I was hard at work on my computer, critiquing the short films of youjizz.com, when a strange email arrived in my inbox. It was from Pete, an old college friend. Subject line: “Have you ever wanted to high-five a gorilla?” Not since my Dad’s infamous “kinda like bukkake” message had an email’s subject so intrigued me.
Pete was looking for someone to join him on a trip to Africa, where he planned on “gorilla tracking.” This consists of going into the jungle, finding gorillas, and hanging out with them, a.k.a., crazy white people shit. Sounded like fun.
I used my frequent flyer miles to purchase a ticket and prepared for the trip by getting the necessary vaccinations, anti-malaria pills, and ugly, never-to-be-worn-again hiking boots. Then, the day after I wrapped recording of my Comedy Central Records debut at the Sacramento Punchline, I headed to Africa, full of excitement and pot brownie-fueled paranoia.
The flight to Kenya was long, but the time passed quickly due to a combination of ambien, discussing jazz with the guy next to me, and an embarrassingly tearful viewing of “Toy Story 3.”
Upon landing in Nairobi, I focused all of my attention on two crucial and immediate tasks at hand. Number one: drop a number two. Number two: find Pete. He was the only person I knew on the entire continent, he’d made all of our internal travel arrangements, and if we somehow missed each other, I’d be pretty well fucked.
Airports in general are very chaotic places. I had no idea what might await me in an African airport. Visions raced through my head of being mistaken for an albino and kidnapped, my body parts sold on the black market as talismans to ward off pussy. To my ignorant American surprise, the airport was actually quite manageable, the people very friendly and helpful, and within minutes of my deuce drop, I ran into Pete waiting in line at customs.
We spent that first night in a mosquito-ridden hotel in Nairobi. The next morning, our guide arrived to take us to the Masai Mara game reserve, where we’d spend the next couple days on safari before heading to Uganda for gorilla tracking. We rode in a full-sized van equipped with off roading tires and a pop up roof so we could get clear views of the park’s animals from the safety of our own vehicle.
Because I’m a quasi-employed pseudo-artist who slangs dick jokes for chicken wings, Pete was forced to sign us up for a pretty budget safari, which meant we might have to share the van with strangers once we got to the park. Fortunately, it was the low season, and we ended up having the van all to ourselves, thereby avoiding awkward conversations with the weird old Europeans who tend to go on this type of trip.
We entered the reserve, and within minutes we came across all kinds of animals.
A definite highlight was seeing this baby elephant only a couple days after its birth.
As I filmed this clip, I knew I was capturing something magical. The cuteness of this tiny pachyderm could rival that of even the greatest youtube cat videos. I fantasized about using this adorable footage to my advantage, persuading women to come back to my apartment for a private viewing. “So, you want to see a baby elephant?” I’d ask, with a sly raise of my left eyebrow as I closed the door to my room. Then, I’d drop my pants, revealing a cock ring festooned with grey, floppy ears. I’d let loose a quick fart, replicating the trumpet of the mighty elephant’s trunk, and then, she would be mine. This is what I thought about when I should have been enjoying my brief time watching actual elephants. I’ve got to learn to live in the moment.
Of all the animals we saw, my favorite was the giraffe. Because while the lions looked like hulked out house cats, the wart hogs and zebras like eccentric punk cousins of the pig and the horse, the giraffes were complete originals. The only frame of reference I had for an animal of that size and shape was the brontosaurus in “Jurassic Park.”
At one point, our guide drove near a giraffe, prompting it to start running alongside our van. It was amazing seeing this huge animal gallop next to us, its outsized legs extending in a ridiculous and graceful spastic sprawl. Unfortunately, it was so amazing that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture or film it, but I did find some footage on youtube that should give a pretty good sense of what I saw, we were actually moving right next to the giraffe.
Since most of the animals come out at dawn and dusk, we had some time to kill midday, so we decided to go on a hike in the hills near our camp guided by a real-life Masai warrior.
After the hike, we went back to the game reserve one last time. As we drove through the savannah, observing animals and drinking beers, Pete and I caught up on our lives since college by exchanging crazy stories. Pete had done some intense “adventure” traveling, having braved Alaskan backcountry, Cambodian jungles and the Australian outback without a guide, and he had lots of good tales to tell from those trips. My stories, on the other hand, all dealt with strange women I’d been involved with. We realized we both share an adventurer’s spirit; we just differ in the type of adventures we enjoy. He likes to explore rarely frequented wildernesses. I prefer overly frequented vaginas. Both are life risking and thrilling, but for opposite reasons.
The next day we packed up our camp, and headed back to Nairobi to catch our flight to Uganda. We didn’t know it then, but by the end of our time there, we would both have another crazy story to tell.