An Elephant Dust-up

I love this little five-photo series of two young-ish elephants having a little dust-up over a watering hole. (For those unfamiliar with the term “dust-up” it means a quarrel or argument.) I like using it here for obvious reasons. The dust they kick up helps capture the motion between the photos, as the elephant on the right chases the other one away.

Elephant Dust-Up 1Elephant Dust-Up 2

Look at those ears! All flared out in indignation. My watering hole! Mine!! All mine!!!Elephant Dust-Up 3Elephant Dust-Up 4Elephant Dust-Up 5

These photos were taken at Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.

 

Answer to the “mystery bird” photo in my last blog: that was an African Jicana, common to southern Africa.

 

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So, what’s it like camping in the African bush?

The safari companies treat you well, that’s for sure. Despite the relative roughness of our campsite in the Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta, it was our favorite place of all the accommodations. bedsThe cots were very comfortable, the tents breezy, and fresh water drawn for you from the river every morning…all nice & warmed up to wash your face. They’d even heat up the afternoon shower water delivery but, trust me, in that heat and after a day’s activities, it was so much more refreshing to stand underneath a cool shower.shower (Those poor guys – carrying all those buckets back and forth from the river!)

Then, of course, there was our outhouse bathroom – attached to the back of the tent so we didn’t have to go outside at night.

Oh, and to show you just how warm it was, here’s a picture taken by our fellow traveler Xandra, of a thermometer her and her mom had up in their tent. This was late afternoon – after the “room” had been neatened up and the staff zipped up all the flaps. (We never figured out why they did that – we just unzipped everything when we got back to cool the tent back down.)

outhouse

temp

tents

 

Please visit “Books and travelling with Lynn”

As part of the SPFBO (details here) all the bloggers taking part have been assigned 30 books. By the end of a six month period the aim is to choose one book to put forward into the next stage. So, I’m aiming to check out 5 books a month. My list first appears here and I’ve picked and […]

via #SPFBO Spotlight : the second set of books.. — Books and travelling with Lynn

The (free) talebone is connected to the…

Reminder: Find my free audio horror story “Talebones” at the Thrills & Mystery podcast! Narrated by Xina Marie Uhl.

Excerpt:

“The bones do not lie.” The oracle’s strong voice belied her many years. “They are the purest parts of us, the strongest. When our voices have been silenced, only our bones can speak for us.” The oracle had spoken these words many times and had mastered the technique of projecting her voice so it sounded like it was issuing from the scattered bones themselves. It never failed to impress the crowds, except for Meela who knew the secret to such petty tricks herself.

Check out more of my creepy  gruesome work on Amazon Kindle. You’ll be scared…uh…glad you did!   (5 star reviews!)

SkinAndBones3_forBlog

 

Thrills & Mystery Podcast (free horror story this week!)

“Finger bones and toe bones rattled inside the oracle’s shaking fist, clacking and clinking as if the bones themselves were angry. When she opened her hand, the pieces fell from between her fingers like heavy raindrops in a thunderstorm.”

Click below to listen Xina Marie Uhl narrate my horror short story “Talebones” and learn if Meela can win justice for her murdered mother….

Cover for 'Thrills and Mystery Podcast - Season 1'

And then visit Amazon Kindle for more stories:

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Free audio story (this week only!)

On this week’s Thrills and Mystery podcast, my ‪horror‬ story “Talebones” http://bit.ly/1ScjQQq Give it a listen for free! And let the dread seep through your own bones. Then go buy my ‘Skin and Bones’ story collection on Amazon Kindle (where you’ll find the written version of “Talebones”)

SkinAndBones3_forBlog

http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Bones-Janet-Loftis-ebook/dp/B00E19DQHA/

5-star  reviews!

For the world is hollow, and I have touched the Sky (City)….

West of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America: Acoma Pueblo. Sky_CityThe 367-foot sandstone bluff is visible from miles away, but ageless adobe houses nearly blend into the top of the mesa. The Acoma settled here in approximately 1150 A.D. – for defensive reasons as the story goes – and although the majority of the tribe now lives on the reservation land surrounding the mesa, 50 or so tribal members still live here in their sky city. There is no running water, no electricity, and no sewers. That’s the way they like it. Many of those who remain are elderly, we were told, or just don’t care for the hustle and noise of city life. Some of them are painters or weavers or potters who are maintaining their traditional arts. (And they do beautiful work – while some of them take credit cards – really, just take a bunch of cash with you – it’s easier.)

Because the people value their privacy, the pueblo is not open to visitors except for organized tours, led by a tribal guide. After stopping at the cultural center down below – which also houses a museum and gift shop – you are taken up in groups by shuttle bus driven along the road you have to thank Hollywood for. Until Hollywood fell in love with New Mexico, there was only a “staircase” of sorts carved into the cliff face. But to make movies, they need equipment, and equipment needs roads. So now the tribe uses the road as part of their tourist infrastructure. (We had the opportunity to take the, uh, “stairs” back down the mesa after the tour was over. Some of our group did, but I declined. Too close to the beginning of the trip for me to trash a knee or ankle.) Ladder_cropped

There is no wandering wherever you want, no walking into people’s homes. We saw few people besides our guide and the artists displaying their wares. And a dog.

The colors in Sky City are muted: shades of brown and white against the blue sky. It seemed somehow fitting, because the history of the Pueblo is not all pleasant. No, it wasn’t like a somber funeral procession or something, nor did we feel anger or bitterness. Our guide was funny, entertaining, and informative. She spoke of having “the best of two worlds” (of getting to choose which parts of Catholicism to blend with their native beliefs, or getting to choose whether she was in her world or in ours).

She showed us the traditional adobe ovens still in use, the patched-many-times-over walls of their homes (if you look closely you can see bits of old pots embedded in the mud).adobe_oven

Then there was the San Esteban del Rey Mission (1640). In the Spaniards bid to convert the natives, Acoma men were forced to build it. Some of them are still present we were told: buried in the walls. And that bell you see in the photo below. They didn’t want it. But they were made to pay for the bell anyway – with their children. It wasn’t the first time children had been taken from them (never to be seen again).

You won’t see photos of the inside of the church (beautifully restored!) – it is not permitted. church_bellNor will you see photos of the graveyard which sits between the church and the edge of the cliff. It not only represents yet another feat of architectural engineering they accomplished on top of this bluff (no road to haul up all that dirt), but another way in which they were forced to accept a foreign custom: burying their dead. There is little room left in the graveyard. From now on, only the elders can be buried there.

But that is not to say there will be no other arrivals. On the far wall, overlooking that abrupt drop-off to the valley floor, there is a hole. It is for the souls of their children. Those the Spanish took away, the ones they have no idea what ever happened to. There will always be room for those children’s spirits to return to their people. It may take a long time for the spirits to find their way home, but they will always be welcomed.