Touch in some ways doesn’t seem an obvious choice for an organizing theme but it definitely works for me. From the gentle skim of humidity that greeted us when we stepped off the airplane just five days ago to the bumping and bouncing that we feel as our Land Rovers (LRs) lurch and bounce over the tracks that comprise the roads we are using, our sense of touch is being engaged.
On the 11th, as we left the Serena Serengeti Lodge, the rains of the night before had turned the roads into slippery, greasy, rut-filled messes. Our drivers were undaunted, of course, but as the LRs slewed violently from left to right it kind of felt like being in an adult version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I could hear (okay, I know that’s another sense but it fits in here) Paul Simon singing “slip sliding away, slip sliding awayayayay,” with each sudden change of direction. It was great. Interestingly, after spending the bulk of the rest of the day in dry conditions, by the time we were approaching our camp, we had an incredible downpour which had me hearing “the nearer our destination, the more we’re slip sliding away.”
However, before we got to that part of the song, we found ourselves in a dust storm on the edge of Lake Nbutu, watching a flock of maribou storks, and eventually the dust in my contacts had me thinking that they had been made out of sandpaper. Not a particularly pleasant sensation but certainly a memorable one.
There are also incredible thorn trees here that don’t mess about with little prickles. No, they go for thorns the size of darning needles. If our drivers weren’t so attentive, we might find ourselves the unhappy recipients of the thorn’s sting as our LRs brush past them. But, we are usually warned of the danger in time to retreat into the interior of the vehicle.
Probably the most noteworthy, but most likely to make my aging mom cringe, assault on my sense of touch was on the 10th. To get to the Serena Serengeti Lodge where we spent the night, we had to join the main road for a piece; main road being a relative term you understand. Parts of it were so corduroyed that after we passed over them I felt that common courtesy required me to turn to the person sitting next to me and ask if it had been good for him, too. Luckily, the person sitting next to me is usually Michael.
But possibly the best, or at least most looked forward to, touch sensations of each day are, in the order in which they occur not necessarily the order of preference: The feel of a warm shower wash up before heading to the dining tent; the refreshing chill of a tall glass of gin and tonic rolled across one’s forehead prior to that first sip; and, the feel of clean sheets as one slips between them at the end of another amazing day.
Coming soon: Sound.