Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Midnight Visitor

It was our second night in Africa. Our guide warned us to watch the path carefully at night for scorpions. So Sheree and I made our way back to our little cabin sweeping our headlamps back and forth looking for these venomous little peckers.

It was sort of exciting in a strange way,. We don't get a lot of scorpions in Edmonton...although I felt a geek wearing a headlamp. (I knew a kid who was president of the Science Club who took a headlamp to camp once...enough said.)

Anyway: since the room lights ran off a generator and we were asked to keep the power uses down, I decided to read my book using my headlamp.

Sheree was sleeping beside me and I was turning pages on a Mankell thriller about a guy in South Africa during the bloody uprising era waiting for the machete to fall.

Time passes and I am deeper and deeper into this book. Then all of a sudden there's this humming thrumming sound and something flies into my face.

I assume it's a bug, but it's a fast little sucker. It smacks me in the face and flies away. Since the only light source in the room is currently on my forehead, I accept it. (I don't like it, of course and am better than half way grossed out by it, but I accept it.)

Since the hero of the book is landing in serious doo-doo, I go back to my book. A few minutes later it smacks me in the face again -- and I am starting to get better than half pissed now.

It must be some serious kind of bug, I think. And, being a great white hunter, I shrewdly evolve a clever plan: I shall hang my lit headlamp on the bedpost, wait for the insect to be drawn to the light again and I will squish it with my book (being very careful not to get any African bug guts on me because...well y'know.).

(Sometimes I surprise myself with my own cunning.)

So I sit there in the dark, novel poised, every sense alert and tuned to the whispering darkness. I was quivering with a hunter's anticipation.


I wait.

Pretty smart bug I think.

I get tired and begin to think it's a little silly for a grown man to be waiting in the darkness to outsmart and then ambush a bug.

That little sucker comes round again, with the usual soft whispering thrumming sound I can't identify...and I see it's not a bug at all. In the flash I see it's a BAT. A little tiny bat.

I abandon the "wait and squish strategy," turn out the light and go to sleep.
Being a Great White Hunter, I most definitely do NOT pull the covers over my head.


Bat: one.

Great African/Canadian hunter: zero.

I love Africa. I really really do. This is an amazing place.

We're here for another two...almost three days...before we leave for London.

Thought you guys might like to see The Headlamp...and it makes for an excellent excuse to tell the story.

Tomorrow, Sheree and I are going into a shark cage in Great White Shark infested waters. They promise up-close interactions with the most ferocious ocean predator on the planet. Seriously...we are. Her idea. Of course. Imagine that: going into a cage in the water...with sharks. On PURPOSE. Geez.

I think I'll take my novel with me in case I need to squish the shark.