What's the link between blogs, elephant stew and travel?
Blogs, Elephants and Travel
There's a link between blogs and travel or blogs and elephant stew but all three? I'll tell you what the connection is - at least, my version of it.
We started traveling long before blogs were started. There was no Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn. We didn’t even have selfie sticks. Oh, wait, we did have a form of social media. It was postcards! It took a while though, to get to the other person. If you were conscientious you would jot down snippets of the highlights of your travel on notebooks or journals. Some of those journals were bound in leather and are probably now collector’s items, if they’re from famous travelers. I never had the intention of doing that . My journal was the 'few' photographs I took which I then put into a photo album if I was seriously industrious. That happened for the first couple of years.
Not my choice of transport
As our travels continued and we usually developed the film – yes – those funny rolled up tubes of transparent film. They made you look all spooky if you peered at the negatives of yourselves after they'd been developed. We printed the photos, drooled over them and reminisced about the fun or adventures we had. They stayed in the little envelopes they were placed in after they were developed – you know, those ones with Fuji or Kodak printed on them. Soon we realised those photo albums would need a room of their own for storage because they were piling up.
Periodically we bored our family and friends with entertaining tales about our trip, at least, that is what we thought. We were convinced they would love to hear about them. They unquestionably rolled their eyes and changed the topic when we discussed anything about them. You see, I watched them closely and saw their reactions.
More my style
In our later travels, we changed to digital cameras. That made life so much easier, because you created a file and just plonked the photos in there. I think we started off with a hard drive containing about 250MB and today? Well, the biggest external hard drive we have at the moment is 2TB. Quite a difference.
It wasn’t long before I realised that if our family and friends didn’t want to listen to our travel stories, I could create another audience.
I’m passionate about traveling and touring. Whether it be long trips or short trips. During those times we indeed had some interesting moments because a selective few people had a good chuckle or they glared at us with wide eyes and a gaping mouth. Maybe they were just being kind to us.
At the crossroads
I thought it time to spread a web and let our stories pounce around in the global cloud on their own routes.
The only problem was if I wanted to tell all our travel tales, those old photos were either grainy or faded. Some of them even stuck to the sticky surface between the plastic cover and the page in the photo albums. I persevered and scanned a few into a digital format. Voila! I could attach them to my blogs.
Some curios along the way
The next thing was to write about our travels, because I’d found a new passion. I love telling stories. Some are fact and some are fiction. The travel stories obviously are fact and later I will expose you to some of my fiction stories.
I didn’t have a clue how to build a website and found a communal travel blogging website, did some homework and started there. That was the beginning of my blogging career.
Naturally I got greedy. I wanted a webpage of my own. I dreamed about this for years; made notes, hinted about it amongst my family and eventually one of my sons must have rolled his eyes and bought me my domain name. He initiated my webpage on Squarespace and then threw me in the deep end and said: ‘There you go, mom. You wanted it – you do it!’
I’m now three months into my webpage and it’s still a huge learning curve. I’m tackling this blog page like one would make an Elephant stew.
How do you cook an elephant?
Here’s my take of the recipe if anyone is interested.
(Disclaimer: This is a joke. We love our animals. Yes, people have been known to cook elephants. I am a firm believer that you only hunt for the pot or out of necessity. We need to continue protecting our elephants in their natural habitat which could be on a game reserve or park, private or national. Elephants do need to be culled from time to time, though, as too many of them can wreak havoc if there are too many of them in those areas.) This is a tongue in cheek recipe which I hope will make you smile as I'm sure there are far easier ways to cook an elephant.
Serves about 3,500 servings
Preparation time: 2 to 3 months but could take longer
2 litres of olive oil
1 wheelbarrow of onions (don’t be stingy, fill the barrow till it overflows)
20 cloves of garlic
100 kilograms of tomatoes
half a ton of potatoes
10 kilograms of salt
3 kilograms of pepper
10 litres of vinegar – preferably balsamic
15 litres of chutney – a vital South African ingredient – no potjie is complete without it
4 Guinea fowl (if expecting a bigger crowd)
2 hares (optional)
5 bottles of Pinotage – (reserve four for drinking)
Set a trap for the Guinea fowl – this will save time. If you’re short on time, it is advisable to set a trap for the warthog too. Once the traps are set, hunt the elephant. This could take a while, considering you might have to evade anti-poaching rangers and possibly even poachers too. If you get detained, by the time you’re released, the warthog and Guinea fowl should be safely trapped. Hang Guinea fowl to ripen and marinade the warthog in one litre of olive oil. Return to hunting the elephant. This time you should have the necessary evasive skills to succeed. Make sure to preserve the tusks and take them straight to the police station after you’ve cooked the elephant or you may be detained again.
Cut elephant into edible chunks. This will take about 3 weeks if you’re handy with a knife. Boil the elephant, keeping the flames going under the base of the pot. You may need a 200 litre drum or two. This process will take approximately 4 weeks. Just before the elephant is tender, brown the warthog and add to the elephant stew. Boil for another two days. In a separate black pot, brown the onion and garlic, add this and the rest of the ingredients including the guinea fowl to the elephant stew and boil for another day. You should now have a rich, tasty stew. For the final touch you may add the rabbit and boil for a few more hours but this is entirely optional as most people don’t like to find hare in their stew.
Back to blogging
It’s still a huge learning curve for me but I’m having a great time, writing my stories, connecting with strangers and getting comments via the various social media platforms. I’m learning new things by the day and at the same time I can dream about new destinations and reminisce about all our previous travels with their great memories.
Someone asked me how I remember everything. I have the memory of that elephant that you may want to cook. Once you start writing, it opens the flood gates and the photos jog the memory as well. I may not remember all the finer details as I would for a more recent trip. Naturally I now make notes about that on anything that I can lay my hands on – my cell phone, iPad or notebook (the old fashioned variety). Even the odd serviette.
With this blog I’ve added a few photos of some of our travels for future blogs yet to come. To further clear my name, there are some of my numerous encounters with elephants. As everyone in my family knows, I love and respect elephants. I think they are intelligent, intuitive and even astute.