Serengeti sights

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At the end of my last post, I mentioned that I’d be away for a fortnight. And quite a fortnight it was, as we travelled in Tanzania. But I’ve learnt now that travel and blogging don’t really go together, so I gave up trying to do both. Apologies, then, for my silence, which I now make up for by posting a couple of lovely pictures from our holiday. Naturally, in Tanzania, that included a safari, where we were very fortunate to spot a group of about 70 Spaniards. Our guide, Joseph, assured us this was quite rare. I managed to get close enough to take a picture of them in the early evening, when they gather for a cocktail, the females wearing pretty dresses and the males trying to impress them with witty remarks.

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Spaniards, said Joseph, are of the European genus, which includes a multitude of other members, some of them quite uncommon. You’d have to be lucky, for example, to come across a Finn in Serengeti, and in the few days we were there we didn’t see one. But the group of Spaniards, one of the most endearing members of the European family, more than made up for that. Here they are engaged in behaviour typical of the European species, taking pictures of the sunset.

The bouéni ticklers

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Zaïna Méresse

Bouéni is the Shimaoré word for woman, but it conveys more than that. A bouéni is mature, imposing and plump. No zero size models here – buxom wives are seen as a sign of vigour and prosperity. Nor are they in any way shrinking violets, Mayotte being traditionally a matriarchal society. There was thus considerable sadness last year at the death of Zaïna Méresse, the last of the bouéni ticklers. The tickling women movement began in the 1960s, a reaction to the threat of independence from France, which the bouénis were keen to avoid. Whenever a Comorian politician arrived in Mayotte, he’d be surrounded by a goup of bouénis who tickled him into helpless, squirming laughter while they repeated their demands. In the 1975 referendum, the three other Comoros islands voted for independence, while Mayotte opted to remain French, a result due in no small part to the ticklers. If only today’s world leaders could be tickled into making good on their promises.

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Les Bouénis, Cyrille le Corre

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