The best thing about traveling is experiencing new things each day. Now that we are on the road again, those experiences are coming fast and furious again. It’s awesome. Today I got a chance to ride my dinner. This doesn’t happen at home. Cows, pigs, and chickens are pretty darn tough to ride. Ostrichs on the other hand, are a blast.
But let me back up for a minute. Our first stop on the Garden Route is a town called Oudsthoorn. It’s a cute little town with lots of shops and stores in the city. People don’t come here for shopping. They come for what is outside the city. Ostrich Farms. Lots and lots of ostrich farms. Picture rolling hills covered in big ass, black and white feathered creatures. Most of the ostrich’s in Africa are breed in and around Oudsthoorn. Today we learned all sorts of facts about these non-flying birds.
If you want a cheap Sunday morning brunch idea, get yourself one ostrich egg. One ostrich egg can feed a whole family and then some. It is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs. It is higher in cholesterol than chicken eggs because of their diet. Ostrich eggs are also very strong. They can even hold me!
Ostrich meat on the other hand, is leaner than the best cut of filet. It has a similar taste and texture to filet mignon. Dinner for tonight for sure. If mad cow hits the US we can all switch to ostrich.
Our tour guide taught us lots of interesting tidbits. Store these for dinner party conversations, as the topic is sure to arise. Male ostrichs have black bodies and white necks and heads. They are the pretty ones. Female ostrichs are gray all over, not as interesting. An ostrich eye weighs 60 grams. An ostrich brain weighs 40 grams. Let’s just say they aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed. An ostrich has a finger and a thumb, complete with nails, tucked underneath its huge wings that it never uses.
The best part of the tour today was riding an ostrich. Yep, you read correctly. As long as you don’t weigh more than 75 kilos, or for the metrically impaired, 160 lbs, you can ride one. They put a bag over it’s eyes while you climb on it’s back. It figures if it can’t see you, you can’t see him. Must have to do with that small brain. You climb on the ostrich’s back as the wings are lifted up and out of your way. The wings get laid back down and cover your legs. The wings are your handles or bridle. You hold on to the finger and thumb under the wing. We humans knew they were there for something. After the trainers take the bag off the ostrich’s eyes, it bolts. Hang on and lean back, it’s a choppy ride, but a heck of a lot of fun. You’ll have to check out the video section for this one. It’s a riot.
Maybe the ostrich is squawlking about my weight. Who knows. I guess the ostrich riding should be left to the professionals.
Two of the handlers jumped on the backs of two ostriches for a race down a 50m. track straight towards us. It was a race between “Hopeless” and “No Chance”. Hopeless won. Touristy, you bet. But a heck of a lot of fun.
Our next stop was the Cango Caves. It was time for some serious education in the form of stalagtites and stalagmites. We have to get that geogology check in the home school block. The most interesting fact of the day was that these formations grow at the speed of 5-6mm every 100 years. You can do the math to figure out how long these have been forming.
We head back to our backpacker for dinner. Guess what was on the menu for tonight? You guessed it, ostrich.