"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Kenya Journals, Ch.28: Chasing the Bucket List

Ch. 27:   Chasing the Bucket List

Long before the 2007 movie The Bucket List gave a name to that hope chest of Things-to-do-before-I-Die, I had one.   It had only four items on it back then.

Two were from my childhood:  1) go to Tibet, and, 2)  visit Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig’s magnificent castle in Bavaria.   The third item was added during my twenties:  see whatever sculptures by Michelangelo that I could.

I recall the exact moment I added the fourth item to the list.   It was in the mid-1980s and I was a passenger on a tour coach, gazing out a rain-spattered window as we drove through the Japanese city of Kyoto.  Suddenly, I saw the unmistakable pattern of a giraffe’s hide.

I saw only the neck.   The head was obscured by trees and the body by a high wall.  I turned in my seat and marveled at that disembodied neck for as long as it was in view, which—given the rain, the city traffic, and the lush vegetation—lasted perhaps half a block.  What was a giraffe’s coat like to the touch, I wondered.   Was it coarse; was it soft?  Was it long; was it short?  

Item Number Four:   Touch a giraffe.

Today, as we fly from the Masaai Mara back to Nairobi, is my best chance to fulfill the fourth and last item on that bucket list.   Mind you, I’m talking about that original list.   It has since grown exponentially with the passing years.


Our departure from the Mara airstrip was delayed only a little by boys playing with their toys:   Greg with his Go-Pro camera and our pilot mounting it under the wing of the plane.  No problem with being delayed a few minutes because having the camera on the wing meant  that we flew lower than usual so the camera would record the landscape.

The boys plotting how to attach Greg's Go-Pro camera to the wing.

Well, well, well,.   There was already a mount on the wing and a relatively simple matter to attach Greg's camera.

Shortly after we arrived in Nairobi and were transported through the traffic, we arrived at a tall gate with a rock bunker off to the side.   It had gun slits, troughs for pouring boiling oil onto the attackers, crenellations for the defenders to hide behind while they launched their arrows and spears, and….   

Our ride.

 No, wait.   It’s just a security gate, African style, which means it was very, very secure.

The security bunker is at right.

Charlie, left, me and Greg.   Note how tall Greg is.   There will be a test later.

A short drive through a pleasant glade, and there we were:   Giraffe Manor, a boutique hotel dedicated to having its guests enjoy the company of very tall guests that that stick their heads into your personal space and kiss you with their very long black tongues.

  We are met at the front door and check into the hotel.   Then, we are escorted to our room.   The three of us are staying in the Denys Finch-Hatton suite.

Reception area.

If that name sounds slightly familiar, then the name of his girlfriend should be quite familiar:   Karen Blixen, who wrote under the pen name Isek Dinesen, the author of Out of Africa.  There is a room in Giraffe Manor named after Blixen, and contains some of her personal possessions.

Greg assigns me to the king-sized bed downstairs.  He and Charlie take the two twin beds upstairs.


The shower stall!!!   Larger than some folks' living rooms.

The suite is exquisite, but there’s no time for exploring right now.   We are a bit late for lunch on the patio, so we hurry to get squared away and outside.

Lunch is also exquisite.   There are giraffe motif touches all around.

Sesame chicken.   Delicious

The water pitcher.

No time for lingering after lunch because we are expected for a private tour at the facility next door—Giraffe Centre.   We are met in front of the manor by a young woman armed with only a long stick and escorted across the front grounds of the manor and through an opening in the chain link fence that protects a planting of acacia saplings from the freely-roaming giraffes.   

This is Greg standing in front of the opening in the chain link fence.   I walked under it with ease, but he and Charlie had to duck.   The next installment of these journals will explain why I'm pointing this out.

Just ahead of us are several giraffes, some eating grass from a manger and others being fed by visitors who are safe on a raised platform.

(to be continued)

No, all giraffe are not alike, nor are their patterns within in sub-species.

For more fun facts about giraffes, follow this link:


1 comment:

  1. You surely must have had to add some extra pages by now to accommodate your bucket list! Quite the suite at Giraffe Manor. Will this be your chance to "touch" a giraffe??? Eagerly looking forward to the "to be continued" part! Hugs. Patti and Cap