February 19, 1978

We woke up very early and took a very cold bath. We then took a morning walk and had breakfast at the Brothers Hotel, again being served samosas! Next, we ventured out on the docks where a fisheries research boat was tied up and some small boys were fishing. They were catching some type of bream, of which numerous were lying around dying. Other people were washing and doing their laundry in this rather dirty water. I took some photographs. In town we caught the spectacle of an old man in shorts exposing himself of which he appeared blissfully unaware.
We left Homa Bay on the sand road going back to route A-1. We saw some beautiful cloudscapes again, as well as wide open fields and many people along the road, dressed in their Sunday bests. The girls got into the Sunday mood and sang melodiously and delightfully. A-1 was a relief and I raced southward close to Tanzania, but turned east towards the Masai Mara road. We passed many small creeks, all brownish and muddy, as well as numerous cactus plants which looked strangely out of place between the scattered trees and in the grass. We passed through a gate - where I had to register - and arrived in a luscious mountain park landscape reminiscent of parts of England and Austria, very green and with groups of trees wide apart. Only, the birds and butterflies were very different, including one yellow bird species and one bright blue and some long tails. (I recalled that Chinese classify birds into short- and long-tailed)
Then, when we stopped in a small village, I saw the first Masai! The men were tall and thin and had large holes in their earlobes. They wore characteristic red or terra robes or togas, and carried veritable arsenals of spears, bows and arrows and rings. Some looked proud and lively, others bored and listless We bought beer, milk and aspirines. We also saw an elderly female shepherd with a black umbrella guarding a few cows. We stopped near a hill and climbed to the top to enjoy the unforgettable far look of the endless Masai-Serengeti Plain. Then followed a long descent with numerous rocks and switchbacks, into a plain which offered little to see at first except some giraffes and a small airplane marked 5Y-BAO. The ground here was very hard and the grass not very high. In the distance we saw some comical warthogs running away with their heads and tail high. Next, we witnessed several herds of deer and antelopes with lightbrown backs, dark spots on the flanks and white bellies and rears. On the muddy Mara River we saw a hydrologic station with a sign designating it some international project involving several UARs. While chewing sugar cane, I tried to walk upto a herd of larger deer and gnus grazing, but while I was taking photographs some other driver honked his horn and all deer ran away. 'Oh, dear, oh dear...," punned Elizabeth who had a keen sense of humor.
The plain was speckled with colorful small groups as well as individual red Masai people, and extensive low corrals ("kralen") with huts for animals and people. Southward there were some low hills where groups of baboons were playing in the trees and on the rocks.
I was rather tired and sweaty and stopped to wash in a "mud-hole". Occasionally, we were passed by Landrovers and buses with tourists.

We then came to a fording spot where several Masai were bathing. I stopped and took some photographs from the top, which caused them to shout indignantly, so that I drove on in a hurry.

(please click to enlarge)
Masai Girls near Lake Magadi, 2003/4
courtesy Cristoph-Grandt
Later, some Masai boys threw stones at us. Most of them, however, were friendly and beautiful, especially a young maiden with many rings who I would have loved to photograph if such were allowed.

There was some uncertainty about our location (no GPS had been invented yet and maps were almost as scarce...) , but a truck driver we overtook told us we were on the road to Narok. It was still a long way, with one stop for a nap and another for some delicious cactus fruit which you first had to roll with your foot.
We entered Narok through some type of ravine. First, we saw a good looking club area with attractive cottages, then the main street with several hotels and Masai exhibits/stalls. We stopped at a hotel with dancing and ate a chicken much tastier than yesterday's. Yet we did not want to stay there, and chose to continue to the Kamiti Inn, where I plunged into bed in a very decent room.
I was barely asleep when a torrential rainstorm descended on us - rather onto the resounding roof - which considerably invigorated me and brought out my inner cave man.
At 20:30, we went to the dancing and had too many beers, inhaled too many queer urine smells and were annoyed with the pinball machines. The actual dancing started only one hour later, and was rather dull, so Bet took it upon herself to do some lively improvisations much to the delight of the gents and the rage of Elizabeth, the Puritan..., who felt a bit sickish as did I. Finally, at 22:30, we went to the room for the regular ritual and a fine cool night. I overheard some plot to try and go along with me to Mombasa and to get me to buy them some shoes, but decided not to go along with that without saying so aloud.
The odometer reading this evening was 15,258 kms, so I had "done" some 420 kms only in 3 days - the longer distances were still to come!

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