the BIGGER picture


Just a glimspe. Susan's Perspective.

Harar Continued

So other than the monuments, museums, culture and the people in Harar, another popular attraction is to hand-feed Hyenas in the wild. Well I guess these animals were not entirely “wild” since they’re use to being fed everyday, hence they’re as domesticated as they could be considering they still live in the wild. Make sense?Hyenas are generally nocturnal animals. They spend most of the day just laying around in the sun and minding their business. But at night, these animals hunt and scavenge for food. Anyways, the 6 of us drove to the end of the walled-city after dinner and arranged for a man to attract Hyenas. The Hyena Man carried with him kilos of scrap meat and a wooden branch the length of a chopstick. We were in complete darkness – visibility was less than 1 ft. A storm was brewing in the distance and periodic cracks of lightning illuminated the beautiful and massive Shoa tree just before us. As the Hyena Man proceeded to yell, “Alle…alle…”, slowly but surely one after another Hyenas approached us. At one point there must’ve been 15 of them! One at a time, we crouched down by the Hyena Man and was instructed to hold the extremely short branch in our hands with a piece of meat on the other end. Then, all we had to do was literally feed the Hyenas. The Hyenas are actually very beautiful animals. They’re calm, peaceful and lovable at times. However during that night, all I could think about were the numerous Discovery Channel specials I had seen. They’re suppose to be dangerous and vicious carnivores! And I’m holding their dinner on a flimsy stick! So after saying a prayer, with extreme fear and curiosity I stuck out the piece of meat and watched the jaws of two Hyenas fight over it only inches away from me. I tried to flinch away but their jaws were holding on to the stick. Finally they let go. I looked down to check my limbs, they were still intact. What seemed like 10 minutes was probably just 1 sec. My photographs are extremely deceiving because I have a huge smile on my face, but that smile was all fear baby! The rest of the group were more adventurous because they tried to feed the Hyenas again, but this time with their mouths. Sorry, but I’ve got Chinese blood in me so I’m suppose to be conservative. No mouth action for me thank-you. I’ll just stand back and continue to be the designated photographer 🙂After a great night of Hyena-bonding, the girls headed for some traditional Harar culture. Our friends had arranged for us to visit Harari women and to receive Henna on our bodies. I just had a traditional design on my right hand and forearm. The swirls begin on my middle finger and twist all the way up to my elbow. Quite beautiful. It was nothing like our “Henna Tattoos” on the boardwalk. I’ve been officially Hennafied!We spent our last day in Dire Dawa, another culturally rich city. Our friends had arranged for us to ride Camels in the city! Apparently, we were the first foreigners to ride Camels from a tourist perspective so it was a huge deal to everyone. As we mounted our majestic Camels, we were instantly surrounded by locals. Children followed us around the streets as we marched further into the city. We were a parade of Foreigners – American, Canadian and Mauritian. Cute no?! Random people welcomed us and bystanders took pictures with their cellphones. Buses and cars slowed down to take a look at the commotion. It was dramatic! Now we just need the Key to their City!p.s. Riding Camels is really painful after a while… When you get off, you realize you’ve got a very butch walk. Attractive.


Filed under: Africa, Camel, Ethiopia, Harar, Hyena, Life, Thoughts, Travel, , , , , , , ,

Through My Eyes


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