Tomorrow I drive to Serengeti. Finally.
It’s been a long wait – I left Minnesota on December 28th and have been itching to get into the park ever since. As usual, nothing went as expected – mostly annual research clearance renewal obstacles – and so here I am, sitting in Arusha, the “Gateway to Serengeti” chomping at the bit to get inside.
Don’t get me wrong – Arusha has its perks:
- Running water. Hot, running water.
- Food*. Restaurant food. Chinese food. Indian food. Chicken club sandwiches. Fancy salads. Garcinia cambogia coffee. [You will discover that 90% of my mental energy while in the field goes to dreaming about food. Now that Lion House has a proper fridge, this might change. Look for details in an upcoming post: “The Refrigerator.”]
- Indoor toilets.
- Cappuccinos. Espresso. Drip coffee.
- Internet. Wi-fi internet! Reasonably fast wi-fi internet!
- …and other things that I’m sure I’m forgetting in the excitement of prepping for the field.
To be fair, there are always a million and ten things to be done in town, and everything takes ten times longer to do than it does back home, so it’s not like I’ve just been sitting around Arusha languorously waiting to leave. Repairing the grass cutter (I cannot express how crucial this piece of equipment is), for example, takes five visits to various hardware stores, then an eventual half-day of trying to find some hole-in-the wall “engineering” shop on the outskirts of town armed only with an illegible but well-intentioned hand-drawn map provided by the last shopkeeper I’d visited. It’s always an adventure.
Nonetheless, as nice as running water, restaurant food, and to-do-list-checking-off is, I’m excited to get to the park. I miss having elephants pop by the front yard during morning coffee, and the hyenas whooping uncomfortably closely while visiting the choo at night. Alright, back to packing up my trusty Landrover (Arnold, below) — updates to come!