Tuesday, March 2, 2010

more South African birds and more musings...

So here are some more of my favorite South African birds and, as usual, the images are not mine (see web addresses below).

The one with the red belly is a crimson-breasted shrike and I love him.   His Latin name is Laniarius atrococcineus.   I saw him regularly when I was with my original host family, about 8 hours north east of where I now live.  I miss him.

Beside him is the crowned lapwing, or Vanellus coronatus.  I see this guy where I live now. He likes open areas and I usually can see a few of them feeding in my school's soccer field in the morning.  He stands about 20 inches tall and when I first look out into the field, if there are a lot of them, I mistakenly think there is a group of dogs on the soccer field.  I like his red legs.

The nicely posed gray bird is the Grey Go Away bird and his Latin name is Corythaixoides concolor.  I don't see this one in my area now, and too, saw him in my original host family's area and I saw him again in an area northwest of Pretoria.  He supposedly makes a sound that "says" "go away, go away."  But I think he sounds like a carnival wheel that has hit a bad note.  I loved finding this bird perched in trees or in a Euphorbia because he reminds me of those kinds of birds I've only ever seen in a zoo. 

And then the red-faced mousebird, or Urocolius indicus.  This one lives in my area and for some reason, he likes to perch on chain-linked fences.  I sit under the pepper trees by the tennis court in the evenings just to watch him perch there.

And lastly, the African grey hornbill, or Tockus nasutus.  This guy makes a terrible racket.  I met him when I visited friends in the area northwest of Pretoria and he was obnoxiously noisy.  Remember the dog, Peanut?  (I snapped a picture of him with his eyes closed and it looked as though he was smiling?)  He would bark his head off when these guys flew over. They are in my area too, and once I was talking to my mom on the phone when they flew over.  She said, "What was that?"  The sound they make is indescribable, but it is definitely unpleasant.

So, no pretty pics to share today so I thought I'd find some on-line of my bird-pals.

And random things I've wanted to chime in on:

privacy: 1) the state of being able to be alone, and not seen or heard by other people; 2) the state of being free from public attention. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

me: I have no privacy.

Did you know that you can "clean" your stomach of parasitic worms by eating certain foods?  Neither did I!  Neil Orr and David Patient of Positive Health suggest the following:

A handful of raw or roasted pumpkin seeds cleans many worms and parasites from your stomach.

A raw carrot a day...

Papaya leaves, dried and crushed then sprinkled over your food (like pepper)...  Or pour boiling water over a half a papaya leaf then drink like tea...

Two to three cloves of raw garlic a day... Or you can substitute onions, but onions aren't as effective...  (91-2).

So, I'm eating a raw carrot a day. Also I'm eating the onions, but not many.  I could eat the garlic but the resulting smell I would emanate would have South Africans ferrying me to the next plane to the States. 

Oh, I have to tell this story.  My worry-worts are likely to be rattled, but it's a great story. 

One day early last week, a group of young men woke me very early in the morning (around 3 or 4 a.m.) because they had gathered, as a group, outside of the hostel (hostel is what they call dormitories here) and were singing, whistling, and in general, making all kinds of loud noise.

Now, the last time a group of young men started singing so early in the morning, there was a student protest beginning and they set things on fire.  So, I was somewhat alarmed but could see nothing burning, so tried to go back to sleep.

I later learned, (hang on to your hats worry worts!), that the gentleman had found a snake in their hostel and were making noise to "confuse it and drive it away."  Apparently, this is a Tswana custom.

Now, I'm sure you are all freaking out by now.  The snake in question WAS NOT INSIDE MY HOSTEL. It was inside the men's hostel across the parking lot. 

Remember some photos from awhile back, that showed cattails growing 20 feet high?  I mentioned how well things were growing out of the effluent, and was sharply warned to stay away from the effluent?  That I had heard a "splash" over in that area, where the plants seemed vibrant and happy?  Hmmm, let's see...  Standing water, lush overgrowth... If I were a snake, that's where I'd want to be!!  And that is where the snake was: in the hostel that borders the wet, lush, overgrowth.

My hostel's border is dry and well kept. No snake would ever want to live in my hostel.

But isn't that a great story?  That the Tswana people come together as a crowd to make noise and confuse the snake?  I thought so.

And now, with living on my own, I'm getting on my own last nerve.  I've found that it's easy, when living with others, how the blame of irritating circumstances can be easily passed along to others.  For example, when wondering whose pee is collecting under the toilet seat?   It's my pee that collects under the toilet seat.  All of the stacks of books and papers lying around, the ones that I was proud of seeing in the film Sylvia?  (See, all great writers keep stacks of books and papers lying around!)  All of my stacks of books and papers lying around are on my last nerve.  Do I really need all FIVE pairs of my shoes out of the closet and lying about?  And it really is nice to have someone help with the cooking and doing the dishes.

I think that's enough for now.  I'm killing time before my class starts at 4:30.  grr.

Soon, Karen


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