On a long drive this morning I had time enough in hand to contemplate about the different people we met on this trip....
There were 6 Americans, 2 Australians, 5 French 2 Norwegians and the two of us Sri Lankan's plus the 5 Malians who made up the crew and guides.
I'll start with the Norwegians, father and son traveling together, the sons first time in Africa' his father's 4th or 5th time. The old man was definitely someone fun to talk with, with his dry sense of humor and his ability to play a lively tune on a harmonica he was indeed good company.
The French were French, typically so except for two of that set a mother and son this time. The mother was awesome, 65yrs old and I wish I was as fit as she was. Quite little thing, she was fastidious in her neatness, quick to wipe the table if something spilled, carefully wiping f the top of bottle s before closing them, a wonderful woman!
The two Australians were a married couple, the guy a horticulturist and his wife a butterfly breeder! Their free time spent traveling the world, sometimes taking three or four trips to cover a country properly.
Of the Americans there were two that struck out for their extremes - one an extrovert, a young guy who it seemed was experiencing everything for the first time, so up beat was he about anything that happened, as long as it was happening to him. He's apparently on his way to SL to oversee a project to build better ties between communities with Government funding provided to a son of a priest....(?)! I'm sure he's a nice guy, I just did not have the inclination to really sit down and find out.
Which brings me to the person who impressed me the most. This guy, from day one, sat in one corner of the boat, didn't move except to get on and off, hardly spoke, his entire demeanor was one of such great intensity.
My first brush with him was when he popped in front of me just as I was about to take a photograph, mildly annoyed at the intrusion I kept my peace more so because it struck me that he seem the better photographer. Later on I happened to ask him for his help, which he most kindly did, transferring some of my pics onto a flash drive. As we waited for the transfer I happened to inquire what his line of work was - Actor he replied... and apparently a guy who's played roles with Al Pacino, Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Miachel Keaton, Charlie Sheen and Keanu Reeves! I Googled him later and to my surprise discovered that this guy was not only an accomplished photographer and actor but also American singer-songwriter, raconteur, spoken word artist, writer, publisher, radio DJ, and activist! And since then, when I've mentioned meeting him to a few American's they all go "No way, did you really meet him?!"
I did, and a more unassuming, calm person you could not meet - which is really really hard to balance with the fact that he is also this Punk Rocker, and since then I've found that beneath those long sleeves he wore everyday were some pretty impressive tattoos!
I could not but help compare one American against the other, that the one who had so much to talk about hardly volunteered a word.... I kind of liked the guy...ah, the people you meet