I’m currently sitting at an outdoor desk, carved of wood by on-site carpenters. It’s ornate but functional, the kind of desk that begs you to start your goddamn novel. To have great ideas, powered by the occasional menacing snort of the hippo.
A loud, annoying insect terrorist won’t leave me alone. I just want to sit in peace and admire the impala walking through the safari brush, the chirps of birds that sound like cartoon lasers, and the perfect view of a lake where we’ve already seen hippo. No matter how many times I swat, this half-terminator, half-impotent hornet won’t quit. This little fucker is relentless.
It’s over 100 degrees in the sun, so hot that even the Maasai take cover in the shade. There are no thermometers because you don’t need a device to tell you how hot it is when the answer is dripping from your pores. In qualitative terms, we’re somewhere between so hot that you see God and so hot that – that’s not God, that’s obviously Satan, now prepare for eternal damnation, you vile, wicked heathen.
We arrived here in Selous an hour ago, and the first thing we did when we got to our tent was take our shirts off. At a certain temperature, keeping clothes on is more indecent and repugnant than removing them.
To call this thing a tent is an egregious understatement. It is a temple. The vinyl and screen “tent,” if that’s what we’re calling this monstrosity, has solar electricity, an outdoor shower, and is octagonal in shape to maximize airflow. “Airflow” is a cute theory, but if you can feel a breeze in there, you’d be the first.
There is a forty-by-forty foot thatched roof structure above it, designed to protect from extreme equatorial weather – rain, hail, sun, wind. We’re one heart short of calling Captain Planet.
Right now, the thatched roof is putting in work as a shade-maker. It absorbs the sun’s direct heat, releasing the hot air baked beneath it through triangular holes on either side of its peak. The laws of thermodynamics tell us that heat rises, but in this part of Tanzania, it falls too. There’s no escaping it.
The safari jeeps are parked and the other guests at our camp are getting lunch. At this time of day, when the sun hangs directly overhead, animals mostly take cover, finding shade and protection deeper in the brush. While they rest, we rest, preparing for our first safari excursion.
This afternoon, we’ll go on a boat to tour the wildlife of the lake, and then, I’m told we’ll enjoy a “sundowner.” I don’t exactly know what a “sundowner” is, but it sounds too sophisticated for someone unapologetically sitting outside in her underwear like one of the Clampetts.
Will report back. Also, very excited to meet our guide. I understand he will lead us on our safari adventures for the next four days.