When I was spending New Years Day down on the coast it reminded me of another time on the beach, though that time at Lake Tanganyika. My wife Teena and I were the managers of Greystroke Mahale Camp where we first met Alan and his wife, Diane. This is where Alan and I discovered our shared love of kayaking.
The weather was dry and the chimpanzees had come down to the lakeshore to drink. Some were sitting around on the verandahs of the lodge – taking the sales phrase of barefoot luxury a little too literally I felt. A warthog was trundling hopefully along the surfline when one of the recent batch of tectonic after-shocks in the area rumbled through the air. The chimps took to their heels (don’t quote me, that may not be anatomically correct), screeching with fright. Some of our guests followed suit but realized they weren’t such good climbers.
A crocodile decided to come and see if there were less vibrations on our beach than his. Some clients who we took boating saw a hippo come up and yawn with such perfection that they thought I had staged it (think Disneyland’s fiberglass Jaws if you can’t appreciate the perfection of a hippos yawn).
It was a perfect day followed by a perfect moonlit beach dinner. It is at this time that lodge guests often ask what our worst clients are like… on this particular day we decided to drop the professionalism (it was a public holiday after all) and tell them. And so ensued a game of Murder Mystery where the victims were our worst clients… I think it was Mrs. Scarlet with the anchor chain in the lake.