Posted by: seafarmer | December 29, 2010

Christine’s daily diary of Kenya trip – first episode: getting there –

Christine’s daily diary: Kenya trip 2010

18 Nov Thursday
Colin and I went to say a Hello to Dee, TM and baby James, two weeks old.
He’s peaceful after yelling all night. We were in good time for the plane. I am pretty negative about the
discomforts ahead – 19 Nov
– and indeed feeling them in Dubai airport 29 hours later. 4 hours in Chch
and 3 in Sydney and 14 hours in an airbus across Australia and Indian Ocean.
Altogether so fantastic that we can do this. I couldn’t cope with a middle
seat and found an aisle one. Packed plane – 480 passengers?
I’m watching a bank of five wide lifts go up and down. It’s cool and tiled
and not too noisy in Arrivals Hall. My flight has gone, all the people have
gone through. ……
…….

Carolyn finally arrived nearly 0730 and almost skipped past me.. thank
goodness we met after all the waiting. She’s come from Oslo via Heathrow.
Everything’s fine now, even better when we sat down at Pearl Apartments and
could relax- the room was fine – plain but OK – and it was great to shower
and stretch out in bed. I dozed, Carolyn slept pretty well.

We had a brief walk round the block and ate local food at another apartment
hotel. It was 31 C not too bad because of breezes from the highrises. There
is a pool at the top of ours but no time to use it as we booked to take a
desert drive – had to wait an hour in hotel lobby. Carolyn got front seat which was great as she asked good questions. It was
quite a drive out of town, endlessly expanding miles of pylons and new
developments. Palm farms, a deer herd, palace fences that went for
kilometres with concrete walls 2.5m high.

Osman the driver did his stuff over the dunes, Carolyn thought it fun for a
start. I just gritted my teeth and put up with it. The two Cape Town Indian
ladies screamed a bit, as did the Indian lady in the back. He was fairly
safe I thought but I hated the episode. Well! We got discharged from the vehicle and told he’d come for us at
9.30pm. 9.30! It was barely 5pm. The main attraction was three camels giving
rides – in a ring at most 20m diameter! Poor things were up and down every
three minutes. Carolyn got on one for the sake of it, even though it was
groaning each time it had to sit and stand.. They were wearing quite tight
muzzles. So I waited at the tea and coffee stand, the boy was boiling up, he
indicated Just a minute, so I waited and waited and there was finally no
coffee just boiling water, and a teabag. Tea and I and Carolyn climbed the
nearest sand dune and sat down to watch the sunset. No moment of glancing up
at the sky was empty of a big jet lumbering in or out. ~15 ATVs roared round
and round a small arena, 2 aboard each, women screaming, bounce, bounce. In
the enclosure crowds were gathering as the Toyotas disgorged more
passengers. We were both completely disgusted at the noisy, dusty scene and hung around
as the vehicles came in, asking if we could get back to town. (Excuse for
party-pooping- both been travelling for days!) No way, unless by taxi from
the bus dropoff.

OK so we decided to join in – I felt much better as we realised it was a
special party night Eid al-Adha after the Hajj. We sat on benches over
carpets on the sand with heavy pillows for bottoms and feet.
People danced freely under the stars – a lot of men with men, a surprise for
Carolyn. We were well-entertained. One cameo was a tent where men tried on
traditional garb and posed for a photo. Another was henna-painting of hands
and feet. There was a circle of hubble-bubble pipes – anyone could take a
turn but I don’t think it was a women’s thing.

The event of the night for us was a whirler with several coloured skirts –
it was his stamina that got us – he whirled fast for ? 15 minutes? his
skirts lit up brightly as a highlight. The final event was a single belly
dancer. We queued to leave, but no good, we had to wait until they had
ferried all the others back to buses – finally safe home, driver Osman
chatting Carolyn up quietly.

20 Nov
Mum (Effie)’s 96th birthday. She died on 17 Nov 1992.

I was up about 6 and tested out the roof pool but it was all locked up. We
had relaxed b’fast and drive to airport, walked the length of the very long
terminal 3, gently. Lovely hazlenut latte and couch right by our gate.
Feeling very well after a zopiclone sleep. Somewhat giggly now and then,
dancing down the plane ‘I’m going to Kenya’. Last evening’s outing was a
good start to breaking us into novelty.

Sitting beside Carolyn on the plane is so different from the long journey to
get here, when I just had to grin and bear it, wait for the time to pass.
Now I’m enjoying every minute! She has seven weeks of travel to tell me
about, she’s seen all the rellies and lots of friends. Great excitement at Nairobi airport. A big change from the gleaming spaces
of Dubai. Manny astonishingly youthful looking. Traffic very tight, hectic.
A big road into town, all built up tho’ we saw giraffe and zebra on left
through a big fence. The main impression was the amazing traffic and people
walking across the road. We even saw a cyclist heading the wrong way down
the fast lane of a 4-lane divided highway – be prepared for simply anything
if you drive here! It was thrilling to be driven with skill and local
knowledge. The house is four storeys, with magnificent furniture and Musa’s carvings
everywhere. He does wood and also taxidermied fish in imaginative settings.
CA and I especially like a brown wooden varnished fish with copper reeds
floating over it. Wonderful persian rugs everywhere. All overlooking the
lake – 3 or 4 terraces of immaculate hedging and noisy peacocks and geese
and two dogs. A full moon arose over the lake; I was entranced – sat in my
corner bedroom awhile and watched.

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