September 17

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We woke up way too early around 5:30 in the morning, thanks to Jim's alarm clock that doesn't seem to stick in the "off" position. Or maybe it was one of the countless grunts and howls and snorts that were going around camp all night? Either way I was feeling even crappier than yesterday, but still consumed a healthy breakfast before heading out on the morning trek, again with The Ladies. Our first stop was by a tree full of baboons. Dozens and dozens of baboons, everywhere, doing everything you can think of. Jane threw an anchor because they were so cute, which gave me the opportunity to get a much needed nap. After all, there are only so many ISO 800 pictures of baboons having sex, crapping, cleaning each other's fur, or all of the above simultaneously that you can take.

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From the baboon tree we headed to the southern part of the park where we hoped to see more elephants. There were a few elephants alright, but the main attraction for me were two owls high in a tree, and a fresh kill by a few young male lions. We hoped that the lions will come from their hideout in the bushes and devour the king buffalo, but they were apparently in no rush and didn't care for all the spectators. Jane's and my need for tire checking was far higher, and so we relocated to somewhere where antelopes rather than lions were our nearest neighbors.

The trip from the southern part of the park back to camp was long and bouncy, and we headed to another great lunch - but not before spending a generous time with two herds of elephants. If nothing else, the clouds have parted by now so at least photography was now possible. Kileo made it quite clear that (1) you don't want to be all too close to a herd of elephants and (2) that we were about an hour late for lunch already. As such I was able to secure the very last pieces of beef stew for lunch, which was as always exceptional. Digestion was performed on the porch of our tent, with the view of pretty much all the kinds of animals parading through the river right down in the valley. With this view I downloaded the pictures from the morning and fixed some bugs in my favorite application - work that went really easily, as an office with a view like this doesn't suck, let me tell you. Why would you want to even drive somewhere else when you can have all the animals right here in front of your tent?

Sick or not, I resisted the temptation of lazily enjoying the view from the porch and hopped into a Rover with Valerie and Pete. Pete kept amazingly quiet, but Val and I made up for it. It was great to be riding for once with someone who had pretty much the same idea of what was worth photographing, and how long one should stay at a given location. Our guide was James, and he patiently moved the car at times by inches forward or backward (remember, you can't get out of the car) and at other times would race to a location just in time before the good light passed. Sorry for all the sunset pictures, I could not choose.

Our third dinner in this camp was labeled Hungarian Goulash, but trust me that's not what it was, I know the real thing pretty well. Whatever it was, it was great and we all enjoyed the Tower Of Power for the very last time before our departure to Ngorongoro Crater tomorrow morning. Graham also created a new expression, or rather color name. You know, just as you can buy a car in Hibiscus Red or in Volcano Black, according to Graham you should be able to opt for Baboon Balls Turquoise. I guess he got also stuck by the baboon tree this morning...

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