Where I come from, you have to go to a zoo, farm or at least a forest to see some animals. Where I’m now, you just need to get out the front door.
Every morning, the cooing, shrieking and singing sound makes me think of a bird house in a zoo. Sometimes it’s so loud you wake up to the ‘serenade’ of crows, roosters and other unidentified flying objects. Outside my office window, up to seven peacocks march back and forth on the parking lot daily. It’s always as impressive when the male peacocks spread their tail feathers, but I have to admit the sound they make is one of the ugliest and most annoying. On our home street we also have a selection of ducks, hens and cute fluffy chicks. Sometimes if it takes long to get food at a restaurant our Tanzanian friends joke that they went to kill the chicken and pick the feathers before putting it on the grill. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a joke after all… (edit: a few days after I posted this I shared a whole grilled chicken with two friends. When we left the bar and turned the corner, we found about 15 chicken cackling happily in a cage, unknowing of their destiny). But the animal kingdom in the city doesn’t stop at birds.
There is the random cow here and there, for example on a plot of grass near a fancy bar we were going to a few weekends back. Monkeys of all ages sometimes swing in front outside the office. And today, I took a walk in our neighbourhood to the lady with a little sewing shop and ordered a dress from her, and as I pass our closest restaurant I see about eight goats in the roadside ditch munching away the yellowish grass. In the evenings when you walk outside it’s impossible to miss the incredibly loud grasshoppers and frogs (I once located the sound and shined a light on the frog in the ditch that made that ridiculously loud noise, and it was just 10cm big!). All local bars also seem to have a resident cat meowing its way forward between tables.
In fact, you don’t even have to step out the house to see some fauna – we’ve got a few house pets. Everyday a lizard manages to scare one of us in the flat, whether it be behind the corn flakes box in the kitchen or under my t-shirts in my cupboard. They’re small and cute though so I don’t really mind. What I do mind is the occasional cockroach, luckily I’ve only seen three of them so far in our house during the 1½ months here but it’s still three too much. Last but not least we have all the mosquitoes that need to be fought off every night. Clever they are and always manage to find a spot to bite where you least expect it. Oh, and there was also a hugeish spider on our wall once. It was big. I was home alone. And I squished it. I’m pretty happy with my performance, though of course I have some practice from our summer cottage.
One notable thing about having all these animals and insects around you? You’ll never walk alone.