Safari Envy

first_imgThe ranger sat back in his chair, his hands clasped comfortably behind his head. He gazed around at the collection of English gap-year students that surrounded him, hanging on his every word. A bonfire blazed merrily away in the middle of the circle of people, sending a plume of sparks and smoke up into the African night sky. Most of the people in the group were hanging on his every word, waiting for him to tell yet another anecdote about being charged by an angry elephant or attacked by a hippo or bitten by a snake. He cleared his throat and his audience leaned forwards, eager to catch what he had to say:“And you know what the best thing about working here is?” He let the question hang in the air for a few seconds to allow the suspense to build up slightly, before going on: “It’s the most romantic place in the world. Seriously, there’s nothing like the sound of hippos shagging in the background for getting women into bed. Trust me on this one.” He looked around him with a smug, arrogant smirk stamped alll over his fat, ugly face, and I suddenly had an inexplicable urge to stamp on it a bit more. But I didn’t. It would have made things awkward. We were in the Ruaha National Park in central Tanzania. This is not a particularly famous place, mainly because getting there involves eight hours spent in an African bus and another two hours in a Land Rover. It is worth making the effort though, mainly because the difficulties of getting there mean that it tends to be almost empty. It is also ridiculously large – roughly the size of Wales, in fact, and while we were there the total guest count was 21. Try to imagine an area the size of Wales, completely devoid of anything remotely civilised. Anyway, it is one big open space, full of pretty much any sort of wildlife you care to mention. The wildlife tend to be unconcerned about the presence of humans. On arriving at our lodge, we all got out of the Land Rovers to stretch our legs, and were greeted by the sight of a full size African elephant strolling across the car park, about 20 feet away from us. I don’t know if you have seen an elephant that close before – it certainly doesn’t happen much in Basingstoke – but it does make you pay attention. The pachyderm in question paused for a second, looked in our direction, snorted contemptuously, took a monumentally large crap, and walked off into the bush. As statements go, it was a good one. All the Western self-importance and confidence that you bring to the place takes one look at the array of teeth, claws and sodding large animals that surround you and exits stage left. You suddenly feel very, very small indeed. On a game drive the next day we had ample opportunity to increase our feeling of total inadequacy. After parking next to what I thought was a tree, we gazed around as our guide pointed out a herd of elephants in the distance, a few vultures hovering over a carcass a few miles away and what we were actually next to – a giraffe. As if on cue, the “tree” moved slightly. The giraffe gazed downwards at us with a stupidly benign expression on its face and slowly stalked away, balanced on its implausibly spindly legs. The guide looked at us with our jaws hanging down and giggled to himself. A bit later we stopped by the side of a river for a drinks break. We sat in the Land Rover drinking warm beer from the bottle and basking in the glorious sunshine when a herd of water buffalo stepped out of the bush one by one – this took a while – to drink at the river. The head bull of the herd, an immense beast seemingly carved from black granite, strutted a few paces towards us, sniffed a couple of times, and proceeded to let fly a stream of urine from what I had previously assumed was one of its legs. Talk about making a bloke feel inadequate. When we returned to the lodge for the evening we were met by a burly South African who proceeded to blather on about all the amazing things he had seen and done during his time working in the park. As I sat by the fire with the others, thinking about how nice it would be to knock him out and feed him to a passing lion, I began to feel a little bit jealous. The Ruaha National Park is the most jaw-droppingly beautiful place I have ever been to, and this guy got paid to be there. He may have been arrogant and self-obsessed, but you had to hand it to him: he did have the best job in the world. The bastard.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004last_img read more

Trump Plans PAC in Hopes of Keeping Hold on G.O.P.

first_imgPresident Trump is planning to form a so-called leadership political action committee, a federal fund-raising vehicle that will potentially let him retain his hold on the Republican Party even when he is out of office, officials said on Monday.The announcement is expected as soon as this week, just days after the major news networks and newspapers, as well as The Associated Press, called the 2020 election for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.- Advertisement – Such committees can accept donations of up to $5,000 per donor per year — far less than the donation limits for the committees formed by Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee — but a leadership PAC could accept donations from an unlimited number of people. It could also accept donations from other political action committees.A leadership PAC could spend an unlimited amount in so-called independent expenditures to benefit other candidates, as well as fund travel, polling and consultants. Mostly, it would almost certainly be a vehicle by which Mr. Trump could retain influence in a party that has been remade largely in his image over the past four years. – Advertisement – “The president always planned to do this, win or lose,” Mr. Murtaugh said, “so he can support candidates and issues he cares about, such as combating voter fraud.”Still, a PAC could give the president an off-ramp after a bruising election fight, as well as keep him as a dominant figure as the next Republican presidential primary races are beginning for a new standard-bearer.“President Trump is not going anywhere anytime soon,” said Matt Gorman, a Republican strategist. “He’s going to insert himself in the national debate in a way that’s unlike any of his predecessors.”- Advertisement – But Mr. Trump’s personal brand as a businessman is now intertwined with his political brand. And he has made clear he is not ceding the stage easily, even as advisers say he will most likely willingly leave the White House when his term ends.Since the 2020 race was called on Saturday, Mr. Trump has told advisers he is seriously considering running again in 2024 if the vote is certified for Mr. Biden, a development earlier reported by Axios.While the leadership PAC could not help him in such an effort, it could provide an interim vehicle that would let him travel and engage in some political activity, even if he never actually runs again.Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting. Before the election, Mr. Trump told advisers, sometimes joking and other times not, that he might run again in 2024 if he lost to Mr. Biden.Even as Mr. Biden has gathered more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win, and as he has taken leads of tens of thousands of votes in several battleground states, Mr. Trump has maintained there was voter fraud on a wide scale, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He has directed his campaign to march forward with legal challenges in states like Arizona and Nevada, despite most advisers believing that the race is over and that he should move on. A Trump campaign spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, said the committee had been in the works for a while.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Cricket News Roger Federer Loses To Dominic Thiem, Faces Early Exit From Year-Ending ATP Finals

first_imgLondon: Roger Federer faces an uphill task to qualify for the last four of the ATP Finals after defeat by Dominic Thiem on Sunday following a masterclass by Novak Djokovic. Six-time champion Federer was beaten 7-5, 7-5 in the evening match on the opening day after Djokovic had swatted aside debutant Matteo Berrettini in the earlier Group Bjorn Borg contest in London. Federer and Djokovic will meet later in the week in a repeat of this year’s epic Wimbledon final, with two players advancing from the four-man group. The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam winner recovered quickly from being broken in the first game of the match but the Austrian fifth seed repeated the dose in the 11th game and took the opening set 7-5. Federer, uncharacteristically wayward, squandered an early chance to break in the second set and the games went with serve until the 11th game again, when Thiem broke to love after the third seed dumped a forehand into the net.The Austrian stuttered while serving for the match, forced to save two break points, but he held his nerve to take the set 7-5 and seal a deserved victory on his second match point. “I thought Dominic saved himself real well when he had to,” said Federer. “So I thought he played a tough first-round performance today, and my game was probably just not good enough, and the start didn’t help. It’s a normal tournament from here on forward,” added the 38-year-old, who may now have to beat Djokovic to progress. “Not allowed to lose anymore for me. That’s how it is every week of the year for the last 20 years, so from that standpoint there is nothing new there.” Thiem came into the match with a 4-2 winning record against his illustrious opponent but the result is still a surprise. The only time Federer has failed to progress to the knockout stages was in 2008. “We had a good and close match, and it’s always special to beat Roger, who is a legend,” said Thiem, who impressed with his clean hitting. “It’s amazing to play against probably the best player of all time, but luckily I have a pretty good record against him.” Earlier, Djokovic began his quest for a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title and sixth year-end number one spot a 6-2, 6-1 romp against Berrettini. The Serbian was last week nudged off the top position in the rankings by Rafael Nadal, who is also in the eight-man field in London. Djokovic eyes No. 1 Djokovic must reach the final at the O2 Arena to stand any chance of dislodging Nadal but there are major questions over the Spaniard’s fitness. If the Serbian does claim the year-end number one spot, he would match the record of Pete Sampras and victory at the end-of-season event would equal Federer’s mark. The second seed saw off the challenge of Berrettini in just 64 minutes, converting five of seven break points and at one stage going on an eight-game streak. “It feels great to be back,” said the Wimbledon champion. “Earlier this year I had a great stay in London, and over the years I’ve played well in this arena.”Also Read | Rafael Nadal Faces Race Against Time To Being Fit For Year-Ending ATP FinalsNadal, who has never won the event, is bidding to clinch the year-end number one spot in the ATP rankings for a fifth time. The tournament, featuring the year’s best eight players, is contested in a round-robin format with the best four players and doubles teams reaching the knockout semi-finals stage. Nadal, in Group Andre Agassi, begins his campaign on Monday against defending champion Alexander Zverev. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Wellington Council gives “support” resolution for sale of junior high building to Garrison

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council approved a resolution supporting the development of housing at the Wellington Junior High building, located at 311 North A Street at its Tuesday meeting. The Wellington school board recently approved the sale of the building at its January meeting to Garrison Community Development, LLC, (see story here).The housing development if built will contain 42 units, be targeted toward families, and contain several amenities including off-street parking, on-site leasing office, tenant storage, a new central heat/air unit(s) and various household appliances. The tentative name for the project is “The Old School Lofts.” The apartments are proposed for one bedroom costing tenants $450 a month; two bedrooms for $550, three bedrooms for $650.The project costs will total about $8.5 million to be made possible by the equity generated from the sale of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and conventional construction/perment loads according to a Wellington City memo.The project developer Garrison Hassenflu was not in attendance at the meeting.Wellington City Manager Gus Collins said this is simply a resolution of support and won’t deal with specific issues such as applications for tax credits or rezoning which is assured to come in the future.The advisory Wellington Planning Commission will be visiting the rezoning of the building at its February 26 meeting.Wellington council member Larry Shimer said he was concerned with what type of housing will be available with the proposed complex.“I want to make sure this is good for the citizens of the community and it doesn’t create problems down the road,” Shimer said.Collins said the council can still revisit many of the issues in the future.Shimer said Hassenflu needs to meet with the council in the future to answer questions. The council unanimously approved the resolution as an “approval” ordinance needed to be in the developers’ hands by Feb. 15, Collins said. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (9) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. 0 Vote up Vote down Larry · 392 weeks ago Rent is to high for single, couple, family and Seniors for Wellington. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +9 Vote up Vote down Build it · 392 weeks ago Larry for a newly renovated apartment that is not bad. Wait and see what all that includes? Wellington has to always find negative. Lets see who else is doing anything for 18 million in out town? Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +13 Vote up Vote down CueballSumnernewscow 94p · 392 weeks ago All I keep hearing is there are no places to rent in this town. I think 42 units could fill up pretty quickly. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down MJE · 392 weeks ago I think there’s a shortage of rentals in town that have more than 2 bedrooms, so the 3 BR units ought to fill up quickly. there are 2 BR duplexes and single family homes available in Wellington, and many of them priced significantly less than $550. Only time will tell. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago -2 Vote up Vote down Jane · 392 weeks ago For $550 you can rent a two bedroom apartment in Wichita. For $550 you can rent a three bedroom house in Wellington. People live here because the cost of living, including housing, is cheaper than in Wichita. They are going to have to lower the rent prices to reflect the local market, or they are going to have a hard time filling up units, regardless of the need for rental housing in Wellington. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Imagine · 392 weeks ago I pay 550 for a 2 bedroom house with quite a large yard. Why would I pay the same living probably in cramped quarters? Unless they pay all utilities… Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 392 weeks ago They’re getting some of the money from this project from “Low Income Housing Tax Credits”, yet the rent amount doesn’t seem to fall into the low income bracket. Just sayin…. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down CueballSumnernewscow 94p · 392 weeks ago Here are rental rates from the Wichita area Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down Yes & No · 392 weeks ago hope it is not federal subsidized. federal subsidized housing is not good for communities. if it is not and it goes onto the tax roll, what does the city stand to make in taxes? Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more