Ronan C.

Rainbow in a Bottle

The summer before freshman year encompassed the most marvelous moments of my life.  My Dad’s family is so widespread we have never had all of the family in one place simultaneously.  Since my grandparents live so close-by, we get to see everyone when they come to visit.  Now that my grandparents have retired, they have started traveling all over the world and visiting some of the most extraordinary sights there are to see.  They always return home with striking photos and souvenirs, and every time we only get to see the pictures and dream of one day going to these places.  One Christmas day our wishes came true.  The entire family; cousins, aunts, uncles, from both sides, were going to go on a two week safari in Tanzania, Africa.  

It was early morning and my family who lived on the East Coast was boarding our plane to Amsterdam where we would meet up with the “West Coast” group.  We flew for hours, finally landing, only to wait a few more hours for our next flight.  However, to me those hours felt like seconds with my family finally together at last.  Cousins met for the first time and it was, I thought then, the most beautiful thing that I had ever seen.  But this trip had more in store for my ‘beauty meter’.  
  
We landed in Tanzania at about 10pm after an entire day of flying, and I was as excited as a five year old in a candy shop.  We were greeted by our guides and then driven to the hotel where I experienced the worst night’s sleep I ever had, through no fault of the hotel however.  My heart was racing; I was in the place that I had been dreaming of going since I could remember, how could anyone be expected to sleep?  
  
The next morning we awoke to the most breath-taking scenes I’ve ever known.  I vividly remember finishing dinner and heading outside onto the patio of the hotel.  We were situated on top of a hill that overlooked a river; since it was the dry season it was not a very impressive river;however, it did still have running water.  As I stood and watched the sun hit the horizon, suddenly the world was bathed in a warm glow that highlighted every branch of every tree, and every crack in the dirt.  The group of elephants had left for the night, but like a dream their trumpeting was carried to us on the patio mingling with the gentle murmur of contented people finishing their dinner.  

It was the most magical time of my life.  My family was so happy to be together at last; we were all so excited to be there in Africa.  

We traveled from one hotel to the next, only staying at most three nights in the same place.  One morning I awoke and gazed out of my hotel window into the Ngorongoro Crater, and watched as all of the clouds that had condensed inside the crater overnight spilled out of it.  It was as if someone had spread a pink, purple, and gold blanket over the edges of the crater during the night and was slowly pulling it off slowly revealing the beauty hidden below.  

Another fond memory I have was when we had gone out looking at zebra, and gnus, only to find when we returned to the hotel that there were elephants grazing next to our rooms!   The elephants were milling around eating the brush and trees, not giving us the time of day.  We saw birds that had the most extraordinary colors, blues, greens, purples; I often feel that if I could put a rainbow in a bottle it would encapsulate the memory of those birds. These birds put even the most beautiful species from the US to shame.   Early on in the trip, we had to stop one time to wait for a herd of zebra to cross the road, but this was the most amazing road block that any of us had ever seen so we were ecstatic.  
        
The people were so patient and charming to all of us that we could never have repaid their generosity no matter how much we tried.  We were often welcomed into the Maasai bomas (huts) and to ask them questions, I have never learned as much in two weeks as I did in Tanzania.  We stopped once to talk to a Maasai medicine man who told us all firmly that there was no need for him to worry about curing such things as high blood pressure because that was a white man’s disease.  We all laughed then, but it became clear during the trip that the people in Tanzania lived in a different mindset then those in the US.  There was no rush; everything moved in a wonderfully smooth ebb and flow. 

There are so many memories, so many beautiful scenes that rise to mind thinking of Tanzania that it would take the rest of my lifetime and more paper than I have to relay the whole two weeks.   The way we all felt about that trip can only be measured by the size of our smiles!



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