Journal Journeys: The ‘Chui’ (Guest Post)

This Journal Journey isn’t mine: it’s what my brother, Neel, wrote. I have one on the same topic but I really liked his and hey, sibling love!

So you may be wondering what a chui is. Well… whilst on our trip to Africa, we had the good fortune to see a mammal which we couldn’t identify. After extensive research, it was revealed that it was a new species of a new genus and we called it the chui, which means ‘lucky’ in Swahili. Its scientific name is Somewhere upatreeus.

Ok, fine, I’m lying through my teeth.

What we actually saw was a leopard– ‘chui’ is its name in Swahili. (‘Simba’ is lion. Looks like the Lion King was right in some aspects after all.) This was an amazing spotting: leopards are the hardest creatures of the Big 5 (which, by the way, I feel there’s too much focus on but am not going to rant about right now) to spot in Africa.

Well, without further ado, let me present my brother’s Journal Journey!

Thursday, 17th of July, 2014

We were getting closer and closer to the end of our first safari. I was very disappointed. We had not seen anything but a few rhinos in the distance. But I wanted to see the rhinos up close.

Our uncle had his hopes up on seeing a leopard(s), but leopards are extremely shy, which makes them extremely hard to see. Leopards are like a person playing video games in their room. You barely even see them.

Our car looked like it was turning back because sundown was coming very soon. We were driving back, and I was slouching, looking to the left. Our car was suddenly next to a bunch of other cars. Something must have happened.

I took my shoes off, and stood up on my seat and looked to the right. And you ask me what I saw? I saw a leopard walking majestically, one paw in front of the other paw. The leopard’s tail was wagging from side to side.

I looked at my uncle and asked him whether he was happy or not. He was, and that is all that mattered to me.

I kept on looking at the leopard very closely as it drew closer and closer to a tree. I was wondering if it would climb up the tree. It inspected the tree, but then decided not to scale it. It started walking, and it soon disappeared into green grasslands further and further away. Even though the leopard was a shy creature, it knew that Neel needed to see one.

A few seconds later, a few more cars came to where the leopard was. It had gone. And just then, I realized just how lucky I was.


Note: Because I always need the last word (of course), I just want to say something about this image. So what happened was that the undergrowth was really thick that this leopard was walking through, and it was walking pretty fast, so all my shots ended up as being either blurry or just plain bad. I kept clicking and clicking and clicking, and it was only when I reviewed my pictures I realized I had only one half-way decent one: this.

Monochrome Madness: Serenely Dozing

Monochrome Madness: Serenely DozingLast week I had the pleasure of participating in Leanne Cole’s weekly Monochrome Madness challenge. While I don’t have the equipment to shoot directly in black and white, I do, however, have a computer. Looking through my old photographs, I realized that while we are often so focused on color, black and white concentrates attention wonderfully on the subject and its surroundings.

This spotting itself was pretty awesome. We had exited Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, having just missed a tiger. When I say just, I mean just– one jeep had turned left, one jeep had turned right. One jeep saw the tiger– the other didn’t.

But then, outside the gate, news came of a leopard. Our guide, Phillip Ross, an amazing wildlife photographer and teacher, had been visiting Kabini for so long that it only took a word with the forest marshals to let us back in. He told us not to raise our hopes. I’ll never forget that ride to where the leopard was. We were driving at breakneck speeds, my hair was blowing everywhere, and everyone had this ecstatic look on their face. I may or may not have let out a maniacal laugh born out of pure joy.

And when we saw the leopard– well. Let the picture speak for itself.