Well, we’re in Kenya and it’s fantastic! The bus ride here was so much better than either of the other long bus trips we took. We left only 11 minutes late and kept quite good time the entire day. We stopped for real bathroom breaks and lunch. Once we got to nairobi, the lady from the tour company met us at the bus station and took us to our hotel, which was really nice! We had a fantastic shower (which had curtains separating it from the toilet and sink, unlike in gulu), and the food at the restaurant was really good. We got in touch with Jon and planned to go to church with them the next day. The weather here is lovely (Nairobi is the same elevation as Denver) so we slept well and didn’t even have to have the windows open. Sunday morning, Jon and Molly’s friend Andrew picked us up and took us to church. Their church has just moved into their own building (most recently they had been meeting at a soccer stadium) and is quite large according to Andrew. After church we went to Jon and Molly’s and had spaghetti for lunch which was very yummy! We met 4 of their 7 kids and had a great afternoon just relaxing. We saw the Orphanage and met a lot of the kids. The orphanage is amazing! It’s beautiful and definitely exceeded our expectations. The parents were very welcoming and we had tea with one of them. The mom of this family even had some medical questions for us, so with Molly as our translator, we did our best to diagnose and treat her! We ended the evening by watching ‘Fireproof’ which was really good. Neither of us had seen it and we both liked it. Better than what I expected I’d say.
I forgot to mention how much more developed Kenya seems than Uganda. Nearly as soon as we had crossed the border, we noticed that the farms are plotted out in a very organized fashion, we saw electrical wires running even to the smallest of villages, and some of the cattle/sheep/goats were fenced in in their own pastures. Once we got to Nairobi, we knew what people meant by it being a ‘real’ city as compared to Kampala. Kampala is about 1/5 the size of Nairobi though, so it makes sense that Nairobi seems much bigger. :) We’ve noticed that people understand our English a lot better here than anywhere we’ve been in Uganda. The best part, however, is the weather! Apparently right now is the hottest it gets and it’s by far, more comfortable than Uganda. It’s actually gorgeous!
Back to the list of events. Today, we started our safari!! We were picked up at 9 am and shortly after that, headed for Lake Nakuru, which is something like 160 km from Nairobi. We’re the only people on our safari which is actually just fine. There may be a couple people joining us tomorrow, but we’ll see. About 40 miles outside Nairobi, we got to The Great Rift Valley which goes from Jordan to Mozambique. In the distance was Mt. Longonot, which is still an active volcano but I guess they don’t think it will erupt anytime soon. While we stopped for pictures, a man started telling us about the valley and the mountain ranges, and of course wanted to sell us something. We were going to buy something small so I went to get my money and then came back to ask how much he was asking (expecting the equivalent of a couple US dollars), and he said 15,000 Ksh (nearly $200!!) for the two small (approximately the size of coasters) items!!! I think my eyes nearly popped out of my head I was so shocked. I know they start high, but you’d have thought this sketch was made of gold! We got him down to 1,000 Ksh (about $12.50) which was still ridiculous, but we felt like we couldn’t get out of the shop if we didn’t buy these silly things (he was blocking the door so Jon couldn’t get out and I couldn’t just leave him there!). Quite an experience and something we at least have laughed about!
We finally got to Lake Nakuru and started on our game drive, which ended up being fantastic. We saw 5 rhinos really close to our car, lots of giraffe, flamingos, tons of water buffalo, monkeys, baboons, and lots of antelope-type animals (the smallest being about 18 in and called dik-dik). The rhinos were definitely the highlight. We were hoping to see them (sometimes they’re hard to find), but we never imagined they’d be so close!
Tonight we’re at a pretty nice hotel (we thought we’d be roughing it!) and we leave tomorrow morning for Masai Mara. We definitely want to see lions and are really hoping to see cheetahs which are pretty difficult to spot.
I’ll write again if we have internet, but at least wanted to let everyone know we’re safe. We get back to Nairobi on Thursday and will stay with Jon and Molly until Sunday morning. We’re so glad to have met them and looking forward to seeing them again in a few days!