Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The story of the rhino

I barely escaped a charging rhino.

Wait, before you start to think that wild animals are running rampant in my backyard (the picture that usually jumps to mind when Americans hear “Africa”), have no fear it was at a game reserve. We took our school to the Fairy Glen game reserve for graduation because they blessed us with this incredible deal for brunch and a ride through the reserve. So we packed into 3 big safari jeeps and headed out into the park where we saw lots of animals and were enjoying out time except for the fact that our driver, who was incredibly handsome, was out to impress the ladies in the car with his macho-ness I guess. This testosterone-driven ranger was thoroughly enjoying our reactions as he flirted with danger, always daring to go closer to the animals than all the other vehicles. All was well until he decided to drive up right next to two angry rhinos. The male started marking his territory and pawing the ground and before we knew it was charging straight at us all sitting in this totally open vehicle. Now rhinos are pretty big animals (the second largest land-dwelling mammals in fact) and when their horn is coming right at you, let me tell you it is immense. So as the driver is trying to get the vehicle in gear to get out of there, I am screaming and two thoughts are going through my head.

“Oh great. The one time the base leader happens to come to our graduation, here he is about to get hit by a rhino.”

And, “How on earth are they gonna explain this to my mom?” I could just imagine the conversation,

“Um, ma’am, your daughter is in the hospital.”
“What?! What happened to her?!”
“Well, she was hit by charging rhino.”

Well, just as I was beginning to picture the headlines in “The Daily Progress,” “Virginia girl killed by charging rhino,” the driver zoomed off, just in the nick of time.

But that wasn’t the end of adventures for the day. We had an amazing graduation brunch after all and then it was back home to change quickly and then off to Cape Town with the 12 graduating students to celebrate. We went to the casino. (Before you judge me or fear that I’m gambling away my support, please note that the casino has the only bowling alley and ice skating rink in town). So we went bowling (I bowled a 122 -hooray!) and ice skating which was fun until one of the girls fell at the end of the night and twisted her ankle.

Over an hour later after it was properly examined and bandaged up by the first-aid guys we are finally wheeling her out to the car in wheel chair and are all set to go when the kombi won’t start. Dead battery. No problem, we’ll push start it. This is normal. After the guys circle the parking lot a few times trying unsuccessfully to push start it we decide we’ll have to jump start it. Problem is nobody knows where the battery is. (Side note: This sounds silly I know, but kombi’s are not like American vans where the engine and all it’s components are located neatly and logically under the hood.) At this point I am starting to think this is some kind of judgment from God for hanging out at the casino for the third time in two weeks, when finally we flag down a nice man who shows us where the battery is (under the floor behind the driver’s seat) and we set out to jump it. Problem is we don’t have any cables. So the guys do a “heart transplant” and switch batteries with another car, start it, and switch them back (I had no idea you could do that!)… and by midnight we are finally on the road headed home. What a day!

G.K. Chesterton said, “Inconveniences are only adventures wrongly considered. Adventures are inconveniences rightly considered.” My life is full of adventures ☺

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