Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya!
Not many nice things to say about this city except that the internet is cheap and fast.
Every time I begin to write, my head is whirling with all the different things I want to say and tell about. Everything is so new and in some ways very overwhelming so that words do not suffice. For example, I could go off on the smells of Africa - the incredible scent of tropical flowers mixed with the eye stinging, horrible smell of diesel fuel. And there are so many other things that attack or soothe the olfactory senses.
Last Wednesday, exactly a week after arriving in Tanzania, I headed off to Kenya. I was really really lucky because I had been advised by my cousin to go to the local bread shop where all the foreigners and overland trips stop. So I did, and on my second day there I met a nice couple who were the guides for an overland tour that had started in Cape Town and was finishing up in Nairobi. They told me they would be leaving the following Wednesday, (three days ago), and I was welcome to hitch a ride up north. So that's exactly what I did. And not only did I get a free ride, but they were going to be passing Nairobi and heading to Lake Naivasha, a lake about 45 minutes to an hour north west of Nairobi. That's where I had wanted to go, so it worked out great. Not to mention they offered me meals and I had now 10 new people to hang with while at the lake. It was a wonderful way to start my journey around East Africa.
While heading to the Kenyan border we stopped to look at Mt. Kilimanjaro, which was free of clouds amazingly enough. It's pretty impressive, standing at 19,567 ft. We'll see if I actually climb it. Crossing the border was a piece of cake. We stopped at the Kenyan airport for some of the people on the truck so they could check on flights leaving in a few days. I got some money and then we were off to Lake Naivasha. Well, driving there was beautiful. We were able to look out over the great Rift Valley and it is awesome. Everything is very green and there are all these farms around full of coffee or corn or whatever else.
At the lake we set up camp and hung out. There was a three foot electric fence right near our tents due to problems with hipppos. At night they come out, and the fence is there to deter them. However, they are very dangerous animals so if you were to bother them at all, the little fence would be no deterrent at all. And they are huge and loud. I fell asleep to the sound of hippos - now how often can you say that!
One of the days I went to Crater Lake and saw some cool Colobus monkeys in the acacia trees. They're black and white monkeys with lots of excess hair. Their tails look kind of like cat tails and you see them swinging them up in the trees. Later in the day I went to Elsamere, the house of the late Joy Adamson (author of Born Free). It's a great house and they show you a video on her life, working with Elsa the lion, Pippa the cheetah and Penny the leopard. It's pretty amazing what she was able to do. In addition, they feed you teas and cakes on the lawn overlooking the lake; the colobus and vervet monkeys play around too. And on a little side note, the male vervet monkeys have these bright pastel colored b***s. It's hard to miss, let me tell you. I had a blast just sitting there watching the monkeys play with each other. There was even a mom carrying a baby on her tummy. Super cute.
Yesterday (Saturday), we rolled into Nairobi. Now, to give you an idea of how this city is viewed, its nick name is "Nairobbery". So far I've had no trouble, but it's so polluted and people are asking you for money right and left, and you just feel your space being invaded incessantly. I'm looking forward to leaving tonight. However today, to avoid the city, I went on an organized trip to see the orphan elephants being fed (we got to pet them too), and then we headed to the giraffe center where you can feed giraffes. So cool. They have the longest blue tongues, not to mention they're huge. So, they have their heads right next to you with their tongues sticking out waiting for you to put some pellets in their mouth.
So, that's been my past five days. A couple of years ago you would have received an email saying I was off to France or some Spanish town. Well, now I'm off to Kampala, Uganda to hopefully get a permit to see the mountain gorillas. How does that sound? It's going to be more expensive than I had hoped, but the prices will only rise in the future and who knows how much longer these gorillas will be around. I promise to take lots of pictures to show you in the future.
Well, I don't want to bore you further. I'm sure there are many things I left out and things I should have left out. I'm traveling with four others, maybe six to Uganda; people I met from the overland truck. It's been a good start in meeting people but I'm looking forward to meeting more travelers at the backpackers hostel in Kampala.
Hope you're all doing well and drop me a line to let me know how you are.