In the Slow Lane

Unofficially Approved by Meryl Streep

"I had a farm in Africa..."   Can you believe I saw her farm house, walked it's airy space, gazed at the Ngong Hills?  I touched her things, stood on the spot where she passed aspirin and sterile dressings to ailing Kikuyu.  Karon Von Blixen, Isak Dinesen, brave, independent author who lived her spellbinding tale, Out of Africa.  I may be wrong, but don't you think the Baroness would've loved Meryl Streep's portrayal? 


For me, this movie's magic remains with every viewing; my heart skips a beat at the African panarama.  I recognize the vast reaches of Ngorogoro Crater where on safari I spied my first elephants from vantage point high on the escarpment.  So high, they were like mice, slow moving mice.  I've seen Lake Nkuru and its pale pink clouds of flamingo thousands.


Young cheetah darting after one another kitten-like on the kopje; lion families, fat and sleek, napping in the sun.  Wildebeast clowns bleating and bucking their migration path beside heavy footed zebra, dainty Thompson gazelle.  Serengeti, a place like no other.  Hyenas, hippos, girrafe, baboons, hunting dogs, ragged, marled, long-legged, lethal  predators, rarely missing the kill.  More of them later. 


Blackest night at 6 pm.  Broad daylight at 6 am.  Blink and you miss dusk and dawn.  It's the equator: day and night remain equal.


The Masai, tall, elegant, standing on one skinny leg.  Will pose for a price.  I've nothing but chewing gum.  No deal.  Okay, well, it's nice to see you, you handsome guys.  Goodbye.  Wait, wait, give us the gum! 


The thing is, the movie scenery is no exaggeration.  Africa is like that.  No touch-ups necessary.  Karen's farmhouse is alive and well.  Enroute, a fellow Dutch traveler told me, "See Africa and die."   I didn't take his meaning till after safari.  The world holds many wonders, but Africa is nature's epitome.


In Kenya and Tanzania, I saw much of what Karen saw.  I have about 50 pounds of photos, good photos, still it's the movie that sparks Africa for me.   Alas, I found no Denys Finch Hatton.






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