[This was written at 5:30pm thursday but I had no internet… We just got to our hotel in Nakuru after a long couple days of safariing it up. It was AMAZING. We got grouped with five guys from Nepal and one from Indonesia. They were all very, very kind and made the experience tons of fun. We saw more animals in the Maasai Mara reservation than I ever imagined. There were all kinds of antelope, zebra, giraffes, wildebeest, buffalo, birds, dichdichs (or something that sounds like dickdick but I’m sure that’s not how it’s spelled lol), hippos, ostrich, lions, cheetah, leapord, hyenas, jackels, a crocodile, totis (or something), impalas, and elephants. I might be forgetting some but that’s a decent sized list regardless lol. We saw one leapord way up in a tree and I guess that only 20% of the people that go there see them because they are super shy. We saw two cheetahs walking around with fat bellies right after their lunch and today we were surrounded by giraffes. All the animals were very close to us but to top it all off, this morning we saw 10-11 lions eating a buffalo! Gross, but pretty cool. It turns out the buffalo was pregnant so two more lions were eating the baby a couple meters away…sad, but I guess that’s the ciiiircle of liiiiife (lion king reference).
Tonight we are in a nice hotel in Nakuru, waiting for dinner and then we are leaving tomorrow around 7:30 to go to lake Nakuru and see flamingos and rhinos before heading back to our home base for a night. It sure has been an adventure so far. Today was the first day since Tuesday that we saw pavement or bricks or anything of that nature. It’s really eye opening how people here live with the bare minimum, but yet they are some of the happiest people I have ever met. The first day at the Maasai Mara reserve we visited the Maasai Mara tribe. They showed us their huts (made from sticks and cow dung), did a dance for us, and walked us around their village. They are a very unique type of person with interesting values and traditions. Everyone should google them right now. It boggles my mind that people live how they do, but it boggles theirs to think about living in modern civilization. They will do anything to not lose their culture and I think that is something to admire.
For now, we are sitting in our hotel waiting for dinner, too scared to walk around the city alone. Every time we go anywhere we have people swarming us trying to make us buy their necklaces, come look at their blankets, or touch everything in their store in hopes we’ll drop a big wad of cash on their table. It was fine when we were with 6 guys, but for now since they went back to Nairobi today, we’ll take it easy in the hotel room just to be safe.]
It’s nine at night here now and we got back to our home base safe and sound. Traveling and transportation here is always a questionable experience but it’s an experience nonetheless. Lake Nakuru was cool but since it’s the end of the wet season the water was too high for flamingos and they migrated north for a while. We saw a few but mostly we saw tons of zebras and giraffes again with a few rhinos here and there. All of the parks here are awesome and it’s crazy to think the animals are just roaming free with no fences or anything.
Now I’m going to ramble about a few random things…
I’ve noticed that kids grow up fast here. There were three children herding cattle that couldn’t have been older than five or six. In the middle of what seems to me to be nowhere these kids are left alone to wander the land with their village animals. Kids as small as three or four walk home from school alone or just with a group of kids around their same age. It’s crazy to think how in a country Americans perceive as so unsafe the people living here couldn’t think any differently. Our driver told us today that he doesn’t understand the US government. He says they are constantly talking about when terrorist attacks are going to happen in Kenya and other countries but they have no idea when someone is planning an attack on them. He went on to say everywhere in the world is dangerous, you just have to look out for yourself and not be stupid. Opayn is his name and he’s one of the most interesting people I’ve meet so far. He stands a good 6’4″ and is thick all the way through. Standing on the van steps I am only even, maybe an inch taller than him and yesterday he threw me on his back like I was a child. He comes off harsh, but most of the people here do. However, when he laughs his whole entire face lights up and a loud, low hahaa spills out of him. He’s outstanding and I couldn’t have asked for a better driver to spend these last couple of days with.
Instead of barbed wire on top of their fences Kenyans have broken shards of glass sticking up, held in by globs of messy piled cement. Park rangers and police walk the streets with huge guns by their side and it makes me feel anything but safe. Hannah and I had a run in with one when we used the bathroom outside in a park. “Kenyan toilet” as Opayn calls it. The ranger wasn’t very happy with us but when talking to Opayn (who saved us from having to pay a fine) he called us stupid tourists and moved on. Opayn got quite a chuckle out of this. The toilets here are really gross and the one in the park was the worst I’ve ever seen. The toilet paper here is blue…which is interesting.
I haven’t seen one speed limit sign. It seems as though people go however fast they want or how ever fast the bumpy dirt roads allow them. There’s also no painted lines on the paved roads. People drive where ever they want and even turn a two lane highway into a one way highway as long as no one else is coming the other direction. The driving is hectic and makes me nervous so I choose to turn my head out the window and not pay attention. I had full faith in Opayn; it’s everyone else I don’t trust. People also don’t seem to be bothered by cars. They walk dangerously close and weave trough traffic…even on their bikes.
All the buildings are painted bright colors but I’ve learned you can’t trust any of the signs or painted on words. Over half of the buildings in small villages say “hotel” on the side and many of the building walls are used as advertising space that advertises things not relevant to what the store actually sells. The drug stores are called chemists, which confused me at first but semi makes sense when you think about it. I think that’s all I have to ramble about for now. Tomorrow we catch our plane to Malindi where we will be holding small children for three weeks. PS- Andrea, if you’re reading this, Hannah found your letter and it couldn’t have made her more happy.