Books Read in 2007
My Favorite Video Blogs
(for others, see Links page)
"A Small Price"
The "Mean Kitty" song
"Jersey Boys" at the Tonys
Andrea Bocelli Sings to Elmo
Family Stories Vlog
New on My
22 September 2007
Nine weeks is a long time! I've missed her. It's the longest we've gone without any communication whatsoever since we "met" online in 1998 or 1999.
Peggy has just returned from her "trip of a lifetime," a photo safari to Africa, with a little side trip to see the military tattoo in Edinburgh ('cause Scotland is so close to Kenya, dontcha know!) She called from Australia yesterday with a report on her trip, where she reportedly took "about 6,000 photos" and decided that her camera isn't good enough and she needs a new one.
(Are we surprised? It's been....oh....months since she bought a new camera!)
She's done two of the three things that I've always wanted to do -- see the military tattoo and go to Africa. The third thing -- that elusive cruise up the inland passage to Alaska -- remains something that neither of us has done.
Shelly and Ellen went to Africa a few years back and Shelly has been telling me all along that I would love it, that I could handle it physically, and that I should go...go...go!
Peggy tells a different story. She absolutely loved every minute of it, but felt that my back would not be able to handle the rugged terrain. She talked about the driving conditions on the non-existent roads and I was reminded of a very short drive we took on a red sand road in Australia where I was in a panic the whole time, fearful that the car was going to tip over.
That was, according to Peggy, a major highway compared to the roads she rode over in Africa. A woman on their tour opted out of some of the drives because her back was bothering her so much, she tells me.
So that actually makes me feel better. I will never get to Africa, will never see those magnificent animals up close and personal, but now I don't feel so bad about it because I probably couldn't handle the travel conditions.
It would be nice to be able to reach a point where I would yawn at yet another herd of impala, or to have a ho-hum attitude about yet another elephant encounter or see yet another pride of lions going after the kill.
But I'll have the next best thing. Rather than wait for her to put her photos into some sort of slide show (knowing that it's been 4 years since I was in Australia and I still have not done that myself!) I'm encouraging her to just send me all of the photos, in their raw format, on DVD and I can pretend I was there all along.
One thing about taking a photo safari, she tells me -- something I have suspected would be the effect -- is that she can't see herself ever visiting a zoo again. Having seen all the animals living free where they were meant to live, and loving animals as she does, it would make it very painful for her to see them caged up.
I've always felt that, especially with apes. I've always felt like apologizing for staring at a gorilla or an orangutan in a zoo, knowing they can't get out of their enclosure, and realizing that they spend all day looking through bars at human beings staring at them, or pointing at them, or laughing at them, or taunting them.
I remember a gorilla at the San Francisco zoo, when I was growing up. This guy was one of the most popular exhibits. He was famous for taking a big swig of water, then rushing at the bars of his cage and spitting it at the people outside watching. Little boys and big immature men would run up to the cage taunting the gorilla, hoping to get him angry enough to spit. What a sad thing. Even as a child, I felt sorry for him (and was afraid of being spat upon!). I remember that he had a very small enclosure. No wonder he had rages.
Nowadays, zoos have recognized that animals need more natural, larger habitats and are building them, but they are still enclosures, places where the animals can't roam free and are still in prison. We wonder why zoo elephants go mad, being made to stand on concrete all day long, when their natural habitat is a nice dirt floor and the ability to wander miles through their territory every day, enjoying the company of the herd, helping to raise the young, etc.
Organizations like The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, among other such facilities, are able to save some of these magnificent creatures, but it's still a long way from "home."
I'm so happy that Peggy had this "trip of a lifetime," but I sure am glad she's home. I miss hearing about all the orphaned joeys she is helping to raise. Now she can go back to not writing e-mail because she's too busy, instead of not writing e-mail because she has no internet access!
Life has returned to normal.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
"Hey look, guys! Mom's home!"
This is entry #2734