I think one of the things that really appeals to me about lions is that they give the outward appearance of being quite cuddly while they would, in fact, rip your head off in a trice!
I don’t believe I would ever be one of those people who imagines that they can make friends with a lion. You know the type, we hear about them on the news occasionally when the friendship making goes horribly, and predictably, wrong.
Drunk people breaking into zoos seems to feature in this category, as do people who step out of landrovers to have their pictures taken with the lions in the background!!
I saw a brilliant documentary recently about Joy Adams and her husband (John??) and the story behind the book (and film) Born Free. With the Adam’s help the actors shot the film in amongst the various lions which of course makes it look as if the lions are genuinely tame.
One of these lions was called ‘Boy’ and he subsequently tried to eat the young son of one of his guardians. Then, some years later, he did eat an African man who was a part of the ‘lion team’.
On the other hand there is the story of Christian the lion which, if you watch the youtube footage, will make you cry. And who couldn’t love Clarence? It would be very hard to be afraid of a cross-eyed anything, even if it was a savage beast of the Serengeti.
Still, if I ever fulfill this goal and see a lion at close quarters I hope I will be smart enough to remember that, in their eyes, I resemble little more than a chicken Jalfarezei with pilau rice and an onion bargee.
A friend of mine was leaving Dublin to go back to his family in London over the weekend having been on a job here for the past few months. So a small group of us met at the Odessa club on sunday morning for a farewell brunch. As we were chatting about life the universe and everything he reminded me of the time i was out at his place in Richmond, London some years ago. We were wandering through Richmond park when he pointed to a scene several hundred yards away. “Look at that”, he says, “its one of the Richmond Park Lions”. Sure enough, in the distance, was a huge tan beast sitting some feet away from a man in a deerstalker hat, armed with a large stick. He explained that the park (which is a huge, rolling park which is quite wild in appearance) was home to three lions each of which had their own personal keeper and that the stick the keeper was carrying was in fact a stun gun, in case the lion got out of hand. I was absolutely astounded by this sight and suggested we go closer but Anthony said he would rather not as he was “quite nervous around the lions”.
I fell for it; hook, line and sinker. It was in fact a large dog in the company of his owner who was carrying a walking stick. Lions in Richmond Park! What a putz I am. Anthony of course laughed his hole off for hours afterwards. I had forgotten all about it untill he brought it up yesterday. But I wonder if this is where I got the desire to actually see a real lion?
I met a girl over the weekend who had been in Kenya a couple of years ago on a job and spent some time on the Masai Mara, “on safari and all that” She was saying that the very visible tourist culture somewhat took away from the majesty of it all. I can understand that. Seeing a lion in the wild should preclude a dozen landrovers stuffed with camera wielding europeans hogging the atmosphere. I hope if i ever get to see something like this, that there is a sense of me watching a group of lions and not a lion watching a group of mes.
Saw a sea-lion at the zoo the other day. Dont suppose that counts. I wasnt actually IN the zoo, just passing by and peeked through a fence.
Planning a safari in 08. when i say planning a safari i mean that i am planning to plan a safari in 08. I believe its very expensive so i will have to do some serious lateral thinking or else start earning some serious money. Either way, them lions are gonna get seen! Just see if they dont.
As i get a bit older I’m begining to realise that the small bit of the world that I live in is actually not bordered by invisible bars and if i want to go somewhere- anywhere- I can. All the brilliant things in the world are out there and all we have to do to see them is…well, go and see them. I can think of lots of groovey things that I want to see and a lion is one of them. Going to the states in march / april. Working from april to august, so how about a trip to africa in sept? Why not? Just have to practice positioning myself downwind of things.