Nairobi, Kenya via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
|Last nite Marie Niege left in eve for vacation in France(home)...it is weird wishing someone farewell/bon voyage from THEIR home as visitors, ha! She was a most wonderful hostess, we enjoyed seeing/visiting her here. Since the next day was Friday, worship day for all Muslims, the city was pretty much closed down. Bon did a lot of 'clean up' in the apt. and we spent the day inside(it was hot and humid outside). Taxi to airport and then take off at 7 brought us into Addis Ababa and hour later. This was our first experience having connections between flights from eve to morning(our plane to Nairobi leaves Sat. 23rd), so the Ethiopian Air folks put us up in a fine hotel w/ dinner & BREAKFAST!
Plane to Nairobi took 2 hours and included a fine brunch, we left at 11am and arr at 1 pm...got a taxi into town(45 min. ride), and found a fine hotel downtown, the Greton Hotel just 2000 KF($14 US) for the 3 of us. Didn't get out and about soon enuf to check on safaris, etc. since most everything closes at 4, this being a very Christian country, they also close up tight all day Sunday so not much to do for future planning til Monday.
Our taxi driver was from the Lou tribe, the opposition which claims to have won the election but feel it was stolen from them. All's quiet for now but something must be done he says or there will be more trouble. We found out the saying, "When the bull elephants fight, the grass suffers." This is the situation here.
Another milestone for our journey: We are now South of the Equator for the first time on this trip.
Nairobi itself is quite a clean town in the city center/bus. district, not a lot of garbage/plastic/trash in streets. Sidewalks are totally filled w/ venders, however, so no where to walk but in streets most of the time, crazy! They say that a law was passed to eliminate these vendors which takes effect Mar. 6th, we shall see since I understand this is the way it's been a long, long time.
At breakfast we listened to a Masai fellow who is working as a human rights activist...the Masai believe that since the 100 yrs which they granted to the British to use their land is over(ended in 2002), the treaty they signed moved the Masai N and S leaving a white island in the middle and says the land should be returned. That is what the Masai today think should happen, hmmm! Another group that is dissatisfied with the status quo here.
Being a Sunday we have fewer options, decided to go to see the home where the gal(Karen Blixen) who wrote 'Out of Africa' lived, used to be a huge colonial estate with thousands of acres. Now it is just a few buildings which have recently(since 1999) been converted/remodeled/added to to make an expensive ($20 US Sunday buffet) tourist/expat restaurant. Went down the road to where the museum is located in her actual home...cost of admission was over $12 US so we opted out of that! Back in town via metro bus we went to a Wimpys where the middle class locals bring their families for Sunday lunch...it was packed with Kenyans!
Spent the day shipping boxes bome(3 kg = $38 US, half the price of Djibouti) & reserching safari tour cos...after Tony(Anthony Degwa...firstname.lastname@example.org) from our hotel led us to Amicabre Travel Services (we went to 2 others, one said it would be impossible to arrange any budget tour in our price range, the other was very casual, not professional at all, no real explanation of package, costs, ability to fit our needs, etc). Rebecca Injete Ndubi, kind of the gal in charge put together an 8 day safari which incl. all we were looking for but was quite a bit more $$ than we expected($120/day/person for camping).
After much discussion, debate, and general hand ringing over the cost we decided since we're here and not coming back...
Package: Nairobi to Tanzania & Lake Manyara NP, then to Ngorongoro Crater, then to Arusha(ON), back to Kenya & Ambaseli NP returning to Nairobi(ON). Final safari to Masai Mara Natl. Reserve.