When did you know you had to do something about it?

Answer by Rory Young:

It was attitude. These people were not taking my safety instructions seriously.

Canoeing safaris are potentially extremely dangerous. The only thing that makes them safe is the guide knowing what he is doing and the clients following his instructions to the T.

Hippos have to be avoided carefully whilst choosing the right route round them. There are a whole bunch of things that will upset them, like going through the deep channel when they are in the shallows or getting between them and the low bank or "exit-chutes". Surprising them is also a really bad idea. Getting these things wrong will get your canoe bitten in half if you are lucky and get you bitten in half if you're not..

There are crocodiles up to fourteen foot long and lots of them. Just trailing your hand in the water can mean losing it or losing your life.

Then of course there are all the land animals, including Cape buffaloes, lions, elephants, leopards, hyaenas, mambas and so on and so on.

We were mid-way through the first day and these people had signaled to me that they needed to stop. When we had pulled into the bank to of the middle aged housewife-type ladies had requested to go to "the bathroom".

I had been continuously signalling them all morning to get behind me because they kept wandering across the river. Clearly they did not understand the extreme danger, despite the hour long safety talk.

I pulled my rifle out of its jacket and climbed out of the canoe onto the river bank. I told everyone not to move and then walked the immediate vicinity, checking for scaries.

Once I was sure it was all safe I explained that they must go behind THAT termite mound and NOWHERE ELSE! I explained it was dangerous, there were all sorts of things that could kill them and so on and so forth. I could see it going in one ear and out the other. I was starting to get irritated.

I offered them "Doug" the spade, a toilet roll  and a box of matches. The idea was to burn the paper carefully before burying the ashes and whatever else had been created. They declined. Okay, not a safety issue,just gross for a woman I thought. Still I was there to keep them alive not to admire their personal hygiene.

As I hopped back into my canoe, they toddled off in the opposite direction to the agreed upon termite mound. Now I was pissed. There was a tiny bush very nearby the way they were heading. Couldn't be that, it was too close. They must be heading for the distant bushes that hadn't been checked.

Now I had had enough. Now I knew I really had to do something about it before someone got killed.

I jumped out of the canoe and started towards them as they reached the small bush. They stopped in front of it.

Then something happened that shook me to my core..

Both standing, they put their left hands on their hips and their right hands in front of them and started peeing. Yes. Standing. Just like blokes.

Now I am not a prude at all but this was just bloody weird. It was too confusing. They looked just like the middle-aged, plump American housewives I had been sure they were.

I turned back to my canoe and looked at their "husbands". Both gazed back at me with poker faces.

I sat waiting for them to finish their pee and thought about some of the strange people that I had encountered.

There were the Danish naturists. No one had warned me that they were naturists or Danish. I had turned around in the middle of the first day to discover a flotilla of nudists following me down the river with big smiles on their faces. Lunch on the first day had been an education in eye control.

There had been the Greek chap too with a phobia for germs and insects who had covered himself from head to toe in bright purple gentian violet.

Before I could reminisce any further about all the odd-balls I seemed to end up with, the "ladies" came back.

Before I could say anything they both swished their right hands in the river.

I was just about to let them have it when one said, "oh sorry we're not supposed to put our hands in the water". She really did sound like a woman. And then, "we just deeded to wash our Fuds".

"Pardon?", I said, "what is a Fud?".

Blasted, weirdo foreigners. Now they were really confusing the hell out of me.

"Oh here, look", she said and handed me an oblong shaped cup with a pipe sticking out the bottom of it. "It's my Female Urinary Device. FUD".

Then, "May the FUD be with you", she said and I fell over laughing.

Needless to say the rest of the trip was laugh-a-minute with this lot. Definitely one of the most enjoyable canoeing safaris I did. Long live strange middle-aged Americans"!

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