As we rented bikes to cruise around Hells Gate National Park we asked what animals we would see. We were told ostriches, giraffes, warthogs, and buffalo. 'Wait, what was the last one!? Aren't Buffalo dangerous?' Yes they are, we were (not!) assured, but usually when they're in a herd they don't bother people. It's actually single bulls that you need be afraid of. If alone, it means they've lost a fight to dominate their herd and are likely angry, irritable, and anxious to prove that they can gore a living being to death.
|Me, biking past a herd of one of|
Africa's most dangerous mammals
Ernest Hemmingway, the author who popularized the idea of the African wildlife safari, once said, "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." So before we knew it we'd taken an 85% pay cut, rented the house and were on a long journey to Iringa. I'd like to say it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it really didn't. The world economy was in the midst of crumbling into the deepest financial crisis since the great depression. In our mid-30s, we both had given up stable and decent professional jobs each doing something we believed in a city we both love surrounded by friends and family.
That's not unlike the risk of riding a bike through a buffalo infested landscape because we'd heard it was nice place. In that case the reward was a gorgeous day, stunning landscapes, and even a heated waterfall cascading down a cliff from a hot spring. On our ride home sunburnt but smiling our legs were tired and after such a lovely day I was thinking more about dinner than the landscape.
In Africa in general, we're plunging ahead to see what life has to offer. There, however, we turned around and pedalled back so fast that Lance Armstrong himself couldn't have kept up.
PS) Speaking of risk, as I write this there are reports that a lion escaped from the national park and is loose somewhere in my neighborhood. No wonder why I love it here.