Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 1- Welcome to Africa

Steve and I (a guy i met at the Wildebeest Camp) arranged to share a cab to our Safari meeting point.

Steve would be accompanying me to Cape Town- from Bendigo he was a Diesel Mechanic (very handy in Africa) and seemed every bit like a good Aussie bloke should.

In the foyer of the Heron Hotel (where our safari left from) we met Iona (from now on called Tweedie), a pretty 18 year old Scottish gap year student and Mel, a 34 year old Queenslander (who had relocated to Melbourne) who now lived in Melbourne.

I was surprised that this would be the team- until we got to Entebbe where we would pick up 13 more people.

After a brief chat with Julius our Ugandan team leader we were off in the largest truck/bus i had every seen outside Dulles airport.

We wasted no time getting to know each other and we chatted all the way to the outskirts of town. It felt good to be leaving Nairobi- i was keen to get into the country side and watch life pass me by.

AS the bus made its way down the old and battered African highway, Steve pointed out a man on the side of the road selling grave stones- soon it seemed we were passing numerous funeral parlours and the reality of the aid epidemic in Africa came home to me- the funeral business in frica is good business and big business if the highway out of Nairobi was any means to judge.

After a few hours on the road we entered the rift valley, the largest valley in all of Africa, one which stretches itself all the way to Morocco in its north west corner.

At our photo stop we were surrounded by the usual touts you'd expect anywhere in the world crys of 'free to look' and 'you need Masai blanket' were ignored by me, instead i was just content to look at the scenery which was beautiful. Long steaches of vivid colour all blurred into one and it looked almost like an old landscape painting... one i had seen before but could not put my finger on.

We were back in our bus in no time- outside i noticed us pass numerous gum trees and suddendly i did not feel too far from home despite being in the Kenyan country side.

AS we approached Nakuru we saw our first animals- ZEbras grazing beside the road... and lots of them too. I was pretty excited i hads not imagined seeing such a beautiful animal just wandering on the side of the road kinda like kangaroos might in rural Australia.

Next we saw some angry looking baboons, ape like but scary looking.

We stopped in town for supplies and loaded the truck/bus with fresh fruit, veggies, pasta, rice, meat, sauces, canned food, eggs, bread, spreads and anything we thought we might like.

We were accosted to gangs of market stall workers who followed us around town trying to persuade us to buy their wares for presents, souvenirs etc with their sales pitches failing they tried the old favourite 'if not today, maybe tomorrow'... i love that one.

As we waited for the bus to come back and collect us we were stared at by some street children who seemed full of joy. Each would make eye contact with us, smile before getting shy and bashful and hiding their face in their arms only to repeate the exact same thing dozens more times. Each time inching a little closer until e were almost touching.

They were laughing too and i could not stop myself- their smiles and their looks were contagious... the laughter of children always is.

We made camp around 5:00pm- Tweedie and I were destined roommates (well tent mates) and together we put our tent us with ease.

1 comment:

Joannie said...

Kathy can I travel with you sometime? Maybe Leslie and Rosie might be interested as well - I'd like to pick up some of your tips, you must have thousands of them. What a wonderful trip. I still sometimes think of those beautiful views that I saw in SA, sometimes the most poor people have the most stunning views. That's life. cheers, Joannie