Sunday, August 23, 2009

Late, Late, Late

We would not have given up our breakfast with Ingrid Munro but it set-off a set of circumstances that plagued us all day: I will start from the beginning…
Ingrid arrived around 7:20 and luckily I was just coming down in the elevator to meet her. I decided to take her up to the Hilton Club Room because it was a smaller, more intimate setting for breakfast. Betsy had tried to reach our safari coordinator several times last night and in the morning to ask him to come at 9:00 instead of 8:00 but was not able to reach him. He and the driver showed up at 7:30 and she went down to explain about the unscheduled breakfast meeting and they were understanding once she told them it was the Founder of Jamii Bora. She told them we would be ready to go by 9:30 at the latest. At 9:40 we received a call from our guide asking us if we were on our way and we had no idea of the time due to the wonderful dialogue with Ingrid. (Luanne will post about this aspect of the day).

Since we did not get back to the hotel until late, we could not go to the bank so we needed to get money before the trip and Luanne and I left our jackets at the Gorilla Lodge in Rwanda and the guide said we had to have something warm for today because it would be very cold at Mt. Kenya. Since Luanne saw a little of the city, she had seen some clothing stores but they were super expensive. One sales clerk told her about an outfitter two blocks away that would have just want we needed. We set-off immediately to find it was also expensive but they had some souvenir sweatshirts. We each bought one that made us feel like idiots but boy did we need them later in the day. On the run back to the hotel, one of us went in search of diet soda and the other to get smaller bills because we did not want to tip everyone with 1000 shilling notes (about $7.70) that we had wads of from the ATM.

As we arrived at the front of the Hilton, Betsy was coming out at we finally left at 11:00 AM (three hours late). Those of you who know Betsy and I will know how uncharacteristic this behavior is and we apologized profusely to Eric (our drive and promised it will not happen again). We drove on the same road as we did to Nyeri the day before so we were familiar with the road and scenery. Luanne took some photos she missed because it was dark when we returned last night.

We stopped at a gift shop around 1:00 for a bathroom break and around 1:45, Eric told us we really needed to get going because the Mountain Lodge was waiting lunch for us and we were still an hour away. This was a local cooperative with beautifully made things (can’t tell you what because many are gifts for you) and we bought over $800 worth of items between us!

We were hungry so all the food we had were M&M’s and cashews; so we snacked and assured Eric we would be better in the future. All was well until the car broke down and we waited and watched poor Eric pull most of the Van apart until he was able to fix the diesel pump. We showed up at the lodge at 4:00 and had a very quick lunch and immediately set out for our forest walk. That was when we knew everything happens for a reason because it was only the 3 of us instead f 30 and we were able to see amazing animals and flora with our private naturalists. We stopped for 10 minutes for a “Bush Tea Party” and proceeded to the blind in front of the water hole. We saw elephants, buffalo, bushbucks and other animals from 15 feet away…an amazing experience. We will not be able to post photos from here because we have dial-up of what is referred to as bush mail.

During a light dinner with very lively discussion about the events of the day, we went to a seminar about the land and animals we will see on our trip. A wonderful Naturalist (same guide on the walk, Edwin) we turned in with our hot water bottles at our feet around 11:30 with anticipation for the rest of the adventure.

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