|Title:||new year and cheetahs|
|Location:||nairobi, kenya (1746m)|
|Text:||50 189 kilometres on the road
another new year's party on the road… the third so far! i am still in nairobi, waiting for witek who seems to have problems with the rains in the south. it's all right with me as i still enjoy lazing around here.
the party itself had been good fun but nothing wild or special – just the start of new year - one which will hopefully be remembered more favourably by the world than the one that's just past.
on friday evening i joined marcel, a swiss who owns an outdoor shop in nairobi, to visit 'his orphans'. this time it's not about kids but about animals that are being brought up from infancy by volunteers.
marcel is in charge of the leopards and the cheetahs with which he plays, just as if they were house cats. unfortunately there are no leopards at the centre now so i could only see the cheetahs.
"come inside! don't be afraid" marcel told me after unlocking the gate. "they might sniff at you a bit since they don't know you. but if you show no fear they will behave just fine" – very reassuring!
the two fully grown cats lay lazily in a corner when i entered but i instinctively stayed away from the middle of the cage, even though i felt surprisingly at ease – at least for the moment.
but when one of them got to his feet, effortlessly and smooth, in one elegant motion, a primal fear crept up my spine. i couldn't help but hold my breath for a second even though i knew that i wasn't in danger.
marcel went right up to him, crawled the cat under the chin and started stroking his fur with a brush. the cheetah started to lick his hand and with that house-cat-like behaviour on behalf of such a big one all me tenseness left me in an instant.
the next moment i found myself hugging and crawling this amazing creature, feeling not a bit of fear but just a huge admiration and respect. as if to say "don't worry, i am your friend!" the cat started to lick my face and i couldn't stop laughing.
what a great experience!