Tuesday, March 09, 2010


3/9/10 1:00 pm

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of a positive spin to put on this blog entry. I didn't want to have it full of complaints. It seemed so spoiled and ungrateful of me to have anything negative to say--seeing as how I'm on this incredible trip to Africa. But as of one hour ago it seemed like I'd either have to lie to you or whine about the truth. I was having trouble stretching my imagination to find good things to report.

Not that there's been anything externally wrong--the other people in my group are warm and friendly. My roommate is terrific! She is clearly going to be super easy to live with and I like her a lot. The flights have all been smooth--no lost luggage--everything has been on schedule and gone according to plan. But I have felt like complete crap (sorry Mom and Kara, there's just no other word for it) since about 30 minutes after taking off from San Francisco.

It just stinks! My body is not cooperating with the stresses of travel--and that's putting it mildly. I've been getting over a cold and not long after the first flight left the ground the sinus cavity over my left eye felt like an egg that a giant hand was trying to crush into shards and goo. I couldn't do anything but close my eyes with my hand across my forehead and moan internally.

It hurt so much I couldn't eat and I barely slept the whole 11-hour flight. I took some sudafed, which eventually helped some, but as is typical for me, any head pain whatever the source, tends to morph into a migraine. And three days later, the migraine is still with me.

But I didn't want to tell you this! I wanted it all to be different. So many people have been so excited for me--it sucks that this is what I had to share.

I won't go into great detail about the rest of my trip to the Serengeti. To summarize: the flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro greatly tested my pain-coping skills. And I spent the 90-minute bush plane ride from Kilimanjaro to this tiny airstrip in the western Serengeti with my head leaning against the side of the plane, trying not to hurl.

Zebras and antelope scattered from our path as we touched down and the rest of the group was marveling at it all. I saw the animals out of the half-closed lid of the one eye I allowed myself to open and tried not to cry. I didn't want to feel so miserable here. I didn't want to have to tell you all of this.

So why am I telling you now? Why didn't I gloss over it or make up a fictitious account so I wouldn't sound so gloomy and pathetic? Is it because I'm all better now and can look back on it and laugh? Well, no. Unfortunately the migraine is lingering. (Although I really think it's on it's way out now, and thank god--no more flights for 10 days!)

I'm telling you about what really happened because it all has a happy ending. What I've been seeing and experiencing in the past 90 minutes has totally obliterated everything that came before. Bye bye negativity!

It's green and warm and breezy. Scott, it reminds me of Santa Rosa in the wet season. Peace. Pura Vida.

And the animals! Just on the 20-minute drive from the air strip to Kira Wira Tent Lodge, where we are staying we've seen:

cape buffalo
wart hogs
a fish eagle

That was just during the commute! We weren't even trying! It's a cliche for sure, but it is absolutely magical here. Thank you all who have made it possible!

3:00 pm

Right now I'm sitting on my tent's private veranda with the Serengeti spread out before me in a carpet of various shades of green. All is quiet except for the birds and insects. The sky arches blue overhead; the clouds drift by hugely serene and puffy white.

I miss you all and I wish the trip down here hadn't hurt so much but I don't think I'm going to need to complain anymore. Despite everything that's happened, my expectations of what this trip would be like are exceeded. Greatly exceeded. Blown to bits, really. Thanks to the Serengeti. Talk about positivity!

I'm so glad to be here.

More soon.

1 comment:

craig said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your head challenges, but glad to hear you're better. You can complain to us, cause we want to hear it; you have to tell someone, right? When your headaches are more than a few days old, narcotics are the only thing that really works, so if you don't have some, ask the guide to help, vicodin, something like that. You could try Midrin earlier on in the headache, no narcotic in it, but not as strong. early on midrin or cafergot can stop a migraine, kind of like super caffeine. Tansania wants tourists to have a good stay, so I'm sure they have provisions for illnesses. Enough head talk, have wonder and epiphany, and a better trip back.