Solbit Says, “I Love A Ritzy Lodge, Don’t You?”

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

I love a ritzy hotel, don’t you?  Nona and Papa always travel “on a budget.”  You know what that means. It means we always pass by other travelers in fancy hotels and go to little out-of-the-way (cheap) places.  I look at those fancy hotels, as we pass by, and wonder, “What would it be like to stay there?”  Now, I know, because either someone made a mistake or Nona made an exception.  Look at where we’re staying in Tanzania!


It’s a very classy lodge.  We’ve gone from cheap to 5 Star.  I love it!  I think Tanzania is going to be THE BEST!  Look, this place even has its own coffee bushes.


Talk about fresh coffee! Tonight we have supper on a patio with its own outdoor fire place.  We’re leaving now for supper. I’ll pick this up tomorrow.

Well, it’s tomorrow.  This morning we left our fancy lodge to go for a walk— all eight of us (Jo, Ellen, Craig, Jack, Betsy, Nona, Papa, and me) and our two guides (Chagamba and Mika).  We’re going to see a lot of birds and something called the Big Five, whatever that is.  Guess we’ll find out when we get there.

So we’re walking along this dried up, sandy river bed. It’s sunny and hot.  I look down.  What’s that?  I see two eyes in the sand.  “Nona, put me down so I can see what that is, please.”  She asks, “What what is?” Then she looks down and says, “Oooo.  Something is looking at us.”  I ask, “Is it one of the Big Five?”  She says, “No, Solbit, the Big Five are the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the rhino, and African buffalo. Whatever that is, it’s no bigger than my thumbnail.”


Papa stopped and looked in the hole, “Hey, its a sand toad of some kind.  Good eye, Solbit!” He was right.  We were looking at a little toad.

I said, “Mr. Toad, why are you all covered in sand down in that hole?”  He said, “Miss, that’s not sand, that’s my skin; it looks like sand; I’m camouflaged for protection.  I’m hiding from predators, and, if you’re smart,  you’ll get yourself some camouflage too, or you could be eaten.”

I said, “Really?”  He said, “You better believe it, babe. A lot of hungry birds, hyenas, snakes, you name it, are out to find a meal here.  You gotta blend in or you’ll be some predator’s lunch today or more likely tonight. Many more of them at night.”  I said, “I’m going to be just fine tonight at my fancy lodge, but I’ll be careful today.  Thanks for the warning.”

It was all downhill from there.  My day went from “this is going to be great” to “this is bad” to “how could this be worse?”  After our walk, our Land Rovers didn’t drive back to our fancy lodge.  We drove for hours on the Maasai Steppe and stopped in the middle of nowhere.  That’s when I got the bad news:  tonight we’re camping.  No more fancy lodge. Here’s our tent,


and it’s not with all the others’ tents.  It’s way out on the edge of the site next to bushes (think Big Five) and a dry riverbed (like where we saw Mr. Toad).

We just had supper.  It’s already getting dark at 6:30.  Our guides have made a big campfire.  I heard someone say, “That’ll keep them away.”  Keep them away?  Who is “them?”


Remember what Mr Toad said earlier today?  “There’s more of THEM (emphasis added by yours truly) at night.”  I’ve come to the realization that Tanzania may be more dangerous than Australia.  I’m getting out of here tonight.  “Nona, pack our bags! Nona!”  Where is she? She’s off in the bushes with her binoculars … at night!  I just heard her say to Papa, “Solbit’s, calling,  you take care of her now.”


He sat me down in “our” tent and had a talk with me.  “Solbit, I can tell you’re feeling scared.  What’s frightening you?”  I told him what Mr. Toad said to me and said, “I don’t have any camouflage.  The Big Five will get me.”  He said, “No they won’t. I’ll put you in my pocket, and they won’t be able to see you.”

Huh!  How smart is that?  “Papa, have you considered that you don’t have camouflage?  You know the Big Five are bigger than you.  They could eat you with me in your pocket!”  I just hope we make it through the night to live another day. If you never hear from me again, you’ll know what happened.  I’m in Papa’s pocket now. He’s sitting by the campfire. Someone just asked in a hushed voice, “Shuss, what’s that?” I think I hear something too.

I’m your friend.



June 2014

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

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