I am woken in the night by a bird. I don’t know if it is the same kiewiet still pissed off at our trespass from earlier that night, but the bird says, “wer wer WERRRR, wer wer WERRRR, wer wer WERRRR.” Well that’s annoying, I think, and roll over, pressing the pillow to my ear. Soon, “wer wer WERRRR, wer wer WERRRR, wer wer WERRRR” is accompanied by a shriller, clicky voice: “Tka tka tka.” As I lay there a rhythm emerges and I kind of get into it. For the next ten minutes I let my mind drift away on “wer wer WERRRR (tka tka tka), wer wer WERRRR (tka tka tka), wer wer WERRRR (tka tka tka)…”
And then, like some douchebag at a rave blowing on that whistle like there’s no tomorrow, a third bird joins in. Now it’s all off-kilter: “ wer TWEET wer WERRRR TWEET TWEET (tka TWEET tka tka), TWEET wer wer WERRRR…” You can totally tell the first two birds are mad, too, because they replace their singing sounds with squawking sounds and the resulting morass sounds exactly like a domestic would, in the bird world.
Now I am awake and I have to pee something fierce, so I get up and make my way, gingerly, to the staircase, a steep and banister-less affair.
As I pick my way down the stairs, hugging the wall, the hounds awaken. The scrabble of nails on stone gives way to panting and huffing in the dark. I can hear Karin’s sleepy voice shushing them in Afrikaans. I make it to the bathroom doorway and manage to shut the dogs out. You know how sometimes it’s hard to pee when you think someone is listening? Now try it when there are two slavering Rottweilers snuffling at the bathroom door. I am in there for ages.
The next morning I wake up to wolves howling. As a climb back into consciousness I realize it’s the Rotties. Diego is leading the group with a big, full “Arooo” and the other two are harmonizing their hearts out. I get up and pad downstairs. A crawly thing (lizard?) skitters across the wall behind the fridge which makes me pull all of my limbs in and up away from the floor in an incredibly girlish way, and I run on tip toes into the bathroom. I have a glorious bath and watch the sun rise in the sky. It is my second day in Africa.