Saturday, September 17, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR - DOWN THE NILE (E)

Nilla, Tazil’s mother, had a hearty laugh and an outgoing disposition. She said to Mekkar, “When you get here give us a ring and we will come to see you.” Her education was relayed into work as a civil servant in a national government building there. The brutal dictator killed her husband for some unknown reason and no one has ever given any explanation. She seemed to have a joyful disposition despite the outward circumstances that easily could have left her extremely bitter.

The Selects players, staff, and their transportation crew were booked into the swankiest hotel in Kampala. However, on the second night Mekkar, Alf, and Lasse went and stayed overnight at Tazil’s more humble residence instead. The youngsters played diverse games while they were there with the family. Others in the neighborhood dropped by to take part in the activities. Mekkar even teased Tazil about wearing a coat when it was so warm (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit). Next, the three arctic boys retrieved their hockey sticks and pucks among the gear and taught the kids there about the game in a number of aspects like how to properly hold a stick and shoot. Some of the children had never seen anything that resembled ice hockey in any form. Mekkar wished they had more time to spend there and additional items to give away there. The three Selects players even autographed a few of the goodies also. Mekkar figured that they could acquire a few extra sticks and related items from equipment managers to replace what he gave to the kids there. He knew it was up to them to customize the fresh gear to their liking for future contests.

What the Native from the North remembers best is the animal chasing contest during the festivities. Tazil was very quick and extremely proficient at this enterprise. He told Mekkar why and how he became so exceptional at it, “The reason is you become good at this to prevent from going hungry.” Tazil also mentioned that this was the case before his mother got that good government job to feed the family especially after his father had died. Tazil went on to say, “Now catching the food is just a hobby to keep his skills sharp and improved my futbol (soccer) goalie reactions.”    

Team staff and their vehicles then arrived to entreat Mekkar, Alf, and Lasse to get ready quickly so they could depart the city. The powers that be wanted them to join the rest of the team to forge ahead on the journey. Both sides waved their goodbyes and the Selects headed off to explore around one of the largest freshwater lakes on the global map. The assembly took them through the Masai Mara wildlife area in Kenya to reach the well-known Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Mekkar wished Tazil could have been with him on this part of the trip because he knew the region so well. Yet, Mekkar thought it was probably no big deal to the Ugandan since he lived so close by and has seen these different animals in person many times over.

As the vehicles were in the northern part of the park and not far from the border and the lake they stopped to take a break. The idea was let all of them just enjoy the scenery. Soon afterward a herd of elephants went strolling by. Mekkar was glad it wasn’t too close because he didn’t know the temperament of pachyderms in relation to people. “Hopefully, those big beasts don’t see us,” stated Mekkar. It was still close enough to make the ground tremble as they rolled past. Mekkar commented that it felt like an earthquake on the Richter scale. The vehicle was rocking and swaying from side to side while also stirring up everyone’s meal from earlier. The tusked creatures were not quite stampeding, but at the same time they were not walking slowly either.

Mekkar came prepared, as always, with a few sets of binoculars for those in the transport to use. Some of the others had their own as well. After the distance widened between them and the animals, the vehicle Mekkar was in headed off in pursuit. He had an overwhelming feeling to pursue the adventure even while doubting the wisdom of tracking the beasts. They followed the chase due to the strong urging and pestering of the driver by the majority of the passengers. Still the truck kept a wide gap between them and the moving herd. Mekkar and his buddies next saw something that he didn’t believe at first. A male lion had gotten way too close for comfort. Mekkar felt it might have been hungry and possibly desperate but also asked the question, “Don’t the female lions usually conduct the chase and hunt the prey instead?” The rest told Mekkar to keep quiet as to not attract any attention to them.

Well, one of larger pachyderms, Mekkar was unsure if it was a male or female elephant, kicked that displaced lion in the air like a field goal in American football. It seemed as though the big cat was dead before landing back to earth with a distinctive thud. Yet, they were too far away to feel the lion’s punishment but could see it with a sense of empathy on behalf of the clawed cat. Mekkar right then stated out loud, “Whoever said that the lion is the King of the Jungle doesn’t know what he is talking about! Oh, man!” He continued on to anyone there that was listening, “Did you see that lion get kicked like a field goal or a soccer ball? That was so cool!” They were all cracking up at that statement, but also told him to keep his voice down since Mekkar gets louder when he gets excited.

Soon after this they left to be out of range of the mammoth animals. A notification came over the sound box in the truck. When they came upon another location instructions were passed along that it was now time to go and resume the tour. The backtrack via a different route began. Mekkar pointed out a sight to the east. It was the highest mountain on the continent, Kilimanjaro. Mekkar was not a mountain climber and had no desire to he would only observe the peak’s majesty from a reasonable distance. He would let the handheld field glasses amplify and focus the view of the famous mountain.

They were moving at a rapid pace to their next destination. Mekkar felt it was pretty amazing to view animals such as giraffes, etc. in the wildlife preserve with the Kenyan capital skyline silhouetted against the setting sun. It was then only quick jaunt to Nairobi nearby to fly out to unnamed locations northward.