Friday, June 26, 2009

Jet Lag, Rescued Animals and Me, the Lapsed Vegetarian

Greg has been stricken with late-onset jet lag, an afflication from which I've been mercifully spared so far. So he's asleep... and I'm NOT. Seems like as good a time as any to blog, then!

Today we left right at 9:30am to make sure we arrived at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Karen well before 11am. That's when things get exciting there---and we had a full day of up-close time with rescued animals.

Here's one.

Here are some others... They say that there has been a dramatic uptick in numbers of abandoned, injured and in-need baby elephants lately, so the people at the Trust have been very busy! There was a pretty large crowd of people there today, too, including several classes of Kenyan school children---so I tried to listen carefully to the lecture they were receiving in Swahili. The 6 year olds were definitely understanding more than I was.

On our way out, we were invited to take a peek at Max, the blind rhino. Nobody knew how he was blinded, but the keepers definitely have a sweet spot for this little fella. They spoke gently to him, and he responded by coming over to the fence and letting us rub his hide and horn. Not particularly cuddly, as you might imagine.

After our lunch -- delicious, at Talisman -- we went over to the Giraffe Center. We wished we could have afforded the $700 per night rooms at Giraffe Manor (where giraffes are encouraged to poke their heads through the upstairs windows, into the guests' rooms), but we settled for feeding the two that were out schmoozing with the riff raff like us. Giraffes are much softer than rhinos and elephants... but they've got their nasty habits: mostly sticking their long, slimy tongues into their nostrils in between nibbles of tourist-pellets. Ewwwwww!
We stopped for coffee at Rose's house on our way back to town, and I added a beef samosa at her house to the list of violations I've made against vegetarianianism since I've been here. The roast meat last night was definitely worth it. We'll see what else the future holds in that regard...
We had one more visit with Paul and Gerald tonight, before we headed back to the Bureau to get some rest (Greg) and prep for tomorrow and triage email (Hayden). It's another day at Cura tomorrow, and we've got lots to do! Looking forward to it, of course...


  1. I'm really enjoying following your trip! You both write great entries and the pictures are great. I have a soft spot for elephants and gorillas. Is the uptick in elephant orphans due to ivory poaching? Or do they know? Will you get to see gorillas in the park? I've read some about the tribal conflicts spilling over into killing gorillas. It makes me sad. I'm learning things from your travel blog I never knew. Thanks.

  2. Chris,
    I actually call my daughters the "Gorillas" (it's a version of "girls"), so those are the only actual primates I was talking about. But the elephants and rhinos and giraffes are real! :)