Monthly Archives: February 2015

Tumamoc & Tucson w/ balloon

Tumamoc & Tucson w/ balloon

Colorful, floating, flying, festive and fun. I love balloons. The little ones you blow up evoke happy images of celebrations and the hot air ones that lift you high to soar over landscapes can pull you physically into a higher realm. Today I saw a hot air balloon making its way across the Tucson valley, framed by our iconic saguaros. It reminded me of the thrill of seeing the land from on high.

Recently both of us had a chance to climb into the big baskets and fly over Serengeti. Jeannette got a ride over the kopjes and plains where animals collect around the Seronera river. David got to float over the southern plains covered with vast herds. It was a rare treat to view one of our favorite landscapes aloft. The bubbly champagne breakfast can lift your spirits even higher!

Aerial view of balloon over wildebeest, Serengeti Plain

Balloon over wildebeest, Serengeti Plain

Aerial view of wildebeest and balloon shadow on Serengeti Plain

Wildebeest and balloon shadow, Serengeti Plain

Aerial view of wildebeest herd

Wildebeest herd on Serengeti Plain as seen from balloon

So gappy to meet you!

So gappy to meet you!

Crack! As I bite down on some tough meat, I feel an expensive crunch and something hard rattles against my teeth. Damn, there goes that front crown! It’s the eve of a new safari and I must go to the airport to meet a new group. I only get this one chance to make a good first impression. “Hi, I’m Zavid your zure-leazer. Welcome to Zanzania!” – Wanna come with this gap-toothed lisping troll into darkest Africa? No, I need a quick fix. The crown is intact and hollow. It fits over a peg anchored in the tooth’s root. I just need some dental cement, but I won’t find it in Arusha on a Sunday night, and tomorrow I have to brief the group after breakfast, then we hit the road to adventure. So, what have I got that’s sticky and indestructible and kind to the mouth? Chewing gum! Well, it won’t set hard, but its stickiness is legendary, and I have plenty. I start chewing and pack the crown with gum and push it into place. It sits well and feels good. This can work – as long as I don’t bite hard on it.

And it does work. For almost a week, I confidently grin and eat, and begin to take my flexible tooth for granted. Mistake. Nibbling some meat off a bone, I feel the loose crown roll to the back of my throat, then it’s GONE. I could bolt out of the dining-tent into the Serengeti night and throw up – but why waste such a good dinner? There’s another alternative, but it’s not pleasant. It involves some waiting,  a can of water, a stick, a flat rock, and a hole in the ground.

Gynanisa moth on my hand

The emperor moth at my lamp (Gynanisa sp.)

24 hours later, preparing to “go through the motions” for the third time, I step out of my tent into the moonlight. By my outside lamp, a giant emperor moth flutters. So does my heart, as I sense a large presence.

Buffalo. He stands on my path, ruminating. Two more chomp at grass ten yards from the tent. To hell with buffalos – I have a mission. I stay close to the tent, and they don’t care. This time, I hit pay-dirt, a little white tooth amid the brown. I boil and disinfect it, then chew up some gum and presto! I have my smile again. Maybe next week, I’ll get some dental cement.

Buffalo at night on path to my tent

Buffalo on path to my tent








The phrase “sh*t-eating grin” has a totally new meaning for me now.