Saturday, July 21, 2007

The croc man and friends.

Decided to get out of the big smoke for a couple of days as its so damn cold at this time of year and we headed for the coast. Thing is all it really did since we got there is rain! Anyway - shouldn't complain really - at least its fairly warm rain! Mind you - we've had given up club chukkas to sit in this grey drizzle - so i did have some times over the weekend where i wish perhaps we'd stayed home! However change of scene probably did us lots of good so i should be grateful for that.

Seeing as all its really did is rain for 90% of the day, some failed sandcastle attempts and a few games of noughts and crosses on the beach is all we really achieved - but we decided to put a little excitement into our Saturday afternoon and take a trip to the 'Crocodile Farm & Snake Park'!

Little did i know that it was run by some drunken stranger i met Friday night over dinner and he couldn't string a full sentence together!

Anyway turned out that sober he makes some kind of sense - i say 'some kind of sense' - as although he's perfectly literate today - what he has to say for himself is really quite 'off the wall'! He has hundreds of crocs as they mainly farm them for their skins. The bigger ones it seems are kept just for the happy tourists such as ourselves to admire but really i felt he had some kind of rapport with the big ones. He's named half of them - amongst which he has 'George Bush' - who had killed 4 people before he was caught, 'Lady Killer' - had killed some poor lady (funnily enough), Margaret Thatcher - who's was a portly one that was always picking a fight with the others and 'Saddam' - who had picked a fight with 'George Bush' and had come out of it with a broken jaw - so now lives with a bit of a squiff face!

There were snakes there - highly poisonous, semi-poisonous and supposedly harmless - puff adders, pythons and mambas for Africa - not my favourite - but my son thought it was all excellent entertainment and actually it's always great seeing snakes under glass - as they scare the living crap out of me any other way! I think they do shows in the hotels where they take some of the snakes and educate the tourists on which are dangerous and which not and what to look out for - probably wise as most hotels in the area have makuti (grass) roofs and the snakes love hanging out in there! There's also a famous rock python - who weighs about 15kg - that they wrap round your neck and let you hold - i of course opted for the 'no. no. you first' line - and didn't hold it at all! However that did nothing for the bravery of my son who kept insisting 'ladies first' - and because i wouldn't do it - he wouldn't either!

Anyway back to 'Mad Marc' - the 'drunken stranger' who owned the park. He had some brilliant stories - 'Marc the Hippo Killer' - 'Marc the snake catcher' - 'Marc the crocodile hunter'!

It turns out he does some work with the Kenya Wildlife Service and tracks down rogue hippos and crocs who go round the villages killing the locals and trashing their shambas (smallholdings)- in the case of the hippos. He has stories of paddling up rivers and snakes swallowing lizards twice their own size, deadly snakes caught in his neighbours kitchen and crocodiles in his own swimming pool!

Anyway 'Mad Marc' insisted we took some hippo meat back to town with us - great in stews and curries apparently - also a crocodile tail - although can't remember what gourmet delight we are to make that one into - but if we ever do I'll be sure to document it. I'm sure it'll be incredibly useful information for someone somewhere! - "What to do with a hippo leg and a croc tail that happens to look rather tasty down at the local butchers!"

Turns out his wife - a rather wild German woman with bright orange hair (- who on the night i originally met them - was even less coherent than her husband!) has the most beautiful pure bred Arab horses. She has a stallion, a mare and a 5 year old offspring who is the most beautiful horse i think I've ever seen. The young mare has never been ridden and has done nothing but hang out in her beautiful stables along with Mum and Dad - occasionally being led out with one of the others and occasionally escaping and running amok in the compound I'm sure! So that was an amazing treat - as we certainly don't see many Arab horses around these parts - ours are mainly thoroughbreds.

As we were leaving - and had of course already fallen in love with the beautiful large eyed long lashed 5 year old - they told us that they'd like to sell her! Well, now there's an offer it's going to be very hard to refuse! No idea what we could do with her - as i don't think she's any bigger than 14.1 or 14.2 hands - but she's just so lovely. We talked and talked about what we would do with her - came up with a bunch of ridiculous ideas - just for any excuse to keep her - the best scheme (thought out by me of course) - is to breed from her with a beautiful thoroughbred stallion and see if we can get the speed of the thoroughbred with the stamina and great legs of the Arab and make them into polo ponies! - Definitely worth a shot i reckon!

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