I left Lake Navaisha after a few days. I had a marvellous time, but it was time to move on. I had organised a home stay in the Mara via e mail. I caught an early matatu to Narok, a kind of nothing much town. The drive there was about two hours and not at all interesting, except that they tried to charge me mzungu prices for the trip!! I just pretended to get mad, packed up my luggage and pretend to walk away. Quickly the price went down by 200 shilling. I had no idea what to expect but tried not to have a pre -conceived idea of what would be at the end stop. I was told to ask the driver to drop me off two kilometers before the Sekenani Gates of the National park in the Mara. Just before I reached there, it started to rain, or pour rather. The heavens opened up and it all came down in one go. The bus driver unceremoniously dumped me on the side of the road. But through the hazy, wet mist i could see a figure coming, wrapped in bright orange and red, with a hot pink umbrella. Meet James, the pastor, in whose little compound I will be staying. The mud was amazing. I had great difficulties staying upright. But before long we were at James ‘house and welcomed with hot coffee by his wonderful wife, Caroline. After the introductions and coffee , I was showing the little manyatta where i was to stay for the next four weeks. A manyatta is a traditional mud hut, made from sticks and covered with cow dung, sand and straw. By the time the meal came i was exhausted and had an early night. The next morning all was forgotten, the sun was up and the views were amazing. On one side are the mountains, on the other the gentle rolling hills of the Rift Valley. Stunningly beautiful in the morning sun. The landscape is dotted with figures clad in red or orange, the traditional shuka (blankets) of the Maasai. There is a reason of course for this colour. It makes the people stand out in all the wonderful, different shades of green of the landscape. It also deters the wild animals, I was told
After an uneventful flight from Addis Ababa, sitting next to the fattest man I have ever met in my life, I arrived in Nairobi. After all the negative propaganda, I was actually quite apprehensive to come here! I arrived at the airport where the friendly Jambo (hello) rang through every minute! The friendly smiles and heartfelt welcome was not at all what I had expected. Hassle free I took a government taxi with James. He was proud of his country and very entertaining to say the least. Nairobi was the biggest surprise ever. It reminded me of Adelaide. It’s buildings are not too high. The streets are wide, clean and laid out in a grid. It was so incredibly modern. Marabou storks flying high above the city centre. Huge, lugubrious, long beaked birds who reminded me of the pterodactyls. I was amazed. I found a lovely hotel, totally out of my price range, but hey, if i can’t spoil myself once in a while who can? I was up on the first day keen to get started. I had not brought an universal plug so the first thing i noticed was the inability to charge my camera! Shame, as i went for a big walk for hours and saw many thing i would have liked to photograph. The first thing was to find a plug that would fit the English system. It didn’t take me long at all. People are so incredibly friendly. Not so the Russian tourists I came across. I found myself apologising for their rudeness! Thank god us Australians have a reputation of being easy going and very friendly. I stumbled across the convention centre, and believe me, it could have been anywhere in Oz. Stunningly modern and beautiful. I didn’t want to go up without my camera, so i walked along the wide streets of Nairobi. A once a month Maasai market was on today. I wasn’t going to spend any money, as i am hopeless working out the value on my first day. I never know what to devide in what….. hence i often overspend on the first days. Needless to say I bought a Maasai bracelet, earrings and a necklace. Great! So much for my resolutions!!! I am in the middle of organising a village stay with the Maasai Mara. This seems to get more and more expensive the more enthusiasm i show!! Anyway tomorrow first a change of hotels, then a visit with camera to the convention centre and in the afternoon a visit to the near by Wildlife Park with city views! On Monday a visit to the Tanzanian Embassy to get my visa and a visit to the Karen Blixen Museum of Out of Africa fame. Life is good and god is great. Or is it the other way around?