Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Janet

Janet uses a break to eat a snack.


J is for Janet

The trip sounded like an episode of the reality television show Survivor. I walked around Victoria Falls, rode an elephant, flew in a helicopter, danced, ate a worm and gave a guy a five million dollar tip.

I understand now that some people are opposed to people riding elephants. I didn't think about this in 2006. Janet and her guide took us around the Elephant Camp outside Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

The guide answered all my questions — not an easy task to have a journalist on a slow elephant safari. At the end of our trip, I purchased a copy of Janet's foot print. A true tourist thing to do, but we were told the proceeds funded efforts to protect the elephants. Her footprint hangs on a wall in my house.

I was touched by my guide's dedication to live and work with Janet. All my safari companions were. I traveled by myself that's why I'm with some unknown lady in the picture. She never seemed very happy on the ride. I sometimes fail to remember unhappy people.

We sent tips to our elephant guides at the end of the trip. I found my supply of U.S. dollars running low and sent a $5 bill to my guide.

"That's too much," my safari guide said. "With inflation, that's five million dollars." I doubt the exchange rate is much better today.

By any standards, the tip was probably too small to show my gratitude for getting so close to a lovely animal.



29 comments:

  1. Wonderful Stacy! I hope they were telling the truth about the money going towards the elephants. You lead an exciting life!

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    1. Catherine, That's what they told us the day we rode. I included a link in the post to the company's website. It takes you to a background site which mentions that the company "is totally against the capture of elephant in any form for commercial purposes." I understand their elephants are mostly orphans.

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  2. Great story, Stacy! I love the idea of the guide being stuck on a slow elephant with a question-firing journalist :) Janet is lovely! How cool that you have her footprint. Surely you will be able to use your intimate knowledge of elephants in t a story someday - I have clearly not done enough interesting things!

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    1. Susanna- Our adventures are all relative! Since I had Enzo so late, I may never get to know the adventures of being a grandma! That is interesting to me. Time will tell.

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  3. Oh, an elephant ride! An elephant named "Janet" of all things. I'm loving this A-Z blogging theme!

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    1. Beth, The A - Z posts have been fun for me so far. However, it's made for a busy and "I'm behind" kind of month.

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  4. I have serious Elephant Envy! :) What a wonderful post, Stacy!

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  5. My husband and son rode an elephant at a zoo. I never thought to ask whether the elephant was an orphan or bred in captivity. I remember my son giggling in pure delight the entire time. The elephant seemed to really get a kick out of his pleasure and his intense interest in the way her trunk functioned. My hubby said the elephant was so broad that it made his legs ache the entire time! An elephant footprint sounds like a fabulous souvenir.

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    1. Cathy, I'm sure my son would take delight in riding one. I agree with your Hubby. They are broad.

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  6. From one who's been on safari severl times in Africa, I loved your post. (Blog is terrific, too). I'd love it if you popped over to mine. I write the Bella and Britt series for kids...

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    1. Nancy, I would love to say "from one who's been on safari several times in Africa." I loved the one trip, but I so want to visit China.

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  7. That's exciting Stacy. I had no idea about how people were against riding animals. I wonder if Indiana Jones knew that? ;) Lovely picture either way.

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    1. Jennifer, As I mentioned, I didn't really think about it back in 2006 either. Indiana Jones probably didn't care. :)

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  9. How did the worm taste?

    Janet is just such a cool name for an elephant, and I too have a little elephant-ride envy, but I have been to the Vic Falls,, which are a true wonder to behold. Fun reflections, Stacy!

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    1. Joanna, It seemed charred, so I gulped it down. I wasn't thrilled to crunch. Very true about Vic Falls. I planned my entire safari trip around seeing the falls.

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  10. Ooh, I want to ride an elephant! I could also use a five million dollar tip, in case you have another one lying around...

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. Sarah, Ah, it would be nice if I had real U.S. dollar tips lying around like that. :)

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  11. What a great picture. I also think Janet is a great name for an elephant. Did she respond to her name or was it other queues the guide used?

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  12. Wow, that does sound like Survivor or, maybe, The Amazing Race. Thanks for sharing that travel story!

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  13. What an awesome experience, Stacy. Aren't elephants remarkable???

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  14. What a stunning adventure! And J for Janet, the Elephant. How perfect. This is absolutely delightful!!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

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  15. That's cool that you rode an elephant! They are magnificent creatures! It's good not to remember unpleasant people when you're having a fun time.
    Erik

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  16. WOW, Stacy, what an adventure that must have been. I'd do it all myself, except for the eating worms part. Elephants are so smart and gentle and simply amazing. And I'll be that guide will never forget you and your tip!!

    I'm a new follower via the A to Z Challenge. It's o nice to meet you!

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  17. I don't remember unhappy people either. Loved reading about your adventure!

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  18. Wow that's really exciting Stacy. Elephants are one of those animals that I find kind of awe inspiring. What an adventure!

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  19. I like that story, a lot! I understand they are extremely smart, and very dedicated to their families. Plus, their babies are so cute!

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  20. Wow Stacy! What an exciting adventure you went on. Thanks for sharing about it.

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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