Lake Rudolf, Eastern Equatorial Africa

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Crown Prince Rudolf  of Austria (21 August 1858 - 30 January 1889) clashed with his father Emperor Franz Joseph I.  Amongst his many gripes, the Prince felt as though he were born at the at the wrong time. In a typically royal way, The Prince was repulsed by any sort of foul laundry that his father dished to the country.  Prince Rudolf found refuge from his father in a loveless marriage to Princess Stéphanie and also by taking a mistress, Baroness Maria Vetsera.  The two lovers, The Prince and the Baroness', untimely deaths at the imperial family's hunting lodge was ruled a combined suicide, yet some are still convinced of foul play.  One year prior to this, in March of 1888, Count Sámuel Teleki de Szék of Hungary, whilst on a safari across East Africa, discovered a lake and named it Lake Rudolf, in honor of the Crown Prince. Years later in 1972, Richard Leakey, during an anthropological dig around the lake discovered a two-million-year-old hominid skull.  In 1986 a nearly complete skeleton of a homo erectus boy was discovered.   And more recently, another skull was discovered and estimated at being 3.5 million years dead.  These fossil findings coined the nickname for the area "Cradle of Mankind" or "Cradle of Humankind," as it has now be called for the sake, no doubt, of political correctness.

After my return from a once in a lifetime safari to Lake Rudolf (now referred to as Lake Turkana or The Jade Sea) in 2005 with fellow artist Fernando Apodaca, I met with Peter Beard at Bungalow in New York City.  Before and after the safari  to Lake Turkana I  stayed on Peter Beard's Hog Ranch in the 'knuckle hills' outside of Nairobi.  At that time Peter had I think been banned from Kenya for five years due to numerous, miscellaneous arrests and spats with neighbors - mostly concerning the malnutrition of their animals or his partying.  Back in New York with Peter Beard I described the safari, yelling over the club music,  "WE CAMPED AT LAKE TURKANA FOR OVER A WEEK!" Peter forcefully yells back,  "RUDOLF! ITS LAKE RUDOLF!" As if to say, "HOW DARE YOU!?"

Text and photography (excluding the post-mortem image of the Crown Prince) by Dustin Lynn