Thursday, June 25, 2009

cover your eyes...

This post is going to be just a little bit different. You'll see what I mean soon. I do think it might be necessary to give a warning to anyone that might be offended by language not normally seen here. Go away now. Or, cover your eyes and scroll quickly to the photos. Okay then. :)

I'd also like to warn my African friends that you are surely going to think this the most ridiculous post you've ever seen on Africa. But I did want to share most of my impressions of our trip, and since what I'm about to write about next might have left the biggest impression of all, I couldn't leave it out.

So...without further ado, here is the thing (unedited, taking from my journal here) I want to share with you...

" we are at Musango Safari Camp, our flight took about an hour and a half, the countryside was so green and lush. It was like a tropical island where we landed. A tiny dirt strip and one small grass hut was the airport. Steve was there to meet us, introductions were made all around, we all had a cold drink, bags were tucked in the landy and we were off.
Oh my gosh! it is green and beautiful here. The trees and grass and even the dirt are all so different from where we came from (Hwange). I'm so happy. AND THEN i see a GIANT spider. Ok. Well, we are in Africa, they are bigger here. I saw one or two of these in Madikwe a couple years ago. No Problem. Chuck thinks he's funny and he tickles my neck. I don't think that's funny. So then 3-4 minutes goes by and we're bouncing along when I happen to look over at Karrie (a girl in our party) who is sitting right beside me. And there on her neck is one of those spiders.


I am not proud of what happened next, but there it is. I jumped up, screamed OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK and started to laugh and cry all at once. No one knew what my problem was as I was hardly coherent. I was trying to climb to the front seat while shouting fucking spider fucking spider! I managed to let poor Karrie know what was on her neck ( i felt horrible) and then she shrieked and knocked the thing into the basket on the seat behind her. Everyone on the truck knew what was going on by now, Steve had stopped and gotten out. Chuck grabbed it and threw it out. Jesus. I was crying by now and i said I want to go home. And I meant it. I was too afraid to sit in my seat anymore so i climbed over and wedged myself between Chuck & Lindy (my sister). That was a good thing because as we started back driving we saw every 3 feet, another FUCKING SPIDER. Thousands and thousands of them.

They are so huge they catch birds in their fucking huge nets, um, webs. I thought I would have a heart attack. We drove on and passed more and more. I am sure everyone was freaked. Steve said they had a late rain and this is what resulted.

GREAT. GREAT. GREAT. So, i am here, not going home, so i'll pray. Please stay away from me. :( :( :( ."

So that was my most terrifying moment ever. EVER. I felt bad because I made Steve feel bad and my Husband too, at camp we had a lovely orientation and I had an even lovelier whisky on the rocks as I was still reeling from landing on Spider Island. Oh dear. Later that day we went on a boat ride, it was very relaxing, we saw alot, had a great sundowner on the lake (everyone had a good laugh at my shenanigans, Steve saying we'd hardly met and I was already trying to jump in his lap! ha!) and the best part, we did not get near any spiders. YES. And just so you know these spiders are called Golden Orb or just Orb, I'm not sure and I don't want to know. They are HUGE. And no, there will not be any photos. ever. ** shudder**

But I do have some photos of the other little things we came across on our adventure...we didn't have to look hard to find these , they weren't spotted on a game drive, they were all found right close by...right in our tents...

...oh, hello mr.raucous toad under my bed...

...giant beetles are our friends...

...our tent on the Zambezi River, with hippo trails up to the door...

...come inside there's someone else I'd like to introduce... perfectly nice green bush snake, lolling on the clothes closet ...

...our lovely bed, nice hey? My husband lay down and stretched out, only to jump up after the surprise of laying on this guys tail (see below)which was sticking out from under the pillow!...

...see this large gecko here? he was the one under Chuck's pillow :) you may not be able to tell but he is not a small gecko. He is about 8 or 9 inches long. And fat.... is a closer look, he is a beauty right? He stayed there for 4 nights. Behind our bed. We counted 5 in our tent. They are harmless and we are in Africa, their home, anyway, the manager mentioned that if you take them out, they just come right back in. It's a nice tent. I could see why...

...oh look! my sister has someone to introduce too...

Ok, you can uncover your eyes now ;)

Love, lori


  1. Wow! I can't stand spiders and as I was reading that I was afraid there might be photos of them! Thank goodness there was not. But the snakes... Ah, I think I will stay home!

  2. This was something out of an Indiana Jones movie! the jeep ride from hell. Fuck!

    You're pretty cool with snakes, I see. It's the aracnophobia that gets you. I've never seen a BIG sp*der, so I'm not really able to say. But in Italy they are bringers of good luck. Never kill a spider...

    I had a similar-sized gecko in my room in the bush cabin where I lived in SA. Thuck, we called him. Nice fellow, took care of the mosquitos.

    That tent bathroom with the corner shower is gorgeous, and the second tent - pure luxe.

    Hope you're feeling better,
    Lola xx

  3. Well, that is the reason I am henceforth NOT going.Ooooh shudder indeed.

    Loved the journal entry ~ pure poetry, methinks.xx♥ :D

  4. with a GIANT smile on my face, I've posted some pictures for you on my blog

  5. i am laughing because i totally relate. golden orb spiders are awesome in the bush with their glossy black and yellow legs, and sticky web/nets made of the strongest natural fibre known to man - but they must stay out of my hair/face/neck/any living part of me, and not wrap their sticky sticky yellow web fibres about me. I am NOT a fly!! or a bird...
    but they can make me fly out of my seat.....

  6. Sweet Mother of God! And that's not blasphemy - that's genuine prayer! I'm petrified of spiders, completely phobic. I applaud your restraint, Lori; if it had been me I would most likely have jumped straight out of the moving Landy. This was before you saw the thousands in the outside world, right... urgh, feeling sick :-(

    Beautiful photos though - thank you! And hope you're feeling better after the lurgy.

    (goes off to make restorative cup of tea still shuddering in sympathetic horror)

  7. BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh. My. God. Lori! That made me laugh very, very hard - in the most highly hysterical and manic manner you could ever imagine! (It's what ALL the girls in our family do when we're scared $%*&less!) Those Golden Orbs are beyond terrifying...I bet even a hardened bush-whacker cowgirl like Janelle would utter a small shriek if one landed on her!

    I remember going on a night drive in Semliki in Uganda in an open Landy and a HUGE spider landed slap bang on my son-in-law's cheek and clung there tenaciously. He leapt out of the front passenger seat onto the bonnet (hood) of the Landy in an attempt to rid himself of the huge beast. Georgie and I laughed ourselves breathless...and continued to do so for the rest of the night - while we slapped and itched and squiggled at imaginary spider-monsters. In fact, the ranger had to stop for us to have a pee...which made us laugh even more hysterically because we'd just seen that weird green glow of a leopard's eyes in the headlights....... Glowing white bums in the moonlight would,I imagine be quite a tempting morsel to a hungry leopard.

    So you see, I can empathize totally! And I think you are very brave to put up with a snake as your tent-mate. Geko's are lovely, but a not in or on my cupboard or anywhere about my person for that matter!

  8. Sometimes the word Fuck can be very liberating :-)

    That was soooo good!! Well worth waiting for.
    I think Africa and Australia have a lot in common.

    Awesome photos too.
    Thanks again Lori for all that you share.
    much appreciated...
    Ribbon x

  9. hilarious! great post lori darlin'! yes i know the golden orb well. they have amazingly strong webs. they really can catch small birds..and well, they are quite beautifully coloured too...i have a thing about FROGS...and react in a similar way to your spider sure it stems from my mother reading my a well illustrated version of thumbalina when i was too little...lots love and THANKS for this very funny post! lots love xxx j

  10. Snakes?? No way!! I could (maybe) handle the bugs -- but not the snakes.

  11. It funny how a post titled "cover your eyes" makes you want to look and see what the fuss is all about ;)

    I cant handle a housefly, so looks like I wont be going to Africa any time soon!

  12. Jesus, Lori, and such words from YOU! Hahaha, great fun reading about it all, and me too I am very glad I wasn`t there with you on that island. Since every other African of your readers seems to know these Orbs (sound like Orcs, don`t they!?)they cannot be that seldom. I`m just taking a deep breath - and also those snakes...Girl, you really HAD your share of adventures!

  13. What a shock! I have had my own insect 'thrills' here in Puerto Rico. Lori, you certainly had your's hard to relax when you know a bug may bite. I imagine you did a lot of deep breathing! And if I were you...the next time you travel to Africa, Keep your eyes wide open. Love to seem like you're feeling better...I hope so <3

  14. Linda,

    Oh no! i'm sorry, this is only one part of the magic that is africa. I've been before and didn't see any of these things!

    Hahaha! it actually did feel something of an adventure in a staged way, there really were that many s*iders! OMG. NOTHING scares me like those things. (shuddering again)
    thanks Natsy,

    don't you have those awful big ones in Australia too?? cmon now, if i can do it so can you. I am the s*ider chicken of the world. hahahaha!

    i'm not coming. i'm not coming.
    take those pics down.
    oh, alright,i'll be over, but i won't stay long.

    Steve tried to convince me to have a look at the nets, all sparkly gold in the sunlight, but i just couldn't. I did accidently see a poor dead bird hanging upside down caught in one of those webs, all its insides gone from the s*ider! dear lord...

    aah sorry sweetie, you said it much better than me, terrified. BUT, you would not have jumped from the car since right out side were literally hundreds of nets, they were everywhere! There was no where to go!!!! Read my previous post if you haven't already, those lovely ellies will take your mind right off this. And whisky helps.

    now i am laughing at the thought of your white bums, i've been there too, thats the only time i wish to be a man, they come with the right camping equipment!!

    oh, i did not want the snake, but i knew getting him out was near impossible, so i had to make him a friend. we were assured they are harmless. so are the s*iders, but STILL!!

    Yep. There is really no other word in the english language that conveys so many!!! I know i shocked everyone, myself included. It's funny now.Wasn't then.

    sorry about your frog fears. Who knows where my phobia came from, my parents say i was alway crazy scared of s*iders. i don't even like to write the word. We want to go back to Musango but i will make sure its been dry for months. AT LEAST!

    luckily snakes are not that common. Or maybe they are and it's just that my husband always wants to see them (so we don't).Oh, that's not helping is it?? But please do go if you get the is awesome.

    haha! isn't that the way it is? when someone says don't look, we look. You would love africa, even with all its little residents, they are mostly harmless!
    Hahahahaha Geli,
    well, at least we could laugh about it. It's funny, where i live everyone says aren't you afraid of lions and hippos and all those big game? no, those are not at all scary. It's just the little things. Only the 8 legged ones. *shudder* good grief!!

  15. Hi Cynthia,

    oops,we must have been writing at the same time!
    For sure all your senses are working overtime in Africa, when there are so many new things to encounter. But at some point you just have to relax and let go (and yes, breathe).
    You probably have those big s*iders on your island too heh?
    hoping to feel better soon, thanks..

  16. I felt stuff crawling on my back as I was reading this. I grew up in India and we had our share of house lizards - but never could get used to them. And snake? He is cute, but I am not sure if I would be able to sleep in the same room with him. What great adventure you had Lori and what a great writeup. I love your handwriting. You should just write all the posts by hand and scan them in :)

  17. har har har har

    Laughing my head off.

    This proves that I am not the only person in the world who says fuck at the right times.

    So scary, I would have freaked out. But so beautiful too.

    Great post Lori, I loved it.


  18. Hi Lori !! This is so a fantastic post !! I really enjoyed the post..Wonderful photos..Great blog..Unseen Rajasthan

  19. Lori, those would have been my words exactly!

    What an incredible tent, and friends to share it with, although the snake would have to go. Thanks so much for sharing. We are loving our safari via your adventure!

  20. Fantastic, hilarious, informative and lovely post! Thanks!

  21. I forgot to say thank you for your compliments!

    After seeing the movie arachnophobia as a teen one afternoon, I went to shower and had a fit, was afraid to turn on the water in case they crawled out, then started repeating "shoot" in case I offended the spiders by swearing.

  22. I would have lost it!! I wouldn't have been too happy with the snake as well but I could handle that better then the spiders! I think I love the scenery in Africa, I can do without the BUGS!

  23. The F Bomb is the most satisfying word to say. The way it sounds, the way it feels saying it, and the fact that we ladies are not suppose to say it. One of my favorite words. I have said it way too many times. Esspecially this year. It is one of my new year resloutions, cleaning up my language, particularly trying to not say that so much. ANYWAY~ Oh My, so glad you had this amazing adventure, but also glad it was not me. I love animals and bugs. I even save spiders (mind you Indiana spiders are not exactly African Spiders!). I had a pet Boa Constrictor named Cashmere, as well as a few geckos (not quite like your "big" Buddy).
    I look forward to catching up on your Blog.
    Love to You Ms. Lori!

  24. hi Lori !!!! this is the first time i visit your blog . what great surprise !!!!! i loved the posts . and what you wrote on your profile makes it gets even more charming .

  25. Wow pretty spot to stay.

    I'm not afraid of spiders but Golden Orbs are HUUUUGE.

  26. Ah hahaha!

    That is hilarious, are those spiders like really poisonous or something? You have all these other weird creatures too, how come you aren't scared of them. I think I would have freaked out the most at the snake.

  27. ROFLMAO!!!! I can just picture you frantically screaming those words trying to avoid one of those! That is one of the many "insects" that I do not have a cohabitational policy with. You probably saw a female version which can get to be quite large. They tend to eat the males during or after uh! you know...You would need an oversized tennis racket to defend against that. And just so Natalie knows, they also exist in parts of Australia. Creepy! I would definitely have trouble sleeping there.

    As usual, all of your photos are marvelous and breathtaking! And from what you have shown, I am quite content to just follow along with you as you present your photo journal to us. Thanks for being the brave one amongst us Lori.

  28. I was, like the others, laughing at the picture you painted with "eff" going at full blast. Then I saw the photo of the snake and I didn't laugh any more. No longer funny.

    My dear, how could you ever sleep at night knowing such things were lurking about?

    I think the worst I ever experienced was a millipede getting under my T-shirt as I slept. My eyes opened at the first "tickle". Then when the tickles became a "crawl", I jumped up screaming -- raw, primal screams, no time for eff words -- threw off the sheets, tore off my shirt. Jumping on the bed, still screaming, smacking the pillow, still screaming.

    It was a very exhausting night. I put duct tape over the air return by my headboard, but still slept in the guest room for a week.

    Thanks for the adventure.

  29. And that is one of the reasons I will probably never go to Africa. I could handle the toad under the bed, snake on the clothes and hippos spying on me while I was sleeping, but not the bugs. No way -- ever.

    Hope you are feeling better. Couldn't wait to get back to your site and see a new post.

  30. There's something for you at my blog

  31. Oh Lori, I do not doubt for a second ... I would have used the exact same vocabulary and done the exact same things in your situation! I'm sorry but I laughed so hard...
    HOWEVER, I do not mind snakes and other frog-like creatures so I love all of those pictures but my favorites today are the pics of your journal! lol
    Hope you are feeling better and thank you for another extraordinary glimpse at your travels!

  32. Bhavana,

    i wish i could figure out our scanner! thank you for the compliment though, so nice. And trust me, i did not want to sleep with these things.
    Thanks Renee,

    i knew i could count on you ;)
    Thank you and welcome Unseen. What a nice thing to say.
    Ah Nancy! finally i can stop calling you Lover! haha! well, you can try to catch them, but good luck! at least they are harmless...
    oh you are welcome, and thank you for saying so, i'm glad you enjoyed.
    your welcome! then you are much more polite than I because I could not control what came out of my mouth that day!
    welcome! Oh it's not that bad, a few bugs and creepy crawlies here and there...!!! If i can do it anyone can. :)

    You are better than me, when it comes to spiders, i only care about me!! horrid things.
    hi Caio,

    thanks! that's a really nice thing to say, i'm glad you enjoyed.

    the places we stayed were epic. really. now if only the critters didn't think so too...
    Hey Sammi,

    thanks for coming over! No those spiders are not poisonous, but thats not the point honey, they are fucking HUGE. HUGE. And there were millions of them.ok, subject change.
    Snakes are cool, i mean i don't want them in my bed or in my clothes, but they don't bother me,nothing does really except for S*****s. ugh.

    you know a little too much about s*****s ;)
    thank you though for the compliment re photos, that's really nice.

    that was a really cool story. I had the same thing happen once with a scorpion in Mexico. So you don't like snakes? I won't show you any more, or tell you about the one i almost stepped on...☺

    but the bugs are mostly harmless, really! africa is awesome and worth the heartattack of a few creepy crawlies.

    (suspiously eyeing you) better not be another photo missy. hahahahaha laughing nervously, that really wasn'tfunny.

  33. Oh hi Tulsa,

    i just missed you, we were writing at the same time. Oh i am so glad to have such understanding friends. And if you knew how deeply disturbing those s*****s are to me, well, you know!
    i like all the other things as well, they add alot of excitement don't you think?

  34. Haha! I'm still chuckling about your post!!! I am going to make my brother in law read it, but only after they have left here otherwise it will only feed his critter-o-phobia!! x

  35. I shouldn't laugh hysterically, I know I shouldn't...
    I view anything with no legs or more than four legs with a good degree of skepticism so I completely understand the need to say "fuck", a lot. Sometimes nothing else will do.

    And er, were you sure about that snake being "nice"?

    As for the spiders, yes, well, it is Africa, what else can I say. As a child growing up we always got tarantulas in the house in winter - I mean why not, warm inside, cold outside, what self respecting spider wouldn't do it. I can't say I enjoyed it much when one night I pulled my shutters closed and there was a thing the size of a side plate grinning at me. (They do grin, you know that, don't you...)
    PS I am now going to find a picture of a Golden Orb so I can frighten myself before going to bed.

  36. Haha Karen,

    I think that is the decent thing to do. I would rather be surprised than worry about something lurking around every corner!! eeps!

    of course you are right, they grin, they are quite sinister, i think they know exactly what their doing when they scare the life out of us!! and saying fuck at that point is completely involutary you understand. ;). Oh, go to Janets blog Underthebloodredsun if you'd like a good scare...

  37. Oh I do love it when people aren't as angelic as they look!

    Nice handwriting Lori! ;-)) xx

  38. You crack me up! I have another favorite fricative but I would have been swearing up a storm too. I'm glad to know you survived. Excellent tail er tale.

  39. Sweet Lori I so hope that you are feeling better.

    Are you back to normal yet?

    If I had those spiders in my backyard I would have to move. So creepy.

    Love Renee xoxo

  40. Hahaha! Why thank you Joanne, that is a lovely compliment :)

    completely involuntary you understand, heeheee, and thank you :)
    Dear Renee,

    i am glad for you that you don't have those s*****s. And not better, just yet, but i'm working on it...

    thank you for caring about me.
    sending love to you,

  41. i love this post!!! more so because it was so unexpected but oh so GENUINE! i don't know how you did it sister. you are one brave soul. :) i'd like to think i'm tough but i'm certainly not. looking at those pics gave me the heebie jeebies. haha!

    ps - hope you're feeling better.

  42. hahahaha! dear Lori this made me laugh. Sorry for your trauma! I love those golden orbs and their amazing sticky webs, but definitely at a distance, and looking only, not touching, and not en masse like that! I soemtimes used to walk into their sticky webs at night, they'd spin them right across the path. Oh poor you. Wow but that is a big gecko!!

  43. Bodaat,

    thanks! you are right about the genuine part, to tell it any other way would have been a lie. I am terrrified of those things. But I would go back, just in the DRY season.
    Hi Tam!

    Well, i'm afraid if a web actually touched me i might die. I wish i didn't have this crazy fear, but i have all my life and probably too old to change now! Did i imagine the gecko a little bigger than he was?? seemed huge!

  44. I could not go to Africa or Australia or even parts of America, I just cannot handle spiders, snakes geckos I'm a real wuss so i think your very brave dealing with them all.

  45. Dear Ushi,

    Where do you live? Maybe that would be a good place for a trip...i am really not brave at all though, everything except s**ders is interesting to me (even if they are a bit scary :)

  46. Dear LA,

    I was not polite then, I swore like a teenage sailor - it was the spiders I was scared of :) Hope you can come by chez moi, I have a travel themed post too, no creepy crawlies!

  47. Oy. Oy. Oy. I went over to wikipedia to find out more about those spiders and see some pics. You are a braver woman than I.


xoxo lori