyes (mine and many others) I said a bit of a choked goodbye to Helen -for I did not know how long. Then after the requisite amount of time waiting around in the airport I flew out to Tanzania- the first leg of my world adventure.

A year is a funny thing. Sometimes we look back and go 'my- hasn't time flown.' But when you are in so many different places each little bracket of time elongates, the hours and days are so packed with new sights and sounds that they almost burst the seams of your memories. A single day can have more stories than you ever get around to telling - that does not make me - or any other traveller more interesting to sit next to at a dinner party - I am more often than not without two sentences to string together, but  it does make it impossible to say- 'This year just went by in the blink of an eye'. With all those memories different bits of my travels percolate in my brain at different times and for some reason or another just now it is Zebras that have popped into my head.

So this one year anniversary blog is not about all the goodbyes I have said in the last twelve months, or about how some faces are no longer there to say hello to in the future - it is about Zebras.

On the last day of my safari in Tanzania, as has already been gleefully reported I had my first flamingo sightings in the Nogorongoro Crater. You might think all other animal sightings would pale into insignificance after that, but actually just after the flamingo rapture there were still more mesmerising wildlife encounters to be had - we took part in a Zebra parade.

Nogorongoro Crater, Tanzania 2011

We somehow found ourselves right in the middle of a line of Zebras that went on and on. The zebra's dealt with the intrusion of our vehicle with very little fuss. After a little confusion they simply re-routed around the blockage, and then as soon as they could they returned to their original well worn path. They wanted to get from A to B and we were in the middle of their path - so they would go around us.

Zebra Parade
On safari we had seen quite a few Zebras- but this was our first on-mass sighting. The orderly, seemingly endless line was a delight to watch. Often when you are on safari you are waiting for something to happen - a glimpse of a lion cub, a Cheetah attack, a rhino to materialise out of the bushes, and this makes for a weird combination of boredom and excitement. Watching the Zebras was not like that, we were just happy to watch, I think we would have been horrified if something actually happened to interrupt the parade.

re-routed Zebras

Part of the reason Zebras are so fascinating is that combination of the familiar and the strange. We all know what a horse looks like and they are beautiful in their own right - but these are weird horses - they are stripey! And you cannot help ogling them and snapping an unnecessary amount of photographs.
Especially when they walk in a long straggling line, one after another, after another on and on as far as you can see in both directions.

baby Zebra - on parade

Presumably this parade happens every day, as the herd makes its way across the crater, but that makes it no less of a precious memory. So I thought I would share it. Happy Anniversary me!

just another safari memory 2011

1 comment:

  1. Paul McCartney3 June 2012 at 12:57

    Eh up Sheila - talking about zebras, me and the lads found one in the street outside Abbey Road studios - we all walked out to have our photos taken and I think it was used as an album cover - though I cannae remember for certain so I better ring Ringo