My African Adventure
After the Safari
In my first hub I discussed my travels from my small town just outside of Birmingham, Alabama to the Atlanta International airport where I flew through Dubai and then into Nairobi, Kenya. Once I reached Nairobi, we were greeted by Paul, our safari driver who took us on a five hour bus ride into Mesa Mara where we stayed at the Camp Rhino for our three day safari. We saw great sights, explored the wilderness, met the villagers, took pictures of all the animals and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now the safari had come to an end so it was time to continue on our journey. We said our goodbyes and loaded onto the safari bus and started our journey back up the dirt roads to the city of Nairobi.
Are We There Yet?
Although it was sad to say goodbye to our new friends and to leave such a beautiful place, I must say that I was very excited to be headed back into civilization. I had been without Internet and social media for way too long. I needed to catch up with friends and family back home in the U.S. I had somehow forgotten the intense pain of traveling that bumpy, dirt road and my need for a better support bra for this journey. I also wasn't thinking when I had the second cup of coffee before heading out on the journey. There are no stops for at least the first three hours of this drive. Finally we reached a paved road and the beginning of civilization. We stopped at a little trade shop to use the restrooms. Much to my surprise the toilets were unlike anything I had seen. I was confused and distraught at how I was suppose to use such a facility as this and my bladder wouldn't allow for much time to study. I decided to do the best I could on these so called "squatters". Let's just say that I'm not a squatting champ and my Capri pants were carrying the evidence. After that embarrassing display, we were once again back enroute. the temps were hot, the roads heavily traveled and the monkeys and baboons were all along the roadways looking for a ride.
As we continued along this winding road up the mountain towards the city, we saw a lot of curio shops. These were little shops set up alongside the road where natives were selling their arts and crafts. There were also petro stations for fuel and few kitchens serving food. As time passed I began to crave an ice cold beverage. Since arriving in Africa, I had not had any cold beverages. They were served at room temperature and no one used ice. When from out of the blue, like a mirage in the desert, I saw a Pepsi cooler standing outside a petro station. My mouth began to water and before I knew it I was screaming to stop the bus. Looking back now I can see it as a slow motion commercial of my jumping from the bus and running to the machine. And there it hit me, the biggest disappointment of the week. The cooler was not plugged up. Not only were these drinks not cold but they were excessively hot because they were sealed in this hot cooler. My want for a cold drink would have to wait. By the time we reached Nairobi, I was so tired that I fell asleep and forgot my need for a drink.
Where are the red lights?
The following morning I was up early and ready to start the day. We decided to do a little sight seeing in the city of Nairobi. Parts of the city were very modernized while other parts were dirty and very polluted. The thing that stood out most were that the steering wheels were on the right side of the cars and they drive on the left side of the road. Then I noticed that traffic was quite congested and there were no stop signs or red lights. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure if there were any driving rules or laws. They created their own lanes of traffic. I was terrified. I finally just closed my eyes until we had stopped. We had lunch at an outdoor eating establishment that seemed to be their version of a sports bar. They did serve beer and several TVs were set to a rugby game which I found to be totally cool. It seemed like football with no pads. I wouldn't want my kids playing that game but it was fun to watch and the locals were serious about their teams. The only entree available that day was BBQ goat. I must say that it actually looked and smelled delicious especially since I had not eaten anything other than toast in days But I just couldn't bring myself to try it. Instead I decided on fries. The African style fries were fried potatoes, not cut, but whole. I learned the hard way, you don't bite into a whole fried potato until it has completely cooled.
With only a few hours left before our flight out of Nairobi, we wanted to take in all we could see. It was suggested to us to explore Hell's Gate National Park. We assumed like the other parks, we would drive through. We were mistaken. You can not drive through this park. You have to hike. I'm not in the best shape for hiking but I figured I could probably keep up. Little did I know that hiking would include rock climbing!! I was so glad I wore tennis shoes! Our tour guide explained the reason for the name "Hell's Gate" was because of the hot springs that bubble from the ground. I told him it's because of the Hell I was going through trying to get up and down those rocks. At one point I told them to just leave me there to die. It really was a beautiful sight. The cold waterfalls and the bubbling hot springs were amazing. We saw the real Pride Rock which was the inspiration for the Disney movie Lion King. Leave it to me to be the only one in our group to fall into a big mud puddle. With no time left to go back to the hotel, I would have to clean up at the airport. Although the soreness from climbing the rocks made it hard to walk, it was worth it to see this place.
The Trader's Market
Once again the time had come to move on to a new location. Our travel agent, Peter, and our tour guide, Simon, were great. On the way to the airport we made a stop by the local trader's market. There were so many people with their hand made items. I wanted to buy something from all of them. They had beautiful paintings, wood carved animals, pottery, and so much more. Suddenly I heard the most beautiful voice. It was a man's voice and I believed he was speaking in the Swahili language. It sounded as if he were either preaching or praying. I had to find where it was coming from. My friends laughed and thought it silly but still I searched. I finally found an elderly man in the midst of this crowded market on his knees, eyes shut and speaking so beautifully. I was completely drawn to him. I then noticed he had a Holy Bible in his hand. I asked my friends to please just stand there in support of this Christian man. They again thought it silly because we didn't know what he was saying but It somehow gave me a sweet comfort to listen. I have no idea this man's name but I say prayers for him even still today. I pray for blessings on this man who stands up for his christian faith in a primarily muslim country. After some time, we continued on our way to the airport. This part of our journey had come to an end and a new journey to the next country would begin.