KENYA

February 17, 1978


Friday: I woke up at 07:00 and felt much better. I repacked my bags and decided to send the parcel with excess stuff when I 'd get back. I made a reservation for February 23 and was allowed to store any luggage in a safe room. Then I had breakfast with the two French girls, who were going to go to Mombasa. I offered them a ride via Lake Victoria, but they demurred (a good French term?)
I made sure to be at the Bank at 09:00 sharp when they opened and managed to exhange US$200 for some 1,500 ks, then took command of the 4-door yellow Datsun at an odometer reading of 14,432 km, but walked to the Zambian Embassy climbing numerous stairs to pick up my passport, which to my pleasant surprise was ready. I then ordered a glass of milk where the attendant recognized me and asked "No samosas this time?" - "No, thanks!" - "But they are very fresh!" "OK, give me 3, please!"
In addition, I took some sprites, biscuits, chocolat and chewing gum.
All of this was written in my journal an hour or so after I had departed in my rental car, driving slowly and on the left along Waikya Road, enjoying the park like scenery leading to the Great Escarpment. I noticed the laterite hills, numerous primary and secondary schools, women carrying immense loads, and all colors of flowers and fruits.

I took a snack break at the edge of the Great Rift Valley, the incipient ocean due to separate Africa in two parts, one to spread to the west, the other to the east. (But not within my life-time.) I bought a beautiful sheepskin bargaining the price down from 250 to 130 shillings at one of the stalls on a parking area along the cliff. It was very pleasant and cool here The radio was full of English lessons taught in the most extreme accents, and some were quite funny: a police report detailing the story of a country woman whose husband had gone to the big town of Nairobi and had promised to send money every month - instead, she only got a letter every month. He then promised her to take her north for a trip - instead, he just sent her photographs, He promised her a sewing machine but sent her a pack of needles. And she needed him to do the laundry. So she declared him missing, and the police had to investigate the various reports of sightings of a cobra, a lion and a corps. These had proven to be false and in fact had been a rope, a shadow and a dead rabbit.

Going on, I joined a long file of cars chugging up a steep incline behind some large trucks. Just past the small village of Longonot I passed a small shack with the fancy name of "Longonot Victoria Hotel". A bit further along I took a road into the forest to a kind of camp with an old amphitheater stage, an old man, beautiful trees and cactuses and strong upward drafts of air. At the foot of the escarpment I stopped near a very surprised giraffe, of which I took some photographs and slides.



A little further along I came to Lake Navasha, where I gave a ride to two hitchhiking girls on the way to the Hotel. They invited me to visit their house and parents, which were an old Kikuyu couple living in a hut. He had been a warrior and offered me two hard boiled eggs and a bowl of sour beer.
We walked to the lake, where we laid down in the grass and saw some waterdeer and laundry women.
The girls spoke English very well and their names were Elizabeth and Bet. They were 17 years old and pretended to be twins, though one was very black with a velvety skin and well-rounded, while the other was skinnier and had Semitic features.


Somehow we agreed that they would come along, and they were ready in a very short time, just packing a few clothes and brushes.





We drove along the lake where we saw but a few flamingoes, then headed northwest and only arrived at the small town of Nakuru late in the afternoon. For 80 shillings, we were allowed to take some quiet private road to the Njoro river mouth. Here all trees were dead because of a colony of cormorants. We saw numerous pelicans and flamingoes, a few secretary birds, some Guinea fowl, and a few hippoes in the distance. We walked through some light rain across some raised boards to a hideout where we could see at close range some deer on one side and flamingoes on the other. We then enjoyed a splendid sunset before rerurning to the town, on the way seeing jumping dik-diks and Thompson gazelles.
Elizabeth booked a room in Safe Lodge, for 45 shillings. We walked through town and had a good rice curry and beer in the upper part of the hotel. Around 21:00 we went to a bloody Bruce Lee show. Everyone stood up respectfully for the national anthem. We got back to the lodge rather late and tired, but the girls enthusiastically washed their clothes in the bathroom, wrang them dry forcefully between them and hung them out to dry before retiring. The odometer reading was 14,640 km, so I did some 238 km to-day. Nevertheless, I did not sleep much that night.


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