the tail in the box…

One of my activities while I am drinking my morning coffee is to read through some of my favorite blogs. Today I saw that Mama on the rocks is doing a blog parade (a topic which other bloggers can join) about funny or bizarre holiday experiences – an awesome topic, so I thought I join in.

Bizarre holiday experiences are often the best part of the holiday, at least afterwards when you can laugh about them. It is what sticks and with what you can entertain whole dinner groups. It is what welds you together. It’s the icing on your holiday cake.

So far, most of Karsten’s and mine bizarre experiences took place during our trip in Tanzania. During his studies, Karsten did a semester abroad in Morogoro, Tanzania, and after I was done writing my thesis I visited him and we spent six weeks experiencing the country. It was a great time which sometimes demanded a great deal of humour, courage and the ability to adjust but which filled our memories with awesomeness 🙂 There were so many small incidents that were incredibly funny (afterwards). How we got arrested in a National Park. How we were surrounded by giant forest hogs and buffalos while trying to sleep in a tent. How I peed on the virge of a manioc field under the interested looks of the whole bus and the children of the village nearby. How the bus driver killed a goat while we were sitting in the front row. How Karsten lost our hotel key while swimming in the ocean. On and on it goes….

One of the most exciting moments though happened during the first days. We were staying at the university campus in Morogoro because Karsten still had some papers to chase and I wanted to have some calm days at the beginning of our trip in order to acclimatize. One thing I was both amazed and scared of was the wildlife. Amazed because there were so many animals which I had never seen in the wild and which were absolutely great to observe. The monkeys in the backyard. The millipede that was as long as my foot. The geckos on the walls. Even the cockroach of the size of my hand which lived in the bathroom. Scared because many of the animals were dangerous and poisonous. I was especially scared of snakes, and with good reason: on our first day on campus, I was not only told to always tread hard in order to scare away snakes but one of Karsten’s friends also told us that he knows were to find black mambas. Also, the campus is known for its rat project (awesome project were rats are trained to find mines!) which means they attracted a great deal of cobras as well. Bah…

DSC02986          DSC03033


On campus

DSC03853 tanzania 9

So on my second morning, Karsten had already been gone to university and I went to the restroom. I peed. I was in a good mood. I wanted to grab the toilet paper and while I was grabbing it, I froze. I froze because I saw the wooden toilet paper box. Or better: I saw something hanging down from that box. A tail. A scaly tail, almost as long as my hand. The animal which belonged to that tail was hidden in the box. I immediately though of the dead horned viper that Karsten had seen on the street a few weeks ago. So I stretched my arm, opened the door and did an impressive jump out of the tiny restroom. I grabbed my mobile phone and called Karsten who came back as fast as he could. While I was waiting I watched the tail….because worse than having a mysterious tail hanging in your restroom would be to not know where to find the tail (and its rest) once it disappeared.


When Karsten was back he looked at the tail and calmed me down – it didn’t look like a typical snake tail. However, we still had to get whatever-it-was out of the box and we didn’t know whether it was poisonous or not. So Karsten took a long wooden spoon and a paper basket, I took a towel (in order to through it over whatever-it-was in case it would be angry) and we started to poke the box. We poked a few second, the tail moved and with a thud something landed on the floor. It turned out to be a giant plated lizard. A beautiful one. And not poisonous at all! We put it in the basket and “set it free” in the garden.


Afterwards, whenever I entered the restroom or the bathroom, I would always first scan the room for suspicious signs before I started my morning toilet.

About erdhummel

Familial entropy - that's an insight into our current life which has been fundamentally changed last summer when our daughter was born. Having studied in Cottbus, Germany, and worked/studied in Edinburgh, Scotland, we momentarily live in a small town in Switzerland where Karsten is trying to save the environment and Freddie is trying to save our sanity. Since there is not much time for elaborate, long emails while doing that, we thought a blog might be a good option to smuggle ourselves into the lifes of our friends.
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5 Responses to the tail in the box…

  1. Oh wie herrlich! Ich wäre in Ohnmacht gefallen beim Anblick der Klopapier-Box 🙂

  2. Muffinqueen says:

    Nein wie genial die Geschichte ist! Hat mir meinen Mittag versüsst 🙂 Meine Reaktion wäre wohl die gleiche gewesen, ich kann dich soooo gut verstehen. Lg Muffinqueen

    • erdhummel says:

      Ja, das war ein Schock so früh am Morgen. Aber nach ein paar Tagen hat man sich tatsächlich daran gewöhnt, dass überall unliebsame Tiere lauern (oder das Gehirn hat es einfach gekonnt ausgeblendet) 🙂

  3. Pingback: this dreaded thing called… | familial entropy

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