Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Grahame and KK's Grand Adventure (con't...)

On the road with Tony and Nicola--right before the elephant 'mock' charged them...and caused Grahame and KK to 'mock' wet their pants and have 'mock' heart attacks...

(This is 'Part Two' of the column which appears in GAG, below...)

In my last column I told you a little bit about Grahame and KK’s trip to Africa.  When I wrote that column, my Australian friends had only spent a night or two on the Dark Continent and most of Grahame’s ‘travel log’ pertained to their experiences en route and as they got settled at the home belonging to their son and daughter-in-law, Tony and Nicola.

Since that time, Grahame and KK have had many ‘African adventures’—and Grahame has sent me almost seven thousand words detailing their holiday experiences. Most of us can only dream about sharing the landscape with magnificent animals such as elephants, impalas, lions, leopards, crocs, hippos, giraffes and rhinos.  It’s likely we will only experience seeing those majestic (and often dangerous and/or endangered) creatures in a domestic setting, such as a zoo or an animal park.  And yet, my friends are spending their vacation sitting on riverbanks, on boats and on the outdoor decks of restaurants while viewing these animals in their natural habitats. 

I’m very thankful (even while being slightly envious) to have been given this opportunity to experience Africa ‘second-hand’ -- due to the kindness and graciousness of a good friend.
Black mambas--photo G. Dowling

Grahame has sent me some of the amazing photos he’s taken of the local fauna-- like the pair of Black Mamba snakes (extremely deadly!) which were sunning themselves right below the patio on which his family was dining.  Or the pair of bull elephants that sauntered into the nearby watering hole and decided it was a good time and place to strut their stuff.  The gents got into a bit of a rumble in their efforts to astound the gals with their ‘tusk action’--proving that boys will be boys, no matter where they live or how impressive their equipment.

I confess that—upon reading the portion of G’s journal pertaining to how he and KK were treated when they took a side trip to the famous and spectacular Victoria Falls—I once again got a bit wrathy.  Grahame wrote, in part:

“We arrived at ‘Vic Falls’ airport. A big difference in the friendliness of the South African airport staff to the Zimbabwe immigration and visa control, where they herded everyone into lines and barked orders as if we were prisoners lining up for a roll call. (They were) generally quite unpleasant and rude while scrutinizing our passport and tickets…”

I began to write about the fact that part and parcel of the African Experience is the state of the human condition on the Continent, as well as the politics surrounding each region.  After waxing philosophic, however, I decided to ‘leave it be’.  This is a light-hearted column…and Grahame and KK are having an amazing vacation. That’s what I want to focus on. I’ll ‘bristle’ in their defense another day.

Instead, I’d like to show you a bit of Grahame’s own ‘human condition’. I can’t adequately convey how this man tickles me and makes me smile.  Yes, we’ve had mild disagreements over the years (topics like ‘God’ and ‘guns’ have sometimes illustrated our differing philosophies) but I am confident that G is the best kind of friend that a person could have.  He’s sensitive but strong, polite but wickedly irreverent…and he has an amazing and powerful love for his wife.  That one quality alone is what I admire most about him.

But while I am in awe of his ‘husband perfection’…I can comfortably tease him about his other characteristics.  This segment from a recent email epitomizes my pal Grahame and shows his sense of humor (and indelible style) far better than I could ever do. 

“Just after I signed off yesterday writing to you I was sitting on my bed at Tony’s (the others had all gone down to the park) when a ******* giant baboon peered in the sliding glass door from outside at me. The door was open but the screen slider closed. Scared the crap out of me and I shrieked which made the baboon shriek and run. Closed up the place, closed all the curtains and went out to the car to drive down and join the others at the park, walked around to the driver’s side of the car and bugger me there was another one of the buggers who shrieked and jumped up in the air and almost made me soil my trousers. All very exciting. Jumped in car and went to park to get some medicine (aka Chardonnay.)”

Hah!  Tell me this.  How can a girl read words like that—and not smile? 

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