It's not easy being REEN

Life in Hollywierd

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I have never even heard of this before involves being harnessed up by a rope and then trusting God and the people holding the other end to help you descend down the tallest, steepest mountain in Cape Town.....and at one point the mountain disappears and you are left dangling in thin air swinging looking at the ocean, town and rocks thousands of feet below........

The hardest part is leaning backward (behind you are the miles and miles of the drop below) and holding your arms up in the air...........getting ready for the descent.
As quiet and beautiful as the few is.......and the perfect sunny day we had, I would have preferred the view from the restaurant at the top, sipping a soy latte. But swinging from the mountain after the drop (the drop they didn't tell you about) I felt as if I was flying and reminded myself if I could just let go and enjoy it, trust, it would be the best thing ever.
instead I screamed "okay..... I'm ready to be done now......are we done??"
And as I landed, I needed two people to peel off my hand from the ropes.
The 40 mile hike up the mountain was the reward....but I have to say....I'd do it again in a heart beat.
(As soon as they get an escalator installed that runs to the top, and a safety net on the way down........)

now I am on the plane on the way home......

more adventures to come.......I just need a few days with Howie, my Big screen t.v. and my warm cozy bed.

tracking baboons

This was the most challenging yet: tracking wild baboons in Africa.

We had NO idea where they were going, or where they would end up. Thank goodness we had the help of "Jenny." She runs "baboon Matters" a program that teaches people how to live alongside the baboons without hurting them. Most baboons---because WE have taken over their territory -- have no choice but to forage for food in the houses people live in. That leads to people shooting at them and doing terrible things to them. So her foundation helps to keep the baboons up in the mountains, away from people. (Humans are their number 1 predator.)

The thing that surprised me the most is that the baboons all have a heirarchy system in the troop. You are born into it, like it or not. The lower ranking females get treated poorly and the higher ones get what they want. The males have to fight their way to be the leader, so there are many challenges between the men, and mostly jealousy fights with the woman. Not that different from us. When they groom each other, it is not just an act of keeping each other clean, but an act of winning favor, in case they need it returned: "Hey Brenda, remember when I made you look good with that new hair? Well, Steve is after me and I need some back up...can you help me out?"

But there was a miracle we caught on tape, (you'll have to watch it to see it!) as well as the last day I found myself in a field at the end of the day with the whole troop, eating with them, playing with the young ones, and watching the papa of the troop do some serious disciplining. We got really lucky as no one knows where they will end up at the end of the day, and somehow we all ended up together. Since this was the last animal of this trip, we hoped for some stroke of luck...and ended up with all of us speechless and in awe.

Now one more Ms. Adventure tomorrow, which will be absailing down the tallest mountain town: hanging from ropes as I slide and dangle down a mountain at a 90 degree angle.

Once again....who wants to drive a car, when you can slide down a mountain to get to the next adventure????

I know at some point this seemed like a good idea. As long as there is a spa at the bottom of the mountain....

horsin' around

Well, who says Ms. Adventure travels easily? Where is the adventure in taking a car?? I am in Africa and I must get to know the terrain!

And who says Ms. Adventure has a clue how to ride a horse, especially in British style? Through the woods and over rivers... I will find the next animal that will enlighten me on relationships I can learn from! I just felt sorry for the horse. I kept trying to find the blinker system on it, but had to improvise, as you will see....

to bee or not to bee

Still in the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen, we spent the day learning about the sibling relationships with bees. These are AFRICAN KILLER BEES, and I went in about 14 hives with no protective gear...feeding the bees, checking out the her sisters work night and day for her, and the male bees have no purpose but to copulate with a virgin queen and lay around the hive (wow, males who do strange?) But once they copulate, they die, so let's hope that queen is worth it.

If you ask me, I love the bond with the sisters, but too much work for me. When is the vacation? The days off to go to the spa?

Well, no one ever said making a sweet sweet life would be easy. But one cool thing I learned is the when one of the sister bees finds good food (pollen) she'll go back to the hive and do a "waggle dance." The bigger the dance, means the better food she found.

I went out to eat and had some seafood last night. Got back to the hotel and just did a finger snap and a few shoulder moves---cuz the food was not that great. I think the hotel desk clerk is still a bit confused.

Well, I can say I sat in the middle of thousands of African Killer Bees, no protective wear, and waggle danced away till the honey flowed.

here kitty kitty

Now we are traveling to stellenbocsh near Cape Town. What AMAZING country side: huge mountains, rolling hills, and of course "townships" which are thousands of tin shacks where the underprivileged live. The contradiction of the lush landscape and mountains against the ocean, then those shanty towns at the foreground of it all, confusing to the eye... and what to feel.

We stayed in the most lovely quaint town that had a church in the middle of it all and little shops that looked like everyone got together for coffee and brunch everyday. And the church bells went off every hour.

We spent our first day at the Cheetah sanctuary....a place that saves cheetahs as they are 10-12 years from becoming extinct. These creatures are beautiful, graceful, and look like playful cats, even their purr is astounding. I played with them with a plastic bottle attached to a string. Quite simple. Yet you could see how fast they are--they run up to 75 miles an hour. I asked them if they ever got pulled over, but apparently, the african cops cut them some slack since they can not run for more then 30 seconds before overheating...some even collapse from exhaustion.

They stick it our with their brothers for life. No matter what. WHO KNEW???? Even after they mate, they go back to the brothers. Where is the sisterly love??

Once again, tune in, there are some surprises from this episode as well.

Zebras gone wild.....

Well, today I got to go on a "safari" and witness many many animals in the wild: Kudu, Antelope, ostrich, Water Buffalo, and Zebra-to name a few.

My task was to simply look at all of them, and learn about the group dynamics in Zebra-world.
Seemed like a simple task, I would take a jeep with Louis (animal expert) and help feed the wild Zebra.

Zebra are very loyal to their herd. They will keep up with the slowest guy in the herd no matter what to protect him (or her). And if there is any threat, look out! Don't let the stripes fool ya.

Oh and by the way, do you think Zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes? You'll have to wait for the show to find that one out.

Also, the unplanned drama of the show: right before we went out of the jeep to feed the zebra--the Zebras were giving us signs, but sometimes humans can be really stupid....

Once again, I can't tell you what happened, but it was something I have NEVER witnessed, and I was not sure we would have come out alive. If not for the courage and strength of Louis, I would not be here to write this. You have to watch the episode (episode 2 ) to even believe what happened. All I have to say is that humans need to respect animals at all times. They have instincts that will overpower anything else. Pretty eye opening for everyone.

I think the Zebras are black with white stripes. But as I admit to on the show, I am no EXPERT.

But I am MS. ADVENTURE. And I believe this was one of the biggest adventures yet.