Allow me to tell you how hyenas eat an elephant. It’s with ease.

If you work in the corporate sector, you’ve no doubt heard the saying “How do we eat this elephant?” or variations of it. On a recent trip to the bush, we happen to come across a dead elephant and I got insight into exactly how an elephant gets eaten. There are important lessons that corporates need to know and perhaps the first thing I noticed is that everyone has a role to play.

The elephant had been dead for about 3 days before we arrived and it was already stinking so badly, we could hardly breath! The lions were trying to eat it, but were struggling. You could sense their frustration as they licked & scratched but failed to rip open the body of the elephant. As hard as they tried, they were ill-equipped to tear open the hard, tough hide and were forced to wait.

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The jackals ran around the elephant, even jumping on top of it. They are the most beautiful animals! They also look deceptively tame as they mirror many behaviors of house-trained dogs. They too had to wait.

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A day later on our trip, when the stink had become even more unbearable, the hyenas arrived. You knew they were coming by that familiar cry from afar. Typically shy animals which you only really get a brief glimpse of, we were spoilt when so many of them, both spotted and brown, arrived to do what they do best & they did not waste time.

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They ripped open the skin of the elephant with ease. They gnawed open the swollen belly of the elephant and even climbed right inside of the animal, coming out drenched in blood and raw meat. It was both disgusting but amazing to watch. While the lions and jackals waited, their bellies swelled up by how much they were eating.

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A vulture was spotted circling above the carcass but we unfortunately left to go home before it landed to tuck in.

The saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time.” was coined by United States army general Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. (September 15, 1914 – September 4, 1974) who used it to explain that when doing something that is difficult, do it slowly and be careful.

But the added lessons I took out of watching the hyenas eat the dead elephant is this:

  • Allow the specialists to come in and do what they do best. Wait your turn.
  • Sometimes the King of the Jungle (lion) needs to rely on the scavengers (hyenas). It’s acceptable for skill to triumph over hierarchy in large projects.
  • I agree with Abrams. It takes time to eat an elephant. It’s not something that can be rushed. But for those eating, enjoy every bite!

What an awesome sight to observe!

Switching off

When KK and I were down in Durban for the Comrades, we took the time to relax and enjoy being away from all the mad rush of Jo’burg and work. On the first evening we went for supper, my phone was flat and so I left it in the hotel room to charge. I felt lost for the first hour or so but once we started to eat and wind down, I realized that I wasn’t going to die! *dramatic, I know*

The morning afterwards, I left it in the hotel room again. It wasn’t planned or even discussed, but I started to leave my phone in the room every time we’d go have a meal. After the first day, KK did the same.

There was never a flood of urgent messages when we returned to the room. Nobody phoned us and we never needed to return any calls. Conversations on social media platforms carried on without us regardless.

What we did notice is that we became a lot more conscious of everything around us, the people, the food, the music. We spoke more, we connected. And it just got better at each and every meal. We did more ‘people watching’ and giggling at private jokes. We ate slower and took time to sit for longer at the dinner table. Long moments of sighing and smiling and letting go…

Sunset photo (yaken before we went for supper)

A photo of the beautiful setting sun I took before we walked down for supper without our phones, hence the reason why I don’t have any photos of us actually at the restaurant.

It was the feeling of freedom and escapism that I reveled in the most. For 6 days, I was able to walk away from the madness living in my phone, the opinions, the stories and all the noise. I allowed myself to shut off.

I’d love to say I was able to do so after the trip but that never happened. But what I have done is made sure that I pack my phone away in my bag when we go out to eat. I consciously try & make that effort. (after I’ve taken my Instagram and Zomato pic, of course). You should try it!

Running around Tokyo – shopping bags instead of running shoes

Even though we had packed in our running shoes, we just didn’t find the time and opportunity to run while we were holidaying in Tokyo. The weather was also not on our side and we had not packed in any warm or rainproof running clothes. We were so disappointed because everywhere we looked, we came across the most awesome running paths and jogging courses scattered throughout the beautiful parks across Tokyo.

The Imperial Palace

We walked this stunning 5km jogging course in the drizzle among the late blooming cherry blossom trees. Each scenic kilometre is marked by the most beautiful tile embedded in the pavement so that you can track your distance. We were passed by a couple of runners and felt very envious of them.

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Check out the runner warming up 🙂

Markings too

Shinjuku Chuo Park

On our last day of holiday, we took a stroll through the park across the road from our hotel whilst waiting for the bus to the airport. This park has a very convenient jogging track, weaving through the beautiful trees and peaceful calm of the park. It’s a short course so you’d have to run it a few times to get the distance.

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Narita airport

Running Junkie Brenda alerted us to the new running track at the Narita airport in Tokyo and you can’t miss it! In preparation for the city’s hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games, the airport has recently undergone a complete makeover. It’s so clearly marked – Blue lanes indicate departures while red lanes indicate arrivals – and looked so tempting! What a great idea for travellers / runners to bide their time while waiting for their flights.

Narita airport

Okay, so we missed out this time around, but Tokyo, we will be back with our running kits ready for any type of weather! We promise!

A December to remember

As colleagues return to work, the first thing they do is ask one another how their December break was. My reply has generally been “great!” and I really do mean it. For a change KK and I weren’t rushing around planning for Christmas eve, we had loads of time to ourselves and each and every day we did well… pretty much nothing but lie at the pool, watch TV and veg. The perfect holiday in my mind!

I flicked through some of the photos I took during my time off and it’s a great reminder of the fun we had…

Lots of braai’ingBraai2Lying next to the pool and swimming (and yes, even I swam with my head fully dunked!). This was the view most days of the sun beating down on us. I’m not as pale as I was last year. 😉PoolJo’burg is so quite over December, we managed to eat out at some of our favourite restaurants, including the Mexican restaurant in Illovo, Peron. The food is superb!Peron eveningTalking about food, a Domino’s Pizza opened up around the corner from us so we decided to try it out. Not bad, but I don’t think we’ll be back. I much prefer Andiccio’s.Dominos pizzaChristmas came around so quickly and we celebrated with KK’s family on Christmas eve and with my family on Christmas day. But it’s our own Christmas tradition of putting up trimmings in our home which I look forward to the most. We dedicate an entire evening where we have a kickass supper and then have fun placing all our ornaments all over the house with carols playing in the background. Xmas 2014Speaking of Christmas, this year we also visited the Bryanston Organic Food Market at night. There were carol singers and the most divine food on sale. The market is just down the road from us and I’m ashamed to say that we’ve never been before. We promised to return after a really relaxed evening out.Bryanston organic market eveningFor New Year’s eve, we slipped away to Mount Grace for a few days of pampering. We entered the new year with massages, food and snoozes.New YearIt wasn’t all relaxing. During December, we both managed to get great training under the belt attending as many track sessions as we could. I clocked up over 120km’s of running during the month which really prepared me for the races I’ve just completed now in January. TrackKicking the year off with some wonderful memories is just such a great way to start a new year!