Sunday, March 21, 2010


We went on an extended family trip to Safari West last weekend. It's in Santa Rosa, north of Napa. I had never been there before but had heard about it for years. The trip was a Christmas gift from my in-laws . . . it included a jeep tour, dinner and an overnight stay in a luxury tent cabin.

When I was a kid, not much older than Daisy, my family went on safari in Kenya. It was the first trip we took when we moved overseas, and the memories are still in brilliant technicolor. I don't think there's a trip to Africa in my kids' near future, but I like to keep an open mind. In the meantime, Safari West is pretty good.

The kids were not sure what to think when we arrived.

The first part of the tour was on foot.

The guide told us what these small deer-like animals are but I can't remember what she said . . . I was distracted because I ran into Madison's parents when we were waiting for our tour to begin. Madison is my bff from childhood. We lost touch for a while then reconnected a few years ago. I've been meaning to see her parents, and it was surreal to run into them here.

The cheetahs were tense, pacing nervously, like they were dying to take off in a sprint. Seeing a real cheetah is a dream fulfilled for Daisy, my 6-year-old. She stood transfixed in front of them for a long time. She wore a cheetah costume for about a year. I even kept it in the car, so she could put it on whenever she felt her cheetah side coming out.

We got in a modified jeep from the Korean War, purchased on eBay for $1, and drove through the giraffe area. You can see the tent cabins in the background.

Here's the old pimp daddy giraffe who fathered many of the babies around here. One of his baby mamas was kissing on him but he didn't seem that into it.

Violet came for the zebras but fell in love with the rhinos. Every other sentence had rhino in it for the rest of the trip. I woke up the next morning to her about an inch from my face, calmly repeating "I like rhinos outside" about 30 times. It sounded like that Number 9 Beatles song.

Masai cows from East Africa. I was going to say they're well-endowed horn-wise but I try to avoid making lame comments like that.

Here's what I was looking at for most of the jeep tour.

Then there was this ostrich. There was one ostrich roaming at the time of the tour. It seemed like she was around every corner.

She stopped this jeep by throwing herself in front of it.

We were told to watch out because she can peck at you, and she got too damn close. There was something not right about her. Later from the safety of our tents, we could see her peering at us from the other side of the fence. I guess I really don't like ostriches that much. Or maybe it's just this one.

Dinner was like a good barbecue at a friend's, but at something like $30 a head, BYOB. There was a magic show after dinner. Violet who's usually quiet in large groups of people became a full-on heckler during the show. She repeatedly bellowed, "Mommy, when is it my urn?" from the front row.  I was sitting a few rows back. Finally, the magician asked, "You know magic?" Violet nodded then said "I need to go peepee." She got a good laugh from the audience and once she got a taste of that, she was on fire. She kept turning around for a thumb's up . . . first one thumb, then two, then doing the wave with her thumbs, then doing some kind of disco move, shouting, "Mommy look! Look over here!" She wouldn't stop until I did the same thing back. She was the uninvited comic relief. I don't think the magician was loving it. I eventually swooped her up and left.

It was cold when we got back to the tent from dinner, so the kids got into bed to play barbies. I got into bed with a glass of chardonnay and about 50 magazines. It was my best electric blanket experience ever.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun! And ostriches are way scary. I don't know what it is about them, but they just look evil. lol