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Hippos and Crocs

sunny 79 °F

I really enjoy our days off of project because it gives us time to explore the city and get to know each other better. I enjoy project days as well, but we are always so tired after working all day that we usually just eat dinner, turn on a movie, and call it a day.

Today we took our time waking up. As people started getting up, we all started swapping stories about our nights from the previous day. It’s always interesting to hear about people’s nights when they go out. After a while, I went for a run. Unfortunately, my stomach felt super sour and so I had to make a couple of emergency bathroom breaks. My stomach has not been cooperating since I’ve been here. I don’t know if I have traveler’s diarrhea or if it’s just because I’ve been eating different foods. Even though my stomach felt pretty sour still, my friends were going to the beach and I can never pass up an opportunity to go to the beach. It’s always worth it. We just relaxed on the beach while listening to music. Although…it was so windy that I left with sand in every crevice of my body and when I moved my jaw, I could feel sand crunching between my teeth. Like I said, though, worth it!

We barely made it back in time for the bus to the hippo and croc tour. That was so cool! We saw a Nile Crocodile and tons of hippos. Some of the crazy things I learned about hippos were that they can run up to about 45-50 miles/hour, are vegetarians (except when they are trampling a human), are the second most deadly animal in South Africa (right after the mosquito), live up to about 50 years of age (males live longer than females), can’t swim (they walk on the bottom of the lake and jump to the surface to breathe), and there’s only one dominant male and he breeds with all of the female hippos. That was a lot but it’s so interesting!!!

I’m back at the Lodge now. My running buddy here decided to surprise me and make me a dinner of rice, eggs, peppers, and mushrooms, so I had that, which was really yummy. We are about to go stretch and do abs. Then I’m hoping we can watch a movie tonight. Love movie night – especially since one of my fellow volunteers taught me how to make the perfect stove-top popcorn!

Posted by kfkeane 09:43 Archived in South Africa Tagged beach lake rice interesting breakfast dinner weather morning crocodile warm coffee hippo abs running eggs stomach Comments (2)

Wait, I'm here!

79 °F
View Ann Arbor, MI -> Toronto, Canada on kfkeane's travel map.

I'm here!!! My favorite part of the trip thus far has been the drive from the airport to St. Lucia. The driver played some really cool African music and the scenery was gorgeous. Also, I FINALLY SLEPT!!!!! After staying at the airport for 8 hours, almost falling asleep while playing cards, then falling asleep while sitting up after playing cards, I got 2 hours of straight sleep in the car.

St. Lucia, at least the downtown where our volunteer house is, is actually really small. It makes my hometown seem big and booming, which is pretty hard to do. We got here around 5 then had an hour to unpack and shower before dinner. Even though the shower had no hot water, only one, pin-sized stream of water with the power of a firehose, and kept shutting off then turning back on, it felt amazing to be clean for the first time since Sunday morning (it's Tuesday evening for reference). We then went to dinner, where I had my first home-cooked meal since being home at the beginning of May! So I'm basically in heaven. The food was even specially made to fit my dietary restrictions. It as a chicken and veggie stew and tasted sooooo good. I missed meat so much. I regret not taking a picture to post. I wanted to thank the chef it was so good.

After dinner, we walked around town, which is one road that is about a 1/2 mile long. There were a couple bars, sushi places, and shops for tourists to buy souvenirs. Another group saw a hippo, which I unfortunately missed, but I did see a monkey digging through the trash. It was so cute, but our host said they are evil :D I don't believe it hehe. We then just sat around and chatted/snacked. We also learned our host makes stuffed elephants and hippos, so we all ordered one from her! Now I'm off to bed, though. I will get up at 5:30 tomorrow to run. Unfortunately it's winter here, so my window to run is very short because I have to do it when it's light out in order to be safe from hippos and leopards. This window is getting smaller and smaller when I'm here. Currently it's from about 6:30 AM to 5PM but we work from 8-4:30...so not much time. It'll all work out though. It always does. I have a good feeling about this trip. Tomorrow we have orientation to learn about the projects we will be working on, so stay tuned.

Posted by kfkeane 11:58 Archived in South Africa Tagged food local travel monkey sleep run explore hippo south_africa exercise arrived Comments (3)

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