Post safari update

[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.

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First day.

Today I pet an elephant and kissed a giraffe and it’s only the beginning of our adventure. We saw baby elephants being fed first thing in the morning and then went and fed some giraffes. After a short lunch break we ended up at a little market followed by a show with native dancers and music. We got back to our home base and I immediately fell asleep only to be awakened by our host telling us dinner was ready. We’re not sure what time we depart tomorrow to go on the safari just yet, but I’m sure we’ll be finding out soon. Fun fact: giraffes tongues are dark because they get burned by the sun. The back of their tongue is pink like ours. Fun fact number two: elephants are susceptible to pneumonia, so they have people sleep with them every night making sure they have blanket on them and making sure they eat every three hours.

Time is hard when it’s changing

I woke up at 6am thinking it was time to start the day. A girl has been coming in and out of our room getting clothes and whatnot–I think she was nice enough to let us steal her bunk bed for a couple nights. It’s still dark outside and people have been up and about making noise for a while now. To shower they use warm buckets of water to rinse until they get more water delivered to the house. Same goes for flushing the toilet so I woke up to the sound of falling water into the deep toilet bowl we tried to avoid last night. 

Between feeling wet from humidity, wide awake because of sleeping for 11 hours yesterday on the plane, and the excitement of just being here I don’t think I’ll be able to fall back asleep.

The noises here are incredible. Through our closed window I can hear a variety of chirping and buzzing. I jokingly told Hannah we could just stay on the driveway for our safari but I think during the day that’s going to hold even more truth. We drove through a canopy of trees and dodged multiple roots and low hanging branches to get back to the house and even at night I could tell it was a sight to see. I can’t wait for sunshine so my eyes can explore everything the darkness of night was hiding from us last night.
Today we are going to be watching baby elephants be fed and hopefully playing with some giraffes. Tomorrow we officially start our safari for five days until we hop on another plane to take us to malindi.
Sidenote: the travel books were right… the food takes forever to eat-chomping on the meat for twice as long as I ever had to in the US but it tastes delicious.

We made it!

Finally in Nairobi! We met the nicest man on the plane who started his own church 20 years ago and he now has over 6000 members of his congregation. We’re surrounded by amazing people with terribly entertaining stories. I have both my bags in hand and a kind man (I’m terrible with names) from IFRE was waiting with a sign for us at the end of baggage claim. We’re on our way to the homebase now where we will spend one night before departing for our safari tomorrow! I would say that it’s beautiful, but it’s a little passed 11pm here and the sun sets at 6:30…so it’s very dark, leaving only the faint shimmering of car lights to guide us through the light rain. It’s adventure time!

Next stop…

We made it to Brussels! Almost 9am here, chilly and drizzling a little bit. I’m eager to get on our next flight but dreading the 11 hours it will take us to get there. We watched movies and ate delicious (I think my dad is the only one who a actually enjoys it) airplane food to fill our tummies so now it’s time to stretch our legs and get the blood flowing. We are officially foreigners in a far away land. Weird!

Going away

I’m sitting in metro Detroit airport, passed security, one beer down a very long day of travel ahead of me. Good thing I have my travel partner, Hannah, by my side reading travel books and telling me everything I need to know.

I can’t yet fathom the idea of being in Africa but I still have to get through DC and Brussels before reaching our semi perminant destination of Nairobi…so I think I have some time to mull it over lol.