My family is known to be random and spontaneous. That said, my mom booked a flight to visit us from Michigan, USA (for those of you who have never heard of Michigan, which I'm learning most people haven't, it's about 8.5 thousand miles away from here) NINE days before her arrival. It was the best surprise of my life (outside of Andrew popping the ol' 'will you be my roommate forever' question and my sister telling me she was pregnant with my god son). Mom showed up and we drove straight to Stellenbosch, the very famous wine country of South Africa. I couldn't even begin to explain how beautiful it was, but let's just say it makes Napa Valley, California look like that weird skin right in between the ball sack and butt hole, AKA the grundle. One of our favorite South Afrikaners was our DD and he showed us all the sights and best "wine farms." We got nice and buzzed and made fools of ourselves at the last stop before we went back to a cute little hotel in the area. Mom and I met a bunch of girls in the hotel bar and without much thought behind it agreed to hit the town with them. Turns out one of the girls was the devil in human form, but we still danced our booties off and showed the kids of the area how to party. Seriously, we did.
WAY too early the next day Andrew drove us and our raging hangovers to the greatest place on earth, Inverdoorn!! It's a gucci little resort/lodge on a massive safari where all of my hopes and dreams came true. You know what happens on safaris and I'm sure you've seen one or two National Geographic photos, but there isn't a single picture in the world that captures the emotion and the intensity of seeing these wild animals roaming in their natural habitat.
The safari was founded to basically fund their business of saving cheetahs orphaned by poachers, farmers, or from terrible people breeding them in horrific conditions and selling them to assholes in Dubai who think the beauties belong in a tiny cage on show at their home. The staff at Inverdoorn have the "orphaning" process down pat. They put the cheetahs in huge fenced in areas and monitor their hunting and basic habits from afar. Once the cheetahs prove to be capable of hunting on their own they are freed into the wild in various places in Africa where the cheetah population is diminishing, which apparently is basically the entire continent.
We were up close and personal with lions, white rhinos, elephants and their scary big wieners, giraffes, zebras, springbok (most delicious animal I've ever eaten, ever) and many other native African animals. It was magical. We went on an evening safari and an early-as-hell in the morning safari. Seriously, I am not meant to be coherent before sunrise, but it was beyondddd worth it. All of our meals consisted of multiple courses and divine South African wine. We ended our stay at Inverdoorn with a Cheetah interaction. We watched a cheetah who will soon be freed run at full speed to catch a rabbit. His grace at 70 MPH was un-fucking-believable.
We met VELVET, a cheetah who was found as a kitten in a dirty little bathroom with two of her brothers (one of which died from malnutrition the night before the Inverdoorn staff was to pick them up). Velvet's tail was kinked from being slammed in a door, so she was unable to be released back into the wild as the kink messes with her balance. That actually prevents her from turning or stopping properly while she runs fast as hell in order to catch her prey - basically, she would starve to death. So, they hand raised her and now she's constantly pampered and loved on by the incredible staff. Mom, Rands & I were able to spend a couple of hours with her and it was nothing shy of incredible. I was in shock and awe by her elegance and beauty. She was so regal and if I ever have children, I hope they're cheetahs.
I can honestly (honestly HONESTLY hon-est-ly) say that being with Velvet was the most inspiring experience of my life. Working with these animals would be a dream come true. A big part of the reason I want to move to Cape Town after our travels is so I can do an internship at Inverdoorn. The big question is, will my future teacup pig and my cheetah children get along? To be continued...