A Travellerspoint blog

Love the three day weekends!

Sunday, September 27th:

Thanks to a holiday, we got an extra day off this week, giving us some extra time to explore Kenya. Four friends and I headed north to Lake Naivasha, a fresh water lake about 2 hours north of Nairobi. It was really nice being out of downtown, not dealing with crazy Matatus and all the noise!

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With the lack of water here in Kenya, and Lake Naivasha's infamous flower farms (I didn't realize Kenya is on of the top exporters of flowers in the world), the lake is gradually receding. Plus, the hippos that live in the lake have to venture farther inland and onto campsites, in search of food.

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We spent two days exploring the parks and small lakes in the area. This included a venture along Crescent Island, where we were literally 10 feet away from wild giraffes, zebras, gnus and impalas! The island has been home to movies, including Out of Africa and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider #2 we were told. Beautiful scenery and amazing sights!

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Next, we stopped at Crater Lake, a tiny salt water lake nestled in a valley. The lake is home to tons of flamingos! I'd never seen a flamingo take flight...they literally run along the top of the water before taking off! I tried to get up close and personal, and began sinking in the lake's mud. Dangerous!

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The weekend ended with a boat ride around Lake Naivasha to see the hippos. The people doing their laundry and filling up their water jugs just feet away from the shore was quite a sight as well. What an adventure!

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Posted by BlakeSims 06:36 Comments (0)

Attack of the wild!

Friday, September 18th:

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Animals on parade! I’ve had a lot of close encounters lately with various animals here. Last weekend Lindsey and I headed out to the elephant orphanage. There are almost 30 orphaned babies because of the drought here, lack of food and milk from mamas. Together, we adopted a baby, Kenia. I’m sure we share joint custody with hundreds of other families, but the morning was a lot of fun. The orphanage also had a baby rhino, which paraded in at the end of the day. Super cute!

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This afternoon was our first 6th grade field trip. Were the kids fascinated by the early humans and skulls found around Kenya? Of course not...the best part were the turtles who were all mating! Talk about an opportune time to teach the kids about the birds and the bees. I have never seen a turtle move so quickly!!!!

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Posted by BlakeSims 07:53 Comments (0)

Terminal and Kitengela

The adventures continue

Monday, September 7th:

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What a weekend! On Friday night I helped chaperone the middle school band camp, basically a lock-in with 40 sexually-charged 7th and 8th graders. After getting the inside story on the latest couples, Lindsey, Emily, Eddie, Daniel and I did our best to keep all dark and mysterious corners patrolled. This included using drumsticks for various purposes, wether as a swinging weapon upon entry into the girls sleeping quarter, or locking the door handles from the inside to prevent late night escapades. Fun, but exhausting!

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Saturday night a large group ventured out to Black Diamond to see a co-worker in a band. We met many interesting characters, including an older Indian man who put John Travolta to shame on the dance floor. The group slowly trickled down and the adventure continued on to a private house party, called Terminal. After getting our boarding passes, we headed down the red carpet for our take off shot and welcoming by the flight attendants. Loved the outfits! Aside from some great music, the samosas were to die for!

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Sunday was yet another adventure! Lindsey and I headed out to Kitengela, a city about 15 miles away from Nairobi where she worked previously a few years back. We got there before her friends, giving us a great opportunity to meet some locals. And by meet, I mean little children that would stare with mouths wide open and eyes popping out of their heads like they were viewing an alien because of the white skin. Or, parents who pushed their kids toward us to meet the mzungus and shake our hands. During our 30 minutes we also met Able, who proposed marriage to us in order to get into America, as well as trying to convince us how having multiple wives, especially in different places, can be a great relationship. No thanks. Oh, and then there was the nice gentleman who asked to take our photo on his phone, left, and then came back with another friend for round two.

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We were quite a spectacle! I personally enjoyed the grazing cows on the loose around town nibbling on the flowers nearby. And, the kukchoma (bbq chicken) was absolutely amazing! After lunch we headed towards Lindsey's friend's home. He lives along the southern border of Nairobi National Park. A variety of wildlife and carcasses could be spotted from the road. After a lovely visit, Lindsey and I finally headed home. I thought the trip was complete, until Gideon, a local Masaai, asked for a ride into town with us. We just had to pick him up!

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Posted by BlakeSims 07:01 Comments (0)

Venturing into downtown Nairobi

Thursday, September 3rd:

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Saturday night, taking it easy listening to some live music at the Village Market...until the Kenyan medicine, dowa, is introduced to the party. What began as an innocent and casual dinner turned into a full blown dance party!

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Sunday morning I survived my first trek into downtown Nairobi! My principal led a field trip into the depths of Nairobi in search of some West African trade goods. Destination: sketchy hotel where the sellers were still in their pajamas and their wares lined the walls of their bedrooms. Inside were hundreds of statues, masks, kente cloths, beads, stools, etc. It was slightly overwhelming, but an enjoyable experience. I walked away with two new masks, and don't feel like I got ripped off too badly!

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After the shopping adventure, we headed to brunch at River Cafe. A hidden paradise with a bird sanctuary and massive plant selection. I had my typical brunch fare: eggs benedict and enjoyed the relaxing scenery. The weather has been perfect for the last few days. It had been cold and misty in the mornings (it is winter here), but lately it's been sunny and hot! I'm sure I'll miss the snow of Chicago at some point, for right now that seems a million miles away.

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Posted by BlakeSims 06:51 Comments (0)

Making out with Giraffes

doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, August 24th:

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Hello from the Giraffe Center! After a dangerous drive through downtown Kenya, the gang arrives at the Giraffe Center unharmed. It's much smaller than I expected, but once you're kissed by a giraffe, you never forget it. The Giraffe Center is a conservation to replenish the endangered species of Rothschild Giraffes. Over 300 giraffes have been born since it opened.

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The place also houses a small Masaai market and turtle farm. Not to mention the dozens of aggressive warthogs roaming around the legs of the giraffes. After the Center, we all head over to Utumundi for some local shopping. The 15 rooms of goodies is a little overwhelming. I finally find a cookbook for locals: the 4x4 survival guide. Can't wait to give those recipes a whirl!

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Posted by BlakeSims 07:30 Comments (1)

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