I just came back to the Masai Mara, having been away since last August. Like most places I've called home, upon returning I feel as if I'd never left. Everything is familiar: my tent, the roads, the hyenas, the french toast we had for breakfast this morning, even waking at 5am and going to sleep at 9pm. I would say that I forgot how much I missed field work, but that's not true…I did miss it, but I never forgot. We continue to live the dream here as we spend our days witnessing animals at all levels of the food chain exhibiting a wide range of behaviors. For instance, I couldn't help but smile this afternoon as the Land Cruiser I was driving approached a family of warthogs (mom, dad, and three young ones) foraging near the road. After seeing me—well, more likely hearing me, given the noise the truck makes—dad gave me a watchful eye as mom rounded up her kids and herded them away from the road. They gladly clung to her side as I drove by and nodded to dad my appreciation of his family.
The fruit bats outside my tent have taken it upon themselves to decide that 5am just isn't early enough, and that I should really be waking up at 4am each morning. They ensure this happens with their calls, which are dead ringers for an alarm clock—an alarm clock without a working sleep button. The soy milk and spinach in my diet have been replaced with fifty-seven different types of carb. In two days I've already acquired eight unidentifiable bug bites, and the baboons and vervet monkeys prowling around our campsite leave an unmistakable stench.
It's good to be back in the Mara.-Leslie