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Months of anticipation and preparation: camera research; safari blogs; a trip to Safari West; vaccinations. Considering each item for its utility and weight, to stay below the 33 pound limit; packing and repacking.

I flew to Tanzania on October 3, meeting my father in a long transfer line at Schiphol as we changed planes. My previous strategy of downloading a season of television on my phone worked well, again: this time it was Firefly. That, and Sid Meier's Pirates.

After some twenty-plus hours of travel, we set foot in Africa for the first time. Albert had been sent to pick me up at Kilimanjaro, but thought there would only be one passenger, which worried us, but it turned out to be fine. He checked his papers in the car and we were off to Arusha.

The roads were strewn with speed bumps: three small, one large, three small. My standing theory: these replaced speed limit signs and laws. The houses by the side of the road were largely dark shapes of rusted corrugated iron, some ready to fall over with a strong huff and puff.

I kind of wish I had documented the actual trip a bit more, rather than focusing so strongly on wildlife, and to a lesser degree, landscapes. The hotels were all beautiful and comfortable and guilt-inducingly luxurious. The food was tasty. But I had my focus, and something had to take a back seat. I recuperated in the evenings rather than pore over photos and write up blog posts; these scribblings are all from memory.

Albert taught us Swahili phrases as we drove, and I dozed off for a bit. We were greeted at the hotel by wet cloths, fresh fruit juice, and iced coffee. The room had a canopy-like mosquito net.

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We had arrived a day earlier, and spent the next day relaxing. We asked about taking a walk outside the plantation, and were warned that it would be dangerous for us.

Yuki:Danger from animals? Or humans?
Guard:Humans.

We stayed inside.

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My father wanted to see a big cat of some sort. (Later this turned into a major hankering for a leopard sighting.) I wanted to see, and more importantly, photograph, a cheetah kill.

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July 2014

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