At Ease for a Day
I wake up early in my comfy bed at The Tamarind Tree hotel in Nairobi. I have no plans for today, other than meeting four of our group for the breakfast buffet, which I do.
Breakfasts in overseas hotels are expansive. They are a lot more than hard boiled eggs, cereal, maybe waffles, maybe pastry or bagels, yoghurt, and coffee that you find in US hotels.
We have an assortment of breads, cereals, yoghurts (including plain), fresh fruits (cut and whole), several hot dishes like sausage, bacon, baked beans, potatoes, foreign dishes, French toast, juices, and waffles, plus a team of cooks standing by a portable grill to make your eggs just like you want them.
|I was hungry after a couple days of airplane fare so I indulged with orange juice, watermelon, a half a passion fruit, potatoes, sausage, scrambled eggs, and a pain de chocolate. Plus a sweet banana for later.|
|Four of our group at lunch. L-R: Sylvia, Cory, Shelly, and Randy.|
|My lunch burger. It was very good but I ate less than half.|
All this included in the price of the room at a Four Star hotel.
Somehow, a mistake in the paperwork for our group results in the hotel thinking that Randy and I are married, apparently because my last name was somehow changed to his last name. That starts a long-running joke, especially when the other five women decide they are Randy's wives, too, in the custom of Kenyan men taking multiple wives. As the first wife, I am Boss Wife.
|My mistakenly-acquired husband who kept us all laughing.|
Sylvia's name is misspelled as "Slyvia." Forever after she shall be known as Sliv.
My friends are off shopping as we have a car and driver available. I avoid shopping like the plague. I am a hawker magnet. They flock to me and don’t take no for an answer, so I avoid any circumstances where they might be.
That leaves me with the whole morning and afternoon to do as I please. And I do.
There is a lovely walk alongside a flower-covered brick wall that has lots of bird life in it.
I meet up with a staff member who tells me where to find more birds. “Follow this walk to the end and turn left. Go through the gates and into the field. Lots of birds.”
I follow his instructions, photographing birds, birds, birds, and some flowers.
I come to the end and approach the gate. It is locked. Oh, well. I meander back along the walk and meet a woman staff member.
|Look closely and you will see that the gate is closed but not locked.|
I tell her about the locked gate. She smiles, tells me to follow her, and when we get to the gate, she gently pushes it open. It isn’t locked at all. She even walks with me into the field and points out birds.
|The first thing I spotted in the field was this large cat. I took some photos to ID it, hoping it was some exotic cat but apparently it's domestic cat, maybe feral.|
I am happy. I’ve flown almost 7400 miles and arrived with my luggage. The kind people of Kenya are doing everything to make my visit enjoyable, and there are lots of birds around the hotel grounds. Plus, I am resting up for the grueling schedule ahead.
|Still working on this ID.|
At lunch, Randy spots some staff carrying a large table from the kitchen to the grass beyond the pool. "That's the largest dessert tray I've ever seen," he says. They turn out to be something else--holiday designs made from nuts, raisins, and candied fruit. And they ARE table sized.
|Some kind of holiday party.|
Thereias some kind of party going on. At one point, a number of people wearing latex gloves surround one of the tables and mix up the fruit and nuts into a pile. What to do with it? Don't know. Maybe fruitcakes?
|There were so many people it was hard to get a look, but you can just see the piles of fruit and nuts on the table.|
Marg and Virginia, the last of our group of seven, arrive late that afternoon. Thist evening, Jason Fernandes of Wilderness Uncut (who arranged this trip and itinerary) takes us all out to dinner.
|My whiskey sour pre dinner. Haven't had one in a long time and this one was delicious.|
Very early in the next morning's rain, we are taken to nearby Wilson airport, where small planes and FBOs ( Fixed Base Operators) are located. Many of the planes here transport people into the many bush camps and national parks.
|Fueling the aircraft in the rain.|
|Keeping rain out of the planes fuel tanks.|
I receive my boarding pass, and away we go. Next stop: Amboseli National Park located along the southern edge of the Kenya/Tanzania border.
|A little narrow for a beverage cart.|
|Amboseli National Park lies on Kenya's southern border with Tanzania.|