Botswana Safari - Elephant Attack
I don't know...... I suspect I just may have a problem. I think my asshole tendency meter is broken. At first I thought it just needed a re-calibration of sorts. Perhaps I hit it on a rock or it got jarred out of whack. But after my last encounter with a bull elephant I now suspect the damn thing just may be broken all together.....
Ya see I learned two interesting things in the Okavango Delta.

1. just how close you can get trying to take a picture of a bull elephant before it will charge and
2. that I can run faster than a bull elephant
Good!  Hold it...                                Wait a minute... back up...             Holy Shit! Run for your life
The strange thing is that my two sisters and brother in law were all present for this little drama. Seems that their asshole tendency meters where also out of whack..... So within the first hour of arriving in Botswana the whole Gottlieb/Filler clan went running through the delta at a speed just slightly greater than that of a charging bull elephant.
Luckily no one was hurt. Although we were all very rattled and there was enough of an adrenaline surge between us to last two or three lifetimes! Africa is really an AMAZING continent. I just can't get over it. The other night we sat on a huge termite mound-watching hippos swim about in crocodile infested waters. Behind us elephants were roaring and roaming about as well as lions and African buffalo. It felt like we were all plopped down on the set of wild kingdom. I kept waiting for an old guy to try and sell me insurance or something.
We left Namibia en route to Botswana and ended up camping in the kalahari desert. Our tour group managed to set up a tribal bush dance by some of the few remaining Khosain bushmen. It was a magical affair. The dance commenced around an open campfire. The women all clapped and chanted while the men danced in a circle and reinacted great oryx hunts. Scottie Sami Amy and I all joined in the circle and clapped along with the women. The men worked their way around the circle and touched our backs in hopes of bestowing upon us great health and prosperity.
We then made our way to a small town whereby we flew into Botswana's Okavango Delta. What a magical place. Definitely one of the coolest I have been to. The Delta was teeming with wildlife.  The Gottlieb/Filler clan soon wandered off to look at a bird when we came upon the above-mentioned elephant. 
Sami and Scott were looking at birds with their backs toward the elephant (Fuckin' Doctors... Killing me!) when ol' Dumbo decided he was done having his picture taken.  Geez I knew models could be difficult but pachyderms?!?!?!? It didn't take long before we all realized that a 15 ton angry trumpeting elephant was running towards us. As my asshole tendency meter was the most out of whack (not surprisingly) I was the closest to the giant beast. Normally elephants don't really charge. They make like they will and move in your general direction but soon stop. I observed this type of behavior at the watering holes. Anyway after I ran about 20 feet I looked over my shoulder expecting the stupid animal to have stopped. I was terrified when all I could see in my rear view mirror was elephant! The damn thing was still running towards me. I can tell you with all honesty that when your total peripheral vision is taken up by elephant you are too close! So just like in Ecuador I kicked it into high gear and ran like hell. Carl Lewis had nothing on our family. Luckily the elephant stopped when he realized we were no longer interested in taking his picture.
The next day we went on a game walk and stumbled across a male and female lion! Luckily they weren't hungry. They both stopped and looked at us but then decided they had better things to do than mess with some tourists. We watched hippos bathing. I was trying to torment them by waving my super cool new 3-dollar zebra striped cowboy hat.  But the most I could muster out of the giant beasts was a good snarl. Sami started to get real nervous with me toying with the hippo so in light of the recent charge by the elephant I toned it down a bit. We weren't chased by anything else in the delta. Although we did find ourselves in the middle of an impala stampede. They were being chased by a pack of wild African dogs. They stopped mid chase and looked directly at Scottie. Scottie was sooooooo terrified but the dogs just carried on about their business.
The bathrooms/showers were amazing! Check out this picture I snapped in the shower….. Don't get excited FREAKS! It's just a picture of the spigot….
From the delta we made our way to Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls spans two countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We are currently on the Zambian side. Zimbabwe seems to be having some political crisis so we are steering clear of that country.
Today we went white water rafting down the Zambezi river. The Zambezi is one of the best white water rafting rivers in the world. It has plenty of class 5 and 6 rapids. Today we tried to run a class five rapid and ended up flipping over. The whole crew was thrown into the crocodile infested white water of the great Zambezi (don't worry the crocodiles on this river only eat fish). We had a smashing good time. Amy and Sami were a little reluctant to go but by the end of the day they were both happy as could be…..
Now as Sami has succinctly put it, I pulled the 'quintessential asshole maneuver' when I signed us all up for an extreme jet boat ride on the Zambezi. I discovered this sport while lazing about on my green couch. I was flippin through the channels when I came across this crazy Australian guy trying to scare the living bajesus out of tourists by racing a 400 hp plus jet boat straight towards rock walls at just under mach 1 only to swerve at the last second. The end result leaving all passengers speechless, breathless and scared shitless. The guy driving our boat was serious when he said, 'please keep your hands, head and feet inside the cabin at all times.' I haven't had time to check out this outfit's website but more details can be found online at http://www.jetextreme.comhttp://www.jetextreme.comshapeimage_4_link_0
We couldn't get enough of the falls from the confines of the park so for a better perspective I signed us all up for a micro flight over the falls. We climbed aboard a two person motorized hang glider and gracefully flew over the falls and the nearby game reserve. Gliding over the falls was just as incredible as you might imagine. I was so grateful that we could all experience this part of Africa in such a unique way. We also did a fly by of elephants, rhinos, African buffalo, wildebeests, giraffes, hippos, zebras and warthogs. A pretty damn exciting day if I do say so myself :-)
Amy leaves tomorrow. We will miss her smile and photographic trigger finger. I'm sure Amy will be very busy back in Austin going through her 4000 plus roles of film. Sami, Scott and I are feeling a bit wrung through the travel ringer so we are headed to the beach. There are supposedly some fantastic beaches on the East coast of Africa. I am not sure if we will wind up in Mozambique or not.
Stay tuned for more adventures.
(BTW: Amy and I were just very startled by a hippo that is grunting probably no more than 30 feet outside our tent. Geeze I am finally in the writer's 'flow' only to be interrupted by a rogue or possibly horny hippo. Keeping this journal up to date is no easy task ;-) ) I think of everyone back home often. I hope this journal entry finds everyone well. Send me some email cause I'm a bit home sick!
A charged, chased, mosquito bitten, five o'clock shadow wearing,
Davo ;-)
My Travel Journal
Saturday, May 25, 2002
Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. It's as if the earth just split apart right in front of a raging river. The amount of water pouring over the edge just leaves you breathless. Sami thinks it is THE most amazing natural formation she has ever seen. There is a State Park that allows the tourists to view the falls amidst a white mist of spray. All onlookers are completely drenched with water. We arrived at the same time as group of Zambian school children. They were all singing and clapping and dancing in the water. It was great to see so many young kids frolicking in the spray and marveling at one of God's greatest creations.