Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the red dress and cobra story

(taken by last born cleaning up after party at 8 this morning after cobra situation)

you'd imagine life would be a breeze when hols start, now wouldn't ya just?
not so.
never a dull moment.

the term finished like a boeing jet coming in too fast for a landing, all pale faced and white knuckled assuming breach position.
when the bell went i got the hell outta there and fast. i could still smell the tyres burning.
which meant that i haven't quite cleared the decks which means i shall have to pop back into school and do a few little extra things over the hols....tant pis...what else to do?

i took my class away to the highlands of karatu for two nights. they are divinely beautiful my class. they kept me entertained the entire time. this was us at the lake manyara view point...which was rather stunning....better show ya.

this is what we had all been oohing and ahing about....

ngorongoro farm house, where we stayed was more like a beatrix potter haven but in the highlands of northern tanzania.

my little house had a view across the rolling green hills (of Africa as 'Papa' so famously wrote) which creased up to the misty rim of the ngorongoro crater. it was bliss to be up where martial eagles hunt, and owls flutter around the rood tops at night and the mists come down, making everything so silent. oh and we had an earthquake the one night. i woke to my bed shakin' around the room and the hangars rattlin'...they always scare me - not the rattlin' hangars but earthquakes. very humbling when the earth starts shaking about the place. my one student said "oh miss i thought it was gorillas on my roof..!" she IS from mali... nevertheless - she SHOULD know that there aren't any gorillas anywhere near karatu....in fact anywhere in tanzania. i had a large amount of fun scaring the girls (all around 16/17) with ghost sightings. i take delight in things like that. i made them walk up into the hills, flushing herds of reed buck, the sun on our back and the wind in our faces...it was scintillating and made me feel alive. cheeks flushed and the wide open spaces stealin' my heart and making it fly for a little while.

back to real life.

i am still in my red dress from last night, in my long riding boots and a tassely jacket...i haven't changed from last night and i haven't slept much either. sleeping across the two front seats of a landrover IS uncomfortable and looks odd outside the gates of the snakepark. i threw a dinner party for eleven people last night chez nous. lots of candles, red wine, guitar playin', laughter, stars twinklin, and a distant storm shooting lightening far out across the steppes...a truly incomparable combination....you get the feelin' that someones making magik. someone really really big and beyond... just as i was staggering to bed, around one this morning, jules - dear friend and neighbour - who had been at the dinner called me to say ethan had been bitten by a black necked spitting cobra in tarangire...tarangire is a national park about two and a half hours away from arusha and was being rushed to meserani snake park where they have a snake bite clinic. so donned the boots and the tassely jacket and hopped into the landrover and dashed out there. the empty road in the early hours of the morning - forcing your eyes to stay open, clinging to the side. and hoping hoping hoping it's going to be better than you imagine.

we arrived at the same time as their rough old open canvas roofed landrover pulled in around 2:30am..... ethan was still in his pyjama shorts with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, pale and vomiting a lot. he vomited on julie.

the story: back in camp, he was in his bed and thought he felt a mouse bump his knee. then he felt the "mouse" bump his thigh until the black necked spitting cobra bit him just above his elbow...he is now on a drip with anti venom from pretoria...but he is reacting badly to the anti venom and is covered in a horrible fast spreading rash. help is there though....i think he will be ok....it's just very painful. and those fang marks look mean....one can only hope that those fangs were half full and he didn't get a full dose of poison. i think he'll be ok. imagine a snake IN your bed. in the bush ALWAYS check your bed. and zip your tent up. ALWAYS check your shoes too. for scorpions.

needless to say, oh bestests, i am very tired. i sorta 'slept' stretched across the two front seats of the landrover which is very uncomfortable - with the handbreak poking into your ribs, and the seat belt thingys poking into i dunno, your shoulder? waiting to see if ethan would be ok....julie has showered the vomit off and they've gone back to check up on him. the other surprising thing was that the little snake bite clinic was FULL of people...which means lots of people are getting bitten....nice.

Kitchen Board: Some time in early april 2011 ngorobob hill.

that's rubin. he went white water rafting in kenya. first born scaled the peaks of mt meru. last born explored the shambas of kisongo comparing the farming of the ancient egyptians on the nile. yeah. me neither. in fact sometimes i think the ancients were way more advanced....? but i haven't done the research so i speak from inexperience so ignore. for now.

time for me to sleep and change out of this red dress, take these dangly earring off and wash my face, brush my teeth and pretend everything is normal and that i've slept plenty and that ethan never got bitten. and i have just received an sms that ethan is doing fine. he is doing just fine and all will be well in the end. don't you love happy endings? i do. indeed i do.

toodely toot oh bestests. bisous X.X.X. sleepy red dress ones brushed like wind on yer cheeks. x j


Miranda said...

Oh my god! Bloody fuckin hell. Poor Ethan. Vok. He really IS gonna be okay, right?

Thanks for a lekker dinner. Boy, the things that can happen when you sneak off to bed early!

Bill said...

And young Ethan, because of your blog, enters the consciousness of us all. He will, in time, have an awesome story to tell. Yes indeed, magic.


Robyn said...

Your life is an adventure that I can only imagine! Glad Ethan is ok!

Mud in the City said...

Phew! Red dresses are always followed by happy endings. Poor Ethan! Will be checking my bed carefully tonight....

Amanda said...

parties, red dresses, cobras....you've got one full on life, girl. love the way you share all the majik.


Janelle said...

thanks all for comments (yawning)...mark dropped off the dead cobra this evening on his way home from work. the staff killed it. it's disgusting. safari c has put it in the fridge....obviously in a plastic packet....still. ew. x j

Miranda said...

Yawning coz you're tired, right? Or coz we boring you?!

Janelle said...

heh! tired skattie! x

family affairs said...

Oh Fuckety fuck. How scary. Need to see that cobra now. Fridge or otherwise. Fingers crossed for your friend. Please come and live in the suburbs. Much safer. Although boring. Lxxx

elizabeth said...

Rather nerve-shattering, Janelle.

what a tale but a terrifying one

yes, to see a photo of the beast
but also the recovering hero......


Janelle said...

ok people. on a mission. will go snap ethan tomorrow and also the cobra in the fridge....it's important. clearly. x j

3limes said...

Yes can we please see the snake? I read it open mouthed, hand on chin, hoping, and waiting. It was like a chapter out of a book. I do enjoy reading you. Sam xx

Linda Sue said...

Fuck's sake, janelle, you tell this story so calmly! SHITE! I hope he'll be OK, I can not imagine- AT aLL. the terror of sleeping with a cobra on me would have killed me straight away!
GODDAAAA!Hope all is well soon.

Mama Shujaa said...

So habari za Ethan sasa? My gosh Janelli. And that was so nice of you to take your class on a trip!