Xanax Safari (Part Three)

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I woke up to even more elephants. Z and his brother went out in the little boat to fish, and I did my best to not think about the log-like crocodiles or how invisible the hippos are until two seconds before they surface. Or how huge their mouths are. Though I hadn’t seen them load the boat, I pretended they were packing the big machete, just in case.

Aside from death around every bend, the lake is huge and lovely. I generally loathe man-made lakes because they give me the heebie-jeebies. They don’t look real, and I’m plagued with thoughts of the farms and houses (and I always imagine people too) at the bottom. At Kariba, though, the only thing that reminds me that it’s man made are the tops of these sticky looking trees that come out of the water in places in haunting kinds of ways. It’s so vast that it doesn’t look like the smaller reservoirs I’ve grown accustomed to seeing scattered across America.

Eventually, we left our little spot and headed towards Palm Bay, where again, we saw a whole other host of elephants, and Z’s family said again that this was unheard of, to see so many at once. Z-ma’s prayer group really outdid themselves. We docked by the shore and there was a teeny little bay with a lone hippo bobbing up and down, that we could watch from our bunk. Z sat near the foot of the bed and fished, while I read.

What I like about fishing is that Z can do it, I can sit beside him, and there is no expectation that I pay any attention. If he were a tennis player or racecar driver, I’d be screwed. (I used to feel so sorry for Ashley Judd, sitting under that hot sun in those big hats, watching Dario drive his loud racecar in circles.)

The heat situation was better in that our side of the boat was parked in shade and in that I actually listened to Z when he suggested I take a cold shower before dressing myself in my mozzie-wear. It was so refreshing I never once thought about how I was washing myself with lake water. We watched the hippo bob some more. He popped up with some regularity and looked only mildly annoyed that we were blocking his view of the larger lake. After another delicious Aleck-cooked meal, we played games and sang the praises of the breeze that kept us mosquito free. This really was the perfect night. Even with the hippo twenty feet away from us, I needed no pharmaceutical help to calm me. Nature seemed like the perfect antidote to all the worries and car horns that keep me wide awake at night in Seattle.

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