Saturday, December 19, 2009


Loaded into the van by 7am, ready to rock or at least to drive over every single rock in the country. We had to drive back to Nairobi, pick up our train tickets for January, and then continue on to our night's lodging. I really tried sleeping some, but when you are being jostled around like bad turbulence in twin engine plane, during a thunderstorm, it is difficult to stay asleep for longer than 3 minutes at a time.

What disturbs the rest is the seatbelt. With jumps the vehicle makes, the seatbeat tries doing a Houdini act and cut me in two. I thought it and Ron said it; these vehicles should come equipped with seatbelts and neck braces.

Road side produce stands are ubiquitious and they all seem to be selling the same thing. If I wanted to buy some of their produce, I would be in a quandry who to choose from. Everyone had the same exact product. I can just hear the "Buy something from me too" chants as a person approaches one of them. They must feel like they are winning the lottery when they make a sale with chances about the same. What is scenic is that so many of them wear their native dress, not the typical Western dress.

Even today being Saturday, the traffic was heavy, causing us to stop and crawl intermittently. During these times, people are walking between cars selling things as diverse as you can imagine. You can purchase your groceries for dinner, decorate your home, or buy emetgency supplies. There were fruit sellers, men carrying framed prints ready to hang on the wall, top-up cards for mobile phones, emergcncy kits for cars, soccer balls, and even pool toys for children. Spider Man was really popular. If only they had neck braces, they could have had two sales. Up and down the street they would carry their goods hoping to trade their product for your cash.  A couple of times, we had to stop for cows or goats crossing the road. It was a long day in the van for us, but more so for Joseph. It is beyond me how someone can do this all of the time. Ron asked when he had a vacation, but the answer was when he did not have work. Out of nowhere, we heard this child whining "Daddy, pick up the phone." It was quite startling coming out of the silence. That is the mobile ring on Joseph's phone when his family calls. We would up hearing it a number of times that day.

As soon as we made it to our lodging, Sarova ( they again greeted us with wet cloths and juice. After a day on these roads, using the wet towel on our face, created our own Turin shroud. This is again more upscale than we anticipated. We were immediately ushered to lunch, a tremendous buffet of choices. We did not have much time to eat; Joseph had us ready to meet him for our safari drive in the Lake Nakuru Reserve. Here they are known for tree climbing lions, white rhinos, and flamingos. A couple of Finnish people who work for the Finnish Embassy asked if would be possible to join us. They did not come on a tour and to rent a car was 100 euros for the day. Joseph did not care, so they joined us. During the drive, we came across a large number of birds. The Finnish man asked me if it was called a flock? When I said it was, he asked if we used the same word for all groups of animals. No, we have a herd of cows, a gaggle of geese, a pride of lions, and a pod of whales. Not that we were going to see any whales, but I was explaning how we had different words for different animals. Then I began to wonder why? I could not think of the word for a group of hippos, though there is a special word for it and no Google access to check it out.

We were rewarded immediately with herds (if this is corrct) of zebras, and families of hyenas, and white rhinos. This reserve is too small to hold elephants as they need more room and cause too much damage to trees. Within an hour, we found 3 lions resting on a dead fallen tree, but as we moved forward, there are actually 5. The animal life was substantial and many of them were not shy about crossing the road in front of us or being close enough to enjoy their majesty. The park was known for its millions of flamingos, but Joseph was telling us that the lake has not been at full capacity since 1970. With the draught they have had for three years, the lake is disappearing and so is the flamingo population. We could see them from a far distance, but not even close enough to tell what they were, let alone photograph. We have heard a few stories already about global warning ruining the animal population. I cannot help it, but everytime I see a zebra, I want to run it over a bar code scanner and see what happens. Trivia:  Every zebra has its own set of stripes unlike the others, like people's fingerprints. A mother zebra and her offspring can recognize each other by their stripe pattern.

This lodge also had a Masai dance and chant performance, but at the reasonable hour of 7:30 pm, so we were able to watch it and then have dinner.  Speaking of which, it was again a magnificent buffet. It would be so easy to overeat at each meal, but I have been trying to diligently keep my selections sparse and the portions minimal. Even at that I feel like the Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, but I am certain it is more the sitting all day than anything else. It could all be straightened out with more water, but more water means more rest stops.

As upscale as this place is, we preferred the first place over this one.
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