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Tasting Africa, One L----ick at a Time - Part 2
Tasting Africa (One L****ick at a Time) Part 2 (Though the title's a joke, my limericks are not!) 5. Yet Another World Wonder Feel like now I am older I need to admit A Safari to Africa costs quite a bit! Climb Kilimanjaro? (1) (Hmm? Maybe tomorrow!) For this peak soars from water-starved plains like a zit! (1) Kilimanjaro is a world-famous 19,000-foot-high twin-peaked volcano near the town of Moshi in Tanzania, East Africa! It stands alone on vast Serengeti grasslands roamed by migrating herds of wild animals following rain's seasons. This mountain once hosted a massive glacier of ice near its summit that provided water to natives below for their crops as it melted gradually during the warmer times of the year. This glacier has disappeared, and many look threatened. Might this be because of global warming? In any case, just one trip to Tanzania would let you see both of these incredible volcanoes! 6. A Visitation! Late one night I heard cough just outside of my tent, As I peeked through mosquito nets, (1) lion gave vent To cough even more loud, Full moon's light, I was wowed! Had a jail cell been handy, I would have paid rent! (1) My African survey crew stayed together in a larger shelter. I slept in a private one on a cot equipped with a mosquito net and an additional mosquito net for the tent's door. There were canvas flaps as well though they were generally left open for ventilation unless it rained. I had been in bed about an hour or so, when a full-sized male lion strolled through our camp! He was about 20 feet from my tent's entrance and quite visible in the moon's light. There were only two flimsy mosquito nets between the lion and me. The moon was so bright that I doubt the lion could see me at all inside the tent, but I had nothing to defend myself with if he had! 7. S**t Happens It Seems! For a while, mate owned Doberman, never tied down. Planned to stay in grass shed, at the edge of the town, Crew's retired, dog's outside, Jeep's not back, dog can’t hide! Heard the fight was quite short, so what ate dog no clown! (1) (1) We got back late that night from a trip for supplies. The dog's killer was likely a hyena, but it could easily have been a lion or wild dogs. Wild dogs are the deadliest killers in East Africa. 8. Mzee Once I caught a Chameleon. Called him Mzay, (1) His bright colors amazing, mind sees him today! Dark Brown hue, Green as grass, Black splotched Yellow, watch ass! He will nip you for sure if you get in his way! Near two pounds, not that fast, but his hiss evoked fear, Stretched out covered man's forearm, no "fly-weight" (2) my dear A tongue long as his length Stealth his power, (3) hues strength You, bee caught in his sights, yep, his suppertime's here! (1) The actual Swahili word 'Mzee' gets pronounced 'Mzay!' It is a word of respect used to honor an older person like 'Sir' is in English, but even more so. His hiss was worse than his bite though. (2) Professional fighters compete in various weight classes, 'fly- weight (a joke here), ''medium weight,' and 'heavyweight' for example. (3) A Chameleon's ability to imitate, blend with changing surroundings is a real superpower when its natural camouflage gets coupled to slow, deliberate movements. I don't think I ever saw a single Chameleon in Nature. When they try to cross a road and have not had time to adapt yet, you can easily observe and capture them. It's fun too that some Africans think they are poisonous, that if one bites you, you’ll turn different colors and die! I got a reputation as a wizard walking around with Mzee on my arm, or sitting on my shoulder. A friend told me that if you see Chameleons making love, you will have a long life! That might explain why I have lived so long! But perhaps, in collecting them, I was cheating? I got a reputation as a wizard walking around with Mzee on my arm, or sitting on my shoulder. An African friend told me that one who sees Chameleons making love, will have a long life! That might explain why I have lived so long! But perhaps, in collecting them, I was cheating? Brian Johnston 13th of July in 2020 Poet’s Notes: This is a poem I hope to make into a book someday and couple it with art based on photographs I took during my time in Tanzania. In time I trust there will be more new vignettes, ‘God willing, and the creek don’t rise!’
Copyright © 2020 Brian Johnston. All Rights Reserved