Monday, November 24, 2014

The Critters of Komodo

Hello, to my mostly faithful readers! I hope you’re all doing well so that you can continue to read my blog. If you all died, no one would read it, and then I’d be sad. Any-ways, we’ve been poking around the Komodo National park, that’s made up of about four or five big islands and lots and lots of little ones. And on these islands, there are critters of various shapes and sizes. When we pulled into our anchorage yesterday, Timor deer dotted the rocks like the chocolate chips in freshly baked cookies. 

There was big deer and little deer, brown deer and tan deer, and BABY DEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As you no doubt have assumed from the excess of exclamation marks, this fact excited me. AND THE BABY DEER WERE SWIMMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 CUTENESS IN A SMALL FURRY BUNDLE. There were also wild boars. And wild BABY PIGS. This morning, I watched gleefully as a large mama pig led her two little pigs down the mountainside to the beach. She then encouraged them into the water for their morning bath, which sent my mum and me into squealing fits of joy and caused my dad to shake his head sadly at our delight. 

Of course, Komodo isn’t all small baby animals that cause you to practically wet your pants over their utter adorableness. If you talk about Komodo, you have to talk about the dragons. On Rinca, one of the islands in the park, we visited these- lizard/dragon/voldemort/Darth Vader/ things. When they get mad at each other, they swell up and sound like Darth Vader. And I swear to god, they’re secretly claiming that they’re the dark lord. They also bear a strong resemblance to Voldemort. When we arrived at the dock on Rinca, a guide leapt up to take us to the office to pay for our park pass, person pass, boat pass, hiking fee and guide fee. His name was Paul, he was shorter than me, and he looked extremely nervous. He carried a long forked stick, which he used to warn off the dragons. When we asked whether the dragons had come to recognise the stick, he snorted. “It’s not magic” he told us. “If it’s not determined to eat you, it works fine. But if they’re hungry, run, and climb a tree”. He glanced down at our sports sandals doubtfully. I then noticed that all the guides were wearing trainers. “I’ll leave you my stick” he offered, heading off to the office. When we got close, he told us that the office had been raided three times by dragons, and the in charge guy had been bitten twice. “I think the dragons know he’s corrupt” he mused thoughtfully. Once we had paid, he took us on a winding path through the ranger’s houses. My mum squeaked. I turned to look at her, and she was doing a little excited dance, and pointing under the house, where about eight large dragons rested. “That one’s smiling!” she giggled. I looked at the one in question. Its mouth was open and it was propped up on its front legs. Then, there was the Darth Vader noise. Paul gripped his stick. “Oh, shit” he muttered, as a dragon slowly heaved himself to his feet.

Later on our walk, I asked if there were many female guides. He laughed and shook his head. “No women!” he said. “I think it is too dangerous for them”. I raised an eyebrow. I was quite a bit bigger than him. When I pointed out that danger doesn’t lessen or grow depending on gender, he shrugged. “I didn’t tell my parents that I work here. They think I work in a restaurant” he told us, changing the subject hastily. After our walk was finished, we went and looked at the dragons again. These ancient animals were huge and mysterious. They were the largest lizards in the world, and on the islands, they had no predators. I was so privileged to have seen them in their natural habitat, and I know it is a memory that I will carry for the rest of my life.   

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