Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Safari, day 3: to Lake Naivasha

Today was, indeed, a long day of travel. We piled in the van at 7:30 and drove and drove and drove. First we drove the bumpy -- I mean massage -- road to the edge of the park.

Then on increasingly better roads as we got closer to Nairobi. The hours in the van provided us with plenty of interesting scenery -- even if it wasn't elephants.

After several hours in the vans we reached the outskirts of Nairobi. We passed the airport, then the fabulous Panari Hotel (where we would be staying on our final night in Kenya), and then arrived at the Eka Hotel, where we would have lunch. Oddly enough, this was the worst lunch we've had on the entire trip. The food was mediocre, there wasn't much in the way of vegetarian dishes, and the staff was weird. First they wouldn't let Wil and I sit an an empty table, and then they forced us to sit at two different tables. It was, in a word, weird.

After lunch we had another 2+ hours in the vans ... though we did stop on the way at a viewpoint over the Great Rift Valley -- and, of course, a curio shop...

It was a pity that the weather wasn't great -- but, as we kept saying, we were grateful to have had perfect weather on our climb. Still, I would have loved a clearer view of the Rift Valley!

The highlight of the stop -- besides picking up some Stoney Tangawizi, was when I asked Julie to try on one of the hats.

And she did. I love Julie.

At another curio shop / bathroom break I bought a bag of "Tingly Cheese & Onion" crisps ...

It was only after I opened them that I saw I could have had Zingy Salt & Vinegar...

Still, I think "tingly" is nicer than "zingy". How nice? Well, "they're krackleicious". (You *know* there were meetings to decide how to spell "krackleicious". 'Do we keep the "e"?')

Then we finally arrived at the lodge -- all feeling jangled and weird and stressed. The traffic had been hectic -- hectic enough for passengers, I can't imagine how it was for Joseph!

We had a "welcome drink", got a little overview of the lodge, and were turned loose for the evening.

It was clear that this is just a place to stop en route to Nakuru. There's a nice lodge -- a very nice conference center, in fact, a lake, and some gardens. We settled into our room first.

We have a nice little patio with a view of the lawn stretching to the lake... complete with wildlife:

We had been told that we shouldn't walk out past the fence without a guide, so we went to the office and asked if someone would walk us to the lake. A security guard named Isaac walked us out there, telling us that the lake had flooded. Not due to rain, but due to climate change.

You could see that the trees had been damaged... and that many trees were still partially submerged.

We saw a man fishing on a platform quite far from shore and asked Isaac how he got there, since there's no boat. Isaac told us that it's very shallow, and that the man had just waded out there.

As we turned back, you could really see that they had worked to raise the level of the walkway.  

Then as we headed back, we noticed another group walking in a different direction. Wil asked Isaac where they were going, and Isaac said, "Probably to see the baby giraffes."



Well okay then! These little fellas are about a month old.

They sauntered off, we felt happy, and all was right with the world. We had a lot of time to kill before dinner ... so Wil had a dip in the pool:

Then we got our daily "medicine" -- a gin and tonic -- and walked around the grounds some more. We observed two vervet monkeys having a thorough grooming session:

Poked around the gift shop, and then bumped into Deborah who also was at a loss for how to keep herself busy. So we took some pictures.

Dinner was a little odd -- though the restaurant set up was ingenious -- one central buffet, with separate dining rooms jutting off it for the different groups at the conference center. We were thrilled to actually see a few African foods on the menu, including ugali for the first time (woot!). But we were somewhat randomly seated at a table by ourselves, which felt a little strange.

no hippos here
After dinner we took a walk to the fence to look for hippos -- sadly, no joy -- and then joined the group at the campfire for a little bit before slipping back to our room to listen to Norse myths and sleep.

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