3rd Friday of January (2014): Also Reading DIVERGENT, by Veronica Roth

Oh, what a busy busy bee self is!

She is constantly reading.  Right now, student pieces.  As well as In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall.  As well as science fiction, like Divergent.

Divergent is all about how people make the choice to be one thing.  So far, the people in the book belong to:  1)  Abnegation (the heroine’s mother and older brother) or 2) Candor (the people who demand your seat on the bus).

Wait a minute, isn’t this supposed to be the future?  Why are there still buses?  And why do the buses sound so much like one of those Samtrans buses which pass in front of self’s house x number of times a day?

Divergent, p. 3:

The bus stinks of exhaust.  Every time it hits a patch of uneven pavement, it jostles me from side to side, even though I’m gripping the seat to keep myself still.

My older brother, Caleb, stands in the aisle, holding a railing above his head to keep himself steady.  We don’t look alike.  He has my father’s dark hair and hooked nose and my mother’s green eyes and dimpled cheeks.  When he was younger, that collection of features looked strange, but now it suits him.  If he wasn’t Abnegation, I’m sure the girls at school would stare at him.

In the preview (the film’s coming in March), you have a handsome young man tell Shailene Woodley something like:  “I don’t only want to be brave.  Or generous.  Or loyal.  I want to be all of those things.”  Every time self hears the line, she just wants to bust out laughing.  Yes. Of course.  Brave, generous, and loyal are extremely desirable qualities, so why limit oneself to just one of those???  Self agrees completely with the plaintive questioner. Because it just isn’t fair!

In the meantime, self can’t quit wondering about who gets to be:

  • Malicious
  • Murderous
  • Envious
  • Slothful
  • Disrespectful
  • Cowardly

etc etc etc?  Or have bad qualities been banned in the world of the future?  Guess she’ll have to read further to find out.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

IN THE SHADOW OF MAN Friday Quote of the Day (p. 72)

Some things self finds slightly disturbing:  The first time Goodall tries to get close to the chimpanzees, they avoid her.  By the time her sister joins her, 18 months later, the chimpanzees are far less skittish.  And by the time a professional photographer, Hugo van Lawick, joins Goodall to film a documentary on the chimpanzees, they “took a relatively short time to accept” him.  One (who the author named “David Graybeard”) would even “leave his group and come to see whether by any chance we had a banana.” (p. 72)

So by now, self thinks it is safe to say that all the chimpanzees in that area of Tanzania are thoroughly acclimated to interacting with humans, receiving bananas and what-not.

Is that good?  Is it really possible to “domesticate” a wild animal like a chimpanzee?  What happens when you run out of bananas?

Here are the names of the first set of chimpanzees that Goodall befriends:  David, William, and Goliath.  They start visiting camp regularly.  Goodall “soon discovered that they loved chewing on cloth and cardboard; sweaty garments, presumably because of their salty flavor, were the most sought after.”

What happens eventually is that — as self could have predicted — Goodall and van Lawick begin to form an attachment to one another (Put two young, unmarried people in the same tent in the Tanzanian rain forest, and see what happens!).  It was all the doing of Goodall’s patron, Louis B. Leakey who, not content with a) getting the National Geographic Society to fund Goodall’s research; and b) getting her accepted to Cambridge University (“Louis had managed to get me admitted to Cambridge University to work for a Ph.D. in ethology, the study of human behavior.” — p. 63), must also find her a husband.  Leakey enthusiastically wrote to a friend of Goodall’s — before Hugo van Lawick and Jane Goodall had even met — that he had “found someone just right as a husband for Jane.”

Oh!  So very Hunger Games!

Who knew the renowned archaeologist would take such an interest in Goodall’s private life!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Chimpanzees of Tanzania: 50 Years After Goodall

Self was curious about Goodall’s research.  She’s now reached a part of the book where the scientist lures a particularly unfazed male chimpanzee to approach, using a banana.

Because now Google has placed the world at our fingertips, self discovers the following:

Goodall came to Tanzania in 1960 (54 years ago, dear blog readers!  She is alive and well at 77).  She lived in a makeshift tent.  Today, there are the following lodging choices:

Furthermore, there is now a Jane Goodall Institute which has programs in Tanzania as well as in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Guinea.

And there are many chimpanzee safari tours, but these are not cheap:  For example, one tour charges $4,664 per person for a 4-day safari in March.

In addition, the BBC and many other stations have produced documentaries on Goodall.

The jungle where Goodall first interacted with the chimpanzees is no longer the wild and inaccessible place it was when Goodall began doing field work there.  In fact, there is now a wide array of accommodations, and all kinds of tour operators.

The situation reminds self a bit of Siem Reap, jumping off point to tours of Angkor Wat and the rest of Cambodia.  Self was there in 2006.  At that time, there were already many hotels, but more were being built.

She travelled with Dear Departed Sister-in-Law Ying, and we both became quite frustrated with the crowds.  We decided to wake at 4 a.m. and experience Angkor Wat at dawn.  By the time we got to the ruins, the causeway was jammed with tourists, most of whom had set their cameras on tripods and were just waiting for the sun to come up.  The place was busy, like a market.

When we asked to take pictures of a monk, the man held up two fingers.  What?  We were quite puzzled, until it finally dawned on us that in order to take his picture, we had to pay him $2.

Finally, Ying and self decided to stick it out in the temples at noon, when it starts getting really, really hot.  And yes, then we were completely alone.  And wandered the buildings by ourselves.  But it was so terribly, terribly hot, and the heat made self dizzy.  And she was panting.  And it was just something that perhaps self should never have considered.

She wonders what Siem Reap is like now?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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