Kafez

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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Sunday, 22 February 2009

by Suzan Abrams

Yesterday, I bumped into flamingoes. Thousands of them and all at once. They stole my breath away. I stood in complete awe. The guides laughed but were generous and let me stretch my stupified moment for as long as I dared. Not even the zebras, rudely staring giraffes, snobbish elephants, wildebeest, leopards, lazy sauna hippos or lush icy waterfalls could command a similar effect. Not even the sudden passing storks, cranes or other exotic water birds. Flamingoes aren't easy to find. They aren't just private and elusive but circling just 3 African destinations at the moment. Sometimes, you think they're on a certain lake or crater. You drive all the way. Suddenly, one bird turns nomad. The rest follow. Worried about keeping perfect time to a migratory season, they immediately take flight. In a minute, the entire fleet may have disappeared from the lake as if they never were.
But yesterday, the Gods were on my side.
The flamingoes lingered to a romantic waltz at a sparkling lavish party, hosted by themselves of course, on the Great alkaline-soaked Momella Lake, deep in the heart of the Arusha National Park. They turned the shimmering algae-filled green waters which they sipped greedily like champagne, into a second sunset. All that cloud of snowy-white and bright pink plumage... And then, those blood-red bills. What thrilling grace and style. What synchronized beauty. The tall slender birds stood and swung about like ballet dancers with wings for pirouettes.
They reminded me of the classical: stringed violins high on music manouvered by ghosts in mid-air, marbled floors or bougainvilleas that hung tantalisingly down the walls of a Spanish courtyard. They reminded me of Enya's Orinoco Flow. Two colourful ducklings and a sulky stork were made to feel welcome as tolerant temporary neighbours. Passing gulls lamenting at the sudden loss of supper, watched wistfully from the sidelines. A nervous water snake decided wisely against gatecrashing the dangerous scene. It quickly slunk away.
I was enthralled. I thought at that moment that if I died right there and then, it would be perfect. That this would be quite the loveliest vision to hold on to. The last sight. The last scene.
It was ethereal. Totally that.

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