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I Don't Like Bats....at Kanga

sunny 22 °F

I don’t like bats. Any bats; bats in the belfry, bats in our attic, bats when I walk the dog at night, bats in the bedroom...not any kind of bat. And all that nonsense about how cute they are; faces like a small fox (I don’t much like foxes either; they remind me of bats), they won’t hurt you, won’t come near you, won’t drink your blood, people keep them as pets, they eat mosquitos...blah blah blah.

My phobia (cemented when a 'professional' attempt to rid me of my fear went spectacularly pear-shaped as "lovely" Eric the Fruit Bat wrapped his leather-like wings around my face as his claws slipped off my arm) had not occurred to me as I sat, vodka and tonic in hand, looking out at Kanga Pan in the World Heritage Site Mana Pools National Park, watching a solitary elephant also having his sun-downer, and chanced to look up into the magnificent Mahogany tree spread umbrella-like over Camp’s dining table. DON’T ASK ME WHY I DID IT. I DON’T KNOW. And there they were; thousands of the damn things, hanging upside down, just waiting to swoop, tangle their claws in my hair, crawl inside my shirt and have a suck at my neck. No...I don’t know what kind of bat they were. I didn’t ask.

It’s embarrassing when you shriek for a reason that patently is not obvious to your dining companions, one of whom you recently learnt is to be your Guide for the next six days. I instantly saw it going through his mind; “Oh, Good Lord. Why have you sent me this one?” Dilemma? Do I confess to my inherent terror of these things swaying in the gentle African breeze a mere four feet above my head or keep schtum and fabricate a leg-creeping bug. I might have pulled it off if things hadn’t changed. The shriek was clearly a macabre signal. They were flying everywhere in ecstatic glee; swooping off branches, out over the water, back again, around the table (could they go under too?), up onto their perches. Their little pointed teeth might even have been showing whilst they laughed (ok, I made that last bit up).

Reader...I fear I let the side down. British stiff upper lip? Not a chance. “I’m SO sorry but I really don’t like bats,” I told him, wondering if a wee tear might help. If he knew the teenage expression, “Go figure” now was his chance.

But, you know what, our 6ft 3ins Zimbabwean guide Fisher (no relation...honestly), just gave me that smile I was to come to recognize over the following week and I knew it would be alright. Clearly he knew a potential-hysteric when he met one and knew normal 'bat-platitudes' would have fallen on deaf ears!

Posted by haveyoubeenyet 06:18 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged elephant guide bats kanga fisher world_heritage_site mana_pools sun-downers chitake_springs

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Comments

Ugh! Bats, I agree! Bats and sharks, you didn't see any sharks in that tree, did you?

by Dorothy McGuinness

No, sharks but plenty of crocs around!

by haveyoubeenyet

Not in the tree you understand!!

by haveyoubeenyet

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