Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hippo Boat Ride

On Saturday November 8th, 2014 we went on "The Hippo Boat Ride."  Near the boat dock, artisan had their wares to show.  There were carved animals, hats, beaded bracelets, necklaces and lots more fun things. The Christmas balls that are pictured in the middle row of pictures are carved on the outside of what they called Monkey Fruit.  The monkey fruit had a pale green seedy middle which is removed before carving.  The outside is relatively soft and appears to be quite easy to carve, although getting the design just right, I am sure, was a bit tricky.  The monkey fruits looked a lot like a gourd that we would find back home.  There were 5 or six men carving different designs on the monkey fruit.  It was interesting to watch and listen to them as they talked.

After looking at the beautiful souvenirs we got on our boat and headed out for an adventure on the river.  The boat was big enough to hold about 30 people.  We were cautioned not to rush to one side of the boat all at the same time because it could tip over.  We only had to be reminded once when we got a bit excited to see something on one side of the river so the captain instructed us to even out the boat.  There was an upstairs viewing deck that held a few people but most of us stayed on the bottom level of the boat.  It was mostly open so we could see in nearly every direction.   The river was very brown and quite wide.  The vegetation grows right up to the waters edge.  We were told that the people who lived near the river were no longer allowed to go down to the rivers edge because of the danger of being eaten by crocodiles or run over by hippos.  Supposedly hippos kill more people than any other African animal because the people and the hippos have to share the water. Below are some interesting facts about hippos for those who want to know more.

The yellow weaver bird (pictured in the bottom left picture) build nest in trees and on the reeds at the side of the river. (pictured in the top right photo) The males build multiple nests.  If a female does not like the nests he built she will destroy it.  He will make 10 or more nests to confuse predators who come to eat the babies.  We Sister Edington weaver nest all over in all kinds of trees and bushes and reeds.  They were one of the first birds I identified after we got here.  They are quite fascinating.

In school in the fourth grade I taught about the mangrove trees but I actually got to see them in real life.  The mangroves are pictured on the middle left of the collage.  There are two pictures one showing the grove  from a distance and one showing the snails that live on the trunks of the trees.  They are a very important source of food for many animals.

Also pictured are a giant crocodiles, a crane, and an eagle in the tree.  This was a fun ride as were saw, smelled and heard so many interesting sights and sounds.  It was truly an adventure of a lifetime.

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