Simien Mountains National Park, Northern Ethiopia.
It was a good idea at the time.
A hundred and fifty Gelada Baboons coming.
Quick, jump in their path and just sit there, I don’t think they see me…
Wait for them to come to you. Just pretend you don’t notice them.
…about thirty seconds later,
I got this guy below “buzzing” me. About five feet away here.
Just slowly “strutting” around. He’s got the perfect “sideways glance” goin’ on.
Just like one of those tough guys on a Philly corner.
Baboon babies surrounding me, within ten feet.
In the middle of nowhere. By myself.
I think the patriarch is laughing at me now.
I can’t move even if I wanted too …or could.
These guys have eight times the muscle density of a human.
I can lift a hundred and fifty pounds.
They have arms around four times the circumference of mine.
Eight times four times 150 is…
Divided by the amount of force it takes to rip a human head off the body.
Add in very big and sharp teeth.
Times the distance to a hospital (at least four countries over).
They really don’t seem to care that I’m here.
I think the big guy just gave me that glance again while laughing.
Stay still, move slowly, click, click, gulp.
Pretend you don’t see him, gulp.
He’s eating grass and pretending not to notice me…
…as he rips down an entire tree.
Hey buddy, great move. Click …click.
Hey, if I’m gonna die, I may as well get some pictures of it.
…as the group slowly moves away.
Good boy. Gulp. Smile. That whole having fun thing…
He turns around one more time and gives me a smile,
probably just showing off those inch long canines,
and gives me one of those “your lucky” looks.
Stupid is as stupid does…
Ethiopia is one of my favorite countries…
December 28, 2007