May 11, 2010

Safari Day

Attack of the Killer Monkey!

While in Africa we did manage to take one day off from working in the slums and drove about two hours northwest of Nairobi to the Lake Nakuru National Park for a Safari.

When we pulled into the parking lot of the park we spotted a handful of monkeys hanging around. I've never seen a monkey face to face, but never in person.

So like an idiot I decided to get a close up video of one monkey. At the time I thought it would be a good idea to make chirping noises at the little dude while I was filming.

Well, I must have said something offensive in Monkey talk because he turned and started chasing me and I ran like a little girl as shown in the video above.

Our safari vehicle.

Like a clown car we packed 12 people into this small van. The road we traveled wasn't smooth either. If you didn't watch yourself one good pothole could easily bruise a kidney.

Baboons among us.

There were several baboons walking around the parking area at the safari also. Knowing these creatures could easily tear off a scrotal sack, or suck out one of my eyeballs if provoked, I made sure to keep Justin Ahrens between me and the roving beasts.

Stereotypical Africa Tree.

I captured a lot of texture images in Africa and will be releasing that to the design world as a new set of design resources later this summer.

Rule29 and Glitschka Studios will be teaming up on a cool design project inspired by our time in the Nairobi slums, but more about that later.

Waterfall in safari.

As we drove the safari we came upon this cool waterfall that spilled out and flooded over the road we had to drive through.

Staring at this waterfall I thought it looked like chocolate milk and I envisioned large Oreo cookies bobbing in the water below it. (These are the type of thoughts I usually never tell anyone about, and for good reason.)

Strange plant and bug.

As I was heading back to the vehicle I spotted this plant with a colorful bug on it. I set my camera to macro and got in really close to capture a good picture. (1 inch or so) That's when our guide leaned over and said pointing to what I was shooting "That is poisonous."

I wasn't sure if he meant the plant or the bug, but that was all I needed to hear and skidaddled.

Zebra butt.

I would have liked to get a better picture of a Zebra but this was the best I could do. Shooting pictures with several pro photographers means they get the best angles, and for good reason I suppose.

During the safari I did manage to see a Monkey, Wild Boar, Flamingo, Ostrich, Giraffe, Rhino, Water Buffalo, Impala, Gazelle, Millions of Butterflies, and even a Lion sleeping in a tree.

So why am I not posting pictures of these animals? Well the fore mentioned shutter bugs all got great pictures of most of these because they had sniper quality lens, and my point in shoot is good for textures and up close like the lethal plant I shot, but not so hot on the zoom.

Seriously though, how many times have you seen a good photo of a Zebra butt? Bet you didn't realize all the stripes pointed to the pooper did you? See, it's educational.

Traffic in Nakuru.

Whether you're in Nairobi or in this case Nakuru, traffic is absolutely chaotic.

Lets put it this way, if you owned a company that painted road lines you'd go out of business fast. No one cares about lanes, right of way, or paint jobs for that matter.

Come to think of it I don't think I ever saw a speed limit sign the whole time there?

My travel hat.

I've worn this hat all around the world now. Took it with me when I went to Israel and Jordon and now it's been to Kenya as well.

When we were leaving and heading back to Nairobi we stopped to get something to drink. I was in the passenger seat and a street vendor was trying to sell me some home burned CD's of African pop music. (I'm a sucker for African pop and bought two) That's when a younger street urchin walked up to our vehicle reached in through the window and nabbed my hat sitting on the dash board and took off running.

I was too tired to respond. I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and thought "I guess he needs it more than I do." But our driver within seconds, put the car in park, set the emergency brake and exited the vehicle in a blur.

All of a sudden I felt like I was watching an African episode of Cops. He caught the kid, hog tied him, retrieved my hat and the whole van applauded. (OK, he didn't hog tie him, that was writers embellishment)

It was an entertaining way to end the day.


Grafixgibbs said...

Great posts. Love the wire cars. We used to see those in Nigeria and I am guilty of building a couple of them and ones from corn husks. We used to build cars, boats, planes, just about anything our little imaginations could think up from corn husks.

It is amazing what treasures you will find in an area like you were. The ingenuity abounds and the experience will leave you changed forever.

The Cross Road said...

Vonster that is so very funny of the monkey, for the noises you made should be limited to feeding squirrels at Salem's capital. Speaking the wrong language abroad can certainly provoke an undesired response. I am thankful you did it though, for the Vonish noise you made as he turned and decided to have some fun with you is priceless...

newleafcreative said...

Von, Thank you for sharing your trip with your readers. I was deeply touched by the resilience and creativity of those children in the slums. How amazing that they can survive and make do with so very little and yet, in almost all of your portraits, they were smiling. It brought tears to my eyes and reminded me how blessed our own lives are here in the US. I'm sure you've come back a changed man after that experience. I look forward to seeing all that influence come out in your superb work.
Take care. TT

Kell said...

Amazing stories and photos. I spent a lot of time in Port Au Prince, Haiti between 1999 and 2002... And the photos of the neighborhoods look shockingly similar... For a quick look - check out a few photos I posted on my blog after the Haiti Earthquake.

I have no idea how you weren't mobbed by kids when you handed out those tablets!!!!!!

My first year in Haiti (where I was photographing a medical clinic), we were cleaning out the clinic room from previous groups' work. We found a bag of unsanitized (but new) plastic OB/Gyn speculums. One doc said "We can never use these!" so he handed them out to the kids, who used them as little plastic guns. I have no idea to this day why I didn't take photos... I'm such an idiot!

Anyway - your post brought back some memories of some old "friends" who I think of often. Haiti really changed my life.

CHeers to you!


Vonster said...


Well I was mobbed. But had a few helpers to remove the eventual dogpile that would happen from time to time as the kids cascaded upon me.

The field we did the creative drawing in was located in a gated area owned by a local Church so we were able to control the crowd of kids a little more.

Like you it has forever changed the way I view a lot of thing. I can't think about the kids and people I met without it touching a nerve. (In a good way)

Thanks for reading.