After being told the mountain was closed, we regrouped back at the hostel to make a new plan for the day. “How can a mountain be closed?” I asked Steph, who shrugged as we sat down on our thin mattresses. The guy sitting on the bed across from us looked up with interest as we discussed what activities we could spend our day doing. He interjected a bit of information that a fellow traveler had given him recently about a magical place just outside of town that he was planning to visit. He told us about a farm where we could actually RIDE on ostriches. Yes, just like a cowboy, we could straddle these clumsy flightless birds and…

And what?

Actually, I had no idea, but the proposition sounded just weird enough that I wanted to be a part of it. Thirty minutes later we were standing in the crowded aisle of a local bus out of town, the three of us chatting amiably and hoping we wouldn’t miss our stop. Luckily the bus’s young ticket taker alerted us when we were nearing the farm. We jumped off the sweaty bus in front of two giant concrete statues of ostriches and a sign telling us we were at the Wana Ostrich Farm.

The first thing I noticed as I stepped through the gate was the total absence of people. This was definitely not tourist season at the farm/petting zoo. Eventually, we stumbled upon the area we were here for.

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Once we paid our fee and stepped up to the ostrich riding enclosure, we could see just how big these cumbersome beasts really are. That’s when the others graciously volunteered me to take the first ride. I climbed into the pen and looked up at my valiant steed. The thing was two hundred pounds of thick muscled poultry. When I clambered onto it’s back, I noticed the hot, naked goose flesh skin against my own bare legs. It’s wings folded back over my thighs and I held them tight as the ostrich wrangler pulled the cover off the bird’s head. The ostrich immediately began loping off around the pen. I could tell it was less than excited to be lugging me around in the midday heat. It took less than a minute for me to regret my stint as ostrich cowboy.

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After the others had taken their turns, we meandered around the park, examining the other ostriches, their babies, donkeys, sheep, geese, and other fowl, either fenced in or roaming. There just happened to be a cafe near the pens and we agreed to get some drinks while enjoying the shade. One look at the menu told me I HAD to order a plate. Right there on page two was an entire section devoted to dishes that included ostrich meat.

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Fifteen minutes after I placed my order, I was served this charming plate of star-shaped fried rice with ostrich.

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I was under the impression that ostriches would taste like chicken, or even turkey, seeing as how they come from the same avian family. This assumption couldn’t have been more wrong. The meat I ate tasted like bits of steak. It didn’t have any sort of gamey flavor, just an uncanny resemblance to beef tips. Maybe just slightly overcooked as it felt barely tough when I was chewing it, but I would chalk that up to the cook’s inattentiveness to the task at hand.

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This was a savory and enjoyable, if not entirely filling meal. I would have to say that ostrich, based on this sole experience, is one of my favorite unusual meats. I think that with a qualified person at the helm of a grill, this could easily rank on my Top Five list.

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3 Responses to “Two Hundred Pounds Of Poultry”

  1. lam
    4 July 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    It totally looks like steak.

  2. chip
    3 July 2014 at 1:30 am #

    Awesome…you’ve been ostrich-sized!

  3. Maya
    1 July 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    loved this one!