This morning was another early one (up at 6:45). We got on the road early and drove out to a local village to meet with the chief of the village and learn more about him. He was very energetic and enthusiastic about his village, his responsibility and the African way of life. The chief mentioned at some pint how they like their woman heavier bc it means that they are happy and treated well. He said that with skinny women he wonders if the man is a using her bc doesn't look healthy/happy. At the end of our visit, we were talking about what happens to a woman and her property if her husband dies young. The chief mentioned how it is the responsibility of the family to take care of her bc too hard with the dowry to change families, etc. I mentioned my family's situation and the chief exclaimed that it means I am African. I then told him when my birthday is and he was extremely moved by the significance of the date and gave me a big hug, telling others my situation and how I am African bc of it. It was a very interesting visit.
Afterwards, we went to the local craft market to do some shopping and bartering with everyday items we brought from home. It was very overwhelming bc the stall owners would all come up to you to try and get you to their stall. It didn't help that they all had pretty much the same thing. We had also been told that things were much cheaper here so we waited to do our shopping now. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like it was really all that much cheaper. I did barter with some flip flops, socks, tsuirts, rain ponchos, etc. Some folks had much better items to trade with but I didn't want to load down my suitcase with junk.
At 1pm everyday, the hotel puts out its leftover meat and carcasses for the vultures. I went down to watch the ceedinggfrenzy and it was insane. The vultures started circling the hotel at abuout 12:15 bc they know it just about feeding time. Once the guys put the food out and left the area, the vultures swooped in and it was a free for all! I got some crazy photos.
This afternoon we had some downtime before heading to the Victoria Falls Elephant Park. Here we had a chance to pet the elephants, ride the elephants, and feed the elephants. What gentle giants. Bill and I rode an elephant together in India, so of course we had to ride together again. Out on the ride we saw giraffes, waterbok, warthogs,
Impalas, and most imprtan, we saw Cape buffalo. What does that mean? It means that we have now seen 4 of the big 5 animals. All we have left to see are leopards and hippos.
The park also took in an orphaned cheetah when it was days old. It only knows human interaction and is now used as an am assessor to educate people about cheetahs and why they should be protected. Right now, at the current rate of hunting, cheetahs could be extinct or endangered (can't remember) in the next 20 years. Meeting Sylvester (the cheetah) was a big surprise. Not only did we meet him, but we got to pet him! How many people in the world can say that they pet a cheetah???? Not many!
The best was as we were getting briefed on Sylvester, he wandered off (on his leash) to another area with his handler. He literally walked right by me, about a foot away! Kind freaked me out! The. I look over to where he went and he's sitting down LICKING his handlers head! So crazy!!!!!!
We are off to Botswana this morning and hoping to see hippos, the last big animal (aside from leopards which are very elusive and hard to see sometimes) we have yet to see. We may not have wifi there so I'll post updates when I'm back in wifi range.