Chobe National Park, Botswana

September 25, 2015: Okay … time for an Africa story, since I’m jet lagged and can’t sleep. I COULD sleep, however, at around seven o’clock tonight, but that’s a different, less funny story.

I’m a peace-loving girl, and my intention was to harm nothing on this trip. I’m sad to report, however, that I am responsible for the death by cleavage of two innocent African critters. The first was a praying mantis. I had never seen one up close, so of course, I put my face right up in its grill to examine it. It tolerated my presence for a couple of minutes, then leapt from the table right in to my shirt. In my enthusiasm for relocating it, I dislodged its head from its body, and, well … I’m glad (s)he was a praying sort, because it was lights out for that mantis, may (s)he rest in peace.

In Chobe, we had these dreadful black beetles that were attracted to light. The first night they made their appearance, they had congregated on the dinner table. Hundreds of these minions of Satan. They are precisely the size and shape of a peppercorn, but trust me, they are not that. I thought our camp assistants were getting crafty with the table decorations, but I was incorrect. We cleared our table of the little black BBs, and decided to eat dinner in the dark to keep things a little less spicy. During the clean-up process, I discovered they are also biters. One had made its way in to my (apparently very welcoming) cleavage area, and started nipping (no pun intended). This hurt. A lot. So, I loudly cursed, and maybe screamed a little, which is the standard notification of the commencement of my “please remove this thing from my ample bosom immediately” dance. This is a dance that occurs more frequently than you’d think. Again, my vigor ended the life of this innocent victim. A crushed peppercorn, as it were. I’m fairly certain I flashed all those present, which may have explained the big smiles of our guides, O.G., Kapapa, and Gabriel. They got such a kick out of us crazy American girls.

I’m considering myself extremely fortunate that there were only two such incidents. We also had a scorpion in camp … about five inches long. I hadn’t seen one before, so of course, I put my face right up in its grill to examine it. (I’m a slow learner.) I’m just glad they don’t jump.