The reason I had to come out here.
Well-deserved Friday break.
Those with a keen eye or snoop around in the exif data will note that I made all of these photos with my Canon 10-22 wide angle lens. It’s becoming my favorite general purpose “travel with just one lens” lens in spite of several clear weaknesses. For most tourists who simply want to show they were there, this lens will capture more of “there” than any other, especially the grand buildings that are so prevalent in Europe. And, after a bit of practice, you can start taking advantage of the lens’s distortion to make interesting images of day-to-day life (since the small moments are what actually make travel interesting), but usually end up rather boring.
On the down side, the lens is slow and you’ll occasionally get frustrated with the “all wide, all the time” perspective, but on the whole, it works well for me as my walking around tourist lens, especially when you want to travel light.
Check out the full set here:
Oh, and for several reasons, I didn’t take many^Wany photos of UDS itself:
I’ve been remiss in blogging lately.
We sailed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and it was lovely. A week on a 43.3′ single-hulled yacht. And we didn’t kill each other.
Happy 30th birthdays, Brett and Lindsay!
Over the Columbus day weekend, I went on my first overnight rafting trip, down the Westwater Canyon.
As sports go, rafting is a pretty plush one. Sure, you get a little wet, but otherwise, you’re bringing along camp chairs, pounds and pounds of pre-cooked carnitas, firewood, and pretty much every creature comfort you could ever think of.
Speaking of swimming, at one point, we flipped our raft over. First thing in the morning, right after breaking camp at the Little D.
The water was a little cold, but all’s well that ends well. The rescue went quickly, no one got hurt, and we only ended up losing a shirt and a hat.
I opted to avoid bringing a tent, going for my bivy sack instead, and it turned out to be a great choice. The weather was fabulous, and being able to see the stars splashed across the Utahn desert sky was amazing. It’s a little depressing to think of how much light pollution there is, even in relatively empty Fort Collins.
The most instructive part of the weekend was learning how to make a bacon bomb. Sorry, I won’t tell you what that is, except to mention that it requires a least 2 lbs. of bacon, a roaring campfire, and a healthy sense of adventure.
Kudos to Mikey B. who was a stellar guide for our motley selves, transforming us from a bunch of landlubbers into a battle-hardened crew ready to tackle the biggest waves and softest beaches. The secret to being a good guide is to have a constant supply of Bud Light Lime.
If you want to look as cool as me, go get your own custom beanie and sweet shades at akinz.com. Do it!
Today we take a peek at hippos. As you might imagine, these behemoths are quite easy to spot, not only due to their large size, but also because in the park, they have several well-established locations where they like to hang out.
The Wikipedia article is chock full of interesting facts. I’d recommend spending 3 minutes reading it just because you’re probably not thinking about hippos enough in your daily life.
For instance, hippos are most closely related to whales and other cetaceans. But their foot structure resembles that of a giraffe.
Wikipedia doesn’t mention much about hippos lounging on grass, but we saw these lazy bastards just soaking up the sun in the Ngorongoro crater.
Although hippos typically spend most of their time in the water, they don’t eat water plants, preferring to eat grass. They can eat up to 150 lbs. of grass at a time, and “over prolonged periods hippos can divert the paths of swamps and channels” as they walk to their favored grazing spots.
Adult hippos can’t swim! They bounce off the bottom of the river bed.
I find that fact to be ludicrous, as if these animals weren’t ludicrous enough already.
As hippos are related to whales, the typical way to refer to a group of them is a “pod”. An alternate group name, and the one I prefer is a “bloat”.
A hippo pool smells like an outdoor toilet that has been abused by animals the size of… hippos. That splashing water isn’t brown from mud. It’s poop. Hippo poop.
They mostly just lounge around, but there’s the occasional bit of splashing.
Males are only territorial in the water, but they don’t fight to the death; they fight to the pain… of humiliation. Once one hippo realizes it’s weaker, it goes away. And there’s nothing that’s more painful than humiliations galore.
That’s it for this edition of Tanzania Tuesday! See you next time!