Monday, January 28, 2013

Safari....who knew

I know what you're all thinking.......did I kill anything? No, all the delicious morsels of zebra, buffalo, deer and pot belly pigs are still out there happily going about their lives completely oblivious to the pack of Chief brand curry I keep in the car for emergencies

So yes, the thought did cross my mind.

Just a little more than an hour's drive south-west of Atlanta, hidden away in Pine Mountain Georgia is this place generically named Wild Animal Safari. With the wildly popular Callaway Gardens located just nearby, it's really a shocker that not many people know about this place. For all intents and purposes, the operators have done a decent job trying to replicate what one might expect on a real life African safari.

You really have to start thinking in terms of a cross between Yellow River Game Ranch, and ZooAtlanta (sans the cages). Wild Animal Safari seems like a damn good place to take kids as everything is basically quite tame and mostly harmless and there is an additional walking area with some of the more dangerous safari animals in caged enclosures. You really didn't think they'd let the lions and tigers roam free did you? Yeah I know what you're thinking, I was hoping they would actually..............pity.

Oddly enough, it's the zebras I found to be the most aggressive enthusiastic species around. Individually they were somewhat well behaved but once packs of them started getting together, a mob mentality took over and I eventually had to abandon hand feeding altogether preferring to throw feed on the ground instead. I'd decided to take the cheap route which meant I drove my own vehicle through the park rather than renting one of theirs. A little piece of one of theirs, it only costs $15 to get one of  their little vans for the hour or so it takes to cover the course.

Was my vehicle damaged or destroyed? 

Nope, not at all; other than some giraffe slobber on my seats, and animal drool all over the exterior, my car suffered no damage. But I found it difficult to truly enjoy myself because of the constant fear that something was going to happen. On more than one occasion I saw 1,500 pound buffalo headbutting deer away from food  right next to me. Imagine what it could have done to the car! 

Yeah so next time I'm definitely renting. 

Most of the little bastards will stick their heads completely in the car window so there's some risk that a deer could get caught on a rear view mirror. The park staff  remind you to keep windows either all the way up or all the way down as some animals have been known to get stuck on half-rolled up windows..  

I forgot to mention there is a free bus available but not always. The complimentary shuttle doesn't run at all in January but presumably if you plan your trip out there in the Spring, Summer or Fall, that option should be available. And of course there is also the walking tour for the less adventurous which is set up just like a typical zoo. but with animals you wouldn't normally expect to see. 

Where have you ever seen a Liger (lion and tiger crossbreed)? Lions, tigers, black bears, baboons, a couple wolves and even a pair of hyenas among others rounded out what has got to be one of the best day trips I've had out here in Georgia yet.

I'm thinking of going back there myself but this time with a much bigger crew. Just think, ten or so trinis in a bus, possibly a cooler with drinks surrounded by wild animals.....what could possibly go wrong? 

Just don't be surprised in a few weeks when you get the inevitable phone call for a curry wild meat lime.

Wild Animal Safari, Inc.
1300 Oak Grove Road
Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Taco Heaven

Right off the bat I feel the need to apologize; this story practically requires pictures and I didn't snap any. The battery on my phone was dead, I was too lazy to swap for the spare battery and way too hungry to give a shit though now I regret it.

Do you like tacos? Stupid question right? Who doesn't like tacos? Meat, sauce, shell.....what's not to like?

Well if it were that simple, Taco Bell would be a gourmet, 5 star restaurant a la Demolition Man but you know what, Taco Hell (lol) really is a poor representation of what Mexican food is supposed to be. On a serious tip, how often do you see Mexicans eating there? I rest my case.

Friday evening, feeling frisky, I went looking for the Mexican food that Mexicans eat so I stopped at a little gas station on 141 in Doraville (duh). Attached to said store, was a Mexican meat mart or carniceria, at the back of which was a little counter, a mini taco stand. Frankly I would never have found the place had it not been for a friend of mine telling me about it. Yeah there's a sign but it's about the size of a postage stamp and written in Spanish and even still I practically had to hunt for the taco man once I got in there.

But you know what, only the good things in life are worth searching for, and search I did. We humans have a tendency to judge by appearance and the humble glass counter and ply-board kitchen door had me expecting another poor man's Taco Bell......what am I saying, Taco Bell is as cheap as it gets, it is poor people food.

"Two pork, two beef, plenty cilantro"

Order in place, Juan (we'll call him Juan) set to work. Somehow "fresh" does not seem appropriate enough a word; nothing was pre-made except the taco shells. It's like the grocery itself was his pantry because once I'd ordered, home boy came from behind the kitchen counter and started grabbing fresh ingredients right out of the store......fresh onions, cilantro and lemons from produce, fresh beef and pork from the meat counter, all prepped and chopped in front of me.

After something close to fifteen minutes (not your typical fast food), Carlos (or was it Juan?) produced 4 of the prettiest little tacos I'd ever seen, covered in cilantro and onions, a fresh cut lemon tucked to one side. I reached for the camera but my stomach took over.

Listen folks, there's a lot to experience out here if we take the time to look for it. I'll definitely be hitting that spot again in the near future and worry not for proper photographic documentation is forthcoming.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Well well well

People aren't into resolutions anymore.

That's the sentiment I seem to get  from most folks I ask. Many scoff at the idea entirely "what's the point of a resolution if you're just gonna break it?" or the increasingly popular rebuff "I don't wait for the New Year to do resolutions, I make changes right then and there............." 

Well my bad people, New Years resolutions work for me.

This wasn't always the case though, I used to be just like everyone else, I'd start the year hot and heavy but fizzle by February. Last year it finally clicked and I managed to actually follow a resolution out the entire year. So what's it take? Honestly rather than throw out a list of ten unrealistic things you plan to accomplish, just pick one, at most two. Of course at this rate it'll be a decade before I become that "better person" but I think it's man's nature to constantly evolve over time anyway. 

For 2012, establishing a regular workout routine was my goal. I'd venture to say I succeeded; I managed an average of two to three workouts per week, the entire year (give or take a week or two). So what's next? I definitely need to figure out this dieting thing because while consistently working out is fine, I'll never see any permanent changes unless I address my wildly ridiculous eating habits........corn beef and ramen noodles anyone?

For 2013 I have a few goals in mind rather:

1) Establish balanced eating habits - this is a no-brainer; simply put, I still intend to eat what I want, (because seriously, fuck diets), but rather than skipping breakfast/lunch then eating a large dinner as I normally do, I need to ensure 3 square meals a day plus health conscious snacks in between meals (fruit, yogurt, etc) 

2) Cook (period) - my closest of friends know me for being somewhat handy in the kitchen. But a little secret just between you and me? Apart from cooking for friends' limes and gatherings, I haven't cooked seriously in maybe 2 years. I've been existing on the classic bachelors diet, the aforementioned ramen and cheese with corn beef, the daily scrambled eggs, or tuna/sardine/chicken salad sandwiches, hot dogs and chinese food (big up Great China restaurant in Lilburn). 

But I really miss my own pelau or the boss (in my opinion anyway) macaroni pie I used to make. I swear I'm getting back to that this year.

3) Stabilize finances - I have two reputations, I'm always late and the other being that I'm almost always BROKE; that needs to change this year. I've begun to experiment with sensible spending habits and practices and will hopefully also be able to finally start saving this year.....we'll see. 

4) Do me - for far too long I've denied myself my own personal enjoyment for the sake of helping out others. I have a reputation for being the one to call on when help is needed. In short, I'm a "yes man." Get used to hearing the term "fyah bun" folks, you'll be hearing it often. 

I'm definitely going to get out more often, meet new people, and try a varying assortment of activities that go beyond party party party lime lime lime.

2013 should be a great one peeps, I wish you all wealth and prosperity and success in all your endeavours; see ya'll on the flipside......bless.