Human beings are used to look at almost everything that is as potential food. It never crosses our minds that we can be someone else’s food, and discovering it can be really upsetting. Try a game reserve and you will see!
Last week we went to a wildlife sanctuary not far from where we live. As usual, we spent most of the time trying to recognize as many wildlife as we could. We had fruit and water with us, just in case some elephant decided to block our route. At noon we were starving. We went to a camp for lunch.
The day had been fresh (read agreeable) until noon, but after started to behave like a truly November day. We entered the lunch area already sweating like glasses of beer. I looked at the food and felt the nausea of someone urgently in need of liquids, not solids. In a distinctive area of the large room, a group of Japanese displaying extra smiles and kilos was very excited about something on the table. I approached, a bit curious and hopeful they could have discovered something special. Well, all the excitement was about ice cream. Even if ice cream was a good way of stopping sweating, how could someone feel like eating something causing all the excitement I witnessed? Not far from that magnet like dessert I noticed a couple of dark iron pots, completely ignored by the starving crowd. They contained the most delicious tomato soup served with croutons! It wasn’t too hot or cold, a perfect lunch for a more thirsty than starving visitant!
Paul had a full lunch and felt a bit sleepy right after. I suggested parking the car on the large pound not far from the camp. He had to be feeling like a truly hypo (heavy and hot), because he stopped the car almost touching the water. On the other side of the pound, a large group of hippopotamuses seemed knocked out by the heat. The only notes were a large grey stain of hippos, a few scattered birds and a jeep parked not far from our car.
Only five minutes of silence and Paul said:
“I can’t sleep like this. It’s too hot!”
At the same time he suddenly started the engine, thus breaking the quietness of the place. At that precise moment, a grey projectile elevated from the water.
“It’s a crocodile!” I guessed by the shape and size of the body.
“It’s impossible! If it’s a croc, he was less than two steps away from our car!” Paul said approaching again to check the place where we had been parked. (Yeap, the picture above shows the jumpy croc expecting to have Paul and Seabell for lunch!)
The croc kept his eyes looking suspiciously at us. Seconds ago he was hiding beneath the water, positively waiting for lunch a mistake. I looked at the other car parked and I saw an almost imperceptible movement. A second croc waiting for lunch! No doubt! And if they wait that way (1 car = 1 croc), it’s certainly because they (or another croc generation) had already careless drivers for lunch. And it seems they liked it! How treacherous crocs are!
Well, this is the end of my story. We left the jumpy croc terribly disappointed. The other one next to the other car was surely feeling a lot more hopeful. Paul commented in his usual protective manner:
“Didn’t I tell you that leaving the car is very dangerous!?”
He was referring to the several occasions I menaced stepping outside to get a better angle for a picture. It’s evident that I never had the intention of doing it, and from now on even less I’ll have. It has just been my way of complaining about taking pictures from the window, sometimes with the car in movement and even so hearing:
“Close the window! There’s a lion nearby…”
“Close it because baboons can be a nuisance…”
When I turned my back to the lagoon, I had a great definition for this kind of park in my mind: a place where we are only one car away from becoming lunch.