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Kenya pt 1

Discussion in 'Non Disney Trips and Travels' started by Skywatcher, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Skywatcher
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    Skywatcher Chief Astronomer

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    Feel free to ask questions, the following report was written as we went along

    I was going to present it all with youtube clips but will put them separately under the photography section if thats ok as its private...


    Ok here we go lets see if it works

    Kenya September 9-10

    Strange time for a flight so hanging about a bit in the morning, frantic last bits of packing and checking lots of different things , loads to remember for this trip, so used to Disney trips can do that on auto pilot but there was a while host of medications insect repellants both to rub in spray on plug in and in Thomas' case eat ( Marmite) plus all the research we had done prior with regard to the visa.

    Anyway finally off and up to Gatwick, speedy check in at Thomson check in premium, a very good service all round, and probably on balance better than Virgin which costs 5-6x more!

    Not sure what sort of food well get on the plane as we take off at 8pm and Kenya is 2 hours ahead, so we pop to fill our tummies just in case with a burger and a pizza for the boys

    During the course of the meal we discuss , for some reason the origin of names and we talk about names that end with 'son like ours and about names that come from professions, I mention that it is true for most nations and can they guess what 'Schumacker' might have done?

    Matthew said a Schumacker was definitely something hairy that few the millennium falcon....


    On the plane precisely on time (after the quietest and most orderly wait at the gate ever, mind you we are used to Florida, lots of leg room and comfy leather seats, a 9 inch seat back screen that had movies and videos on demand, not like virgin, and the ability to pause them during the many and frequent visits to the loo.

    Won't dwell on it as it's such a small part of the holiday over all but it was a bizarre flight, we had a full evening meal at what was about 10 pm British time and 12 midnight Kenyan time , with a Parmesan starter, mmmm fragrant , and clearly you felt ' minty fresh' for the rest of the flight. I have some skills ,but 'sleeping on a plane' has always alluded me, so very red eyed and feeling and smelling like a 6 ft foot we start our descent into Mombasa.

    The best bit about the insomnia was watching the sun rise over Africa , dazzlingly red and gold, pure magic. Being a geek I also loved looking at the constellations in new and bizarre angles as we were now south of the equator (just) , Orion for example , was now lying on his side.

    The plane doors finally opened to let the warm humid air pour in. Although newly risen and fairly thick cloud around the equatorial sun still burned strong through.

    Quickly through the visa point leaving every other Brit trying to find a bit of wall to fill their form out on, they clearly hadn't read that the forms they give you on the plane were insufficient, regrettably some were pretty rude. Hmm some Brits abroad :(

    Picked up our luggage (yay) always relieved to see it arrive, and they do always seem to have the policy of separating one piece from the others just to keep you on your toes.
    And we pushed our cases through the doors and into Kenya ,the southern hemisphere and our adventure.

    This was bought instantly home as Lisa noticed a flower bed outside that had a giant millipede in it that was about a foot long , a brief search showed a couple more, amazing things that I had only seen behind Perspex in a zoo, yet here they were just sat there.

    Told by the rep our taxi was waiting at the end of the row for us to we started the trek out into the hot humid early morning. Bus boys calling out 'hakuna matata' every few steps to catch the kids ears, and we finally relented and let one of them take our luggage, have to say didn't feel the slightest bit threatened and for 200 schillings (£2) he was a very happy chap, he went off to find some sort of Allen key/ crowbar to open the boot of the taxi / 50 year old van type thing ( no joke) to put our bags in the boot, our driver turned up smiling and polite as everyone was and within seconds we were making our way through rush hour traffic in Mombasa, this was a thrilling, scary and salutary experience that I will remember always. From the relative normality that is afforded by most airports in the world we were instantly transported in to the pages of the National Geographic, poor roads, random driving rules, thousands of people moving in their own direction, some just standing and watching, poverty and deprivation as I and more noticeably the kids had ever seen , people picking up litter, washing in puddles, but , and you may find this astonishing, with a heady aroma and a soulful vibrance that was intoxicating. That 20 km drive to the hotel resort was genuinely remarkable, then we arrived at our resort

    Inside the gates of the hotel grounds life was very different as we out out of the van and said our good byes, all of us jaws on the floor, the staff busied themselves around us handing out cold towels and fresh squeezed orange juice, utterly brilliant happy people, who even on our first day were as a group clearly trying to learn both our names and the kids personalities so they could engage them. Rooms not quite ready as it was still only about 8 am so we had a breakfast, a monkey wandered by overhead and nobody paid much attention apart from us and the other newbies.

    From our table outside we could gaze over a beautifully manicured lawn flanked by the rooms of the hotel all the way down to the 3 swimming pools that eventually gave way to the Indian Ocean, the noise of the city and it's car horns had given way to a liquid burble of insects and birdsong. It was stunning, yet a little unnerving. In a few hundred yards we had gone from washing in a puddle to complimentary shower caps and sewing kits. The rooms were neat and clean, not particularly opulent by western standards, but compared to the surrounds the comparison goes beyond the 7 star Burj hotel in Dubai.

    They had no rooms to accommodate all 4 of us as we'd booked so they compromised by giving us 2 connecting rooms, so we now essentially had a suite ! (4 double beds)

    Never done an all inclusive before, realising that the challenge will be restraint as people keep asking you to take food and drink.

    All a bit washed out now as none of us had much sleep so before a nap we go for a walk around the grounds, Matthew played a game of pass the water balloon with some of the other kids whilst Thomas and I watched a hermit crab try and leg it across the footpath. We also see the biggest lizard I have ever seen in the wild, an aguma that is easily 25 cm long and quite chunky but it legs it before I can get a picture, we then head back to the room for a nap.

    We are woken by the boys going mental for a swim and as there is now only a couple of hours of daylight left we relent, Lisa draws the short straw and gets in with them and I listen to the 'trivia quiz' which takes as many diverse subjects as physics, the hakka and Kevin Costner, quite bizarre.

    after that is finished it is high tea so tea is served along with pastries to anyone who stands still

    Bliss beyond words, tea is perfect in Kenya, only place we have ever ever been that makes a cuppa as good as it is at home

    Thomas picks up a donut and a vervet monkey swoops from somewhere to nick it much to everyones amusement,I am just in awe of the wildlife we have seen so far, and we've only been here about 8 hours and we were asleep for 2 of those

    We've seen

    2 skinks
    1 aguma
    Lots of monkeys
    Well looked after cats, who. Are fed a neutered, best looked after cats ever by the way, with long long tails, with bushy tips.
    BIG Millipedes and beetles
    Loads of brilliant yellow birds with orange beaks, that are nesting near our room!
    Herons flying about
    Coral reef
    Too many little birds flitting about that look nothing like anything I've seen some with looong tails
    Sparrows and pigeons, but not like at home, oh no
    Hermit crab

    We are not in Kansas anymore

    Back for another shower and off for dinner...

    Now the premise of our hotel is that it's a ship, the staff are all crew and the rooms are cabins, each night we 'dock' in a different port and this is the theme for the evening food and entertainment, tonight was Indian night so many curries and the like whilst a bollywood performance was going on on the stage, marvellous :)

    Matthew likes curry, and thankfully Thomas loved the fresh pasta cooked to order so we had 2 full and sleepy kids, an early night was in order so we went back to the room but got waylaid by the huge number of lizards, frogs chirruping and croaking going on in the grounds. Then Thomas looked up

    Oh My God, said Thomas

    I can see the southern cross!!!

    It's a star constellation only visible below the equator , it's on the Australian flag and a fosters tin, and there is was hanging in the sky, the first time I have ever seen it and it was pure magic , right above our heads was the huge and unmistakable constellation of Scorpio. Only seen this hugging the southern horizon in Greece , and now here it was as high as it could be in the sky with a very milky way pouring from it's tail, quite a bit of light pollution though so not quite as dark as I would have liked it but still an unbelievable sight. Tired and exhilarated we headed for bed.
    Bed was a new experience as well ( stop giggling at the back) as we had to work out how to use the mosquito nets, which gave you the feint sensation of being a PG tip in a pyramid t bag

    Not a bad start.
     
  2. MystikPiglit
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    MystikPiglit Peace, Love and Mickey Mouse

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    Wow! Brilliant 1st episode, thank you.

    Wonderful. :thumbsup:
     
  3. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Wow, what an awesome start.
     
  4. Esmeralda
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    Esmeralda Serious Forum Regular

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    I think the cats with long tails and bushy tips could have been lions :eek: You didn't get too close did you? lol.

    and OMG it all sounds heavenly.
     
  5. Deb
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    Deb Serious Forum Regular

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    Wonderful....you have a knack of transporting us there..... :)
     
  6. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    A PG Tip! :lol: LOVE the metaphor.

    I actually got a little misty at the Southern Cross discovery. :redface:

    I LOVE the bit about the monkeys!!! :9: I do love primates... of nearly any sort. :yes:

    Thank you so much for writing such a great report! I can actually picture the scenes as I read.

    Looking forward to reading the rest AND seeing the photos, of course. :D :D
     
  7. Shellyamc
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    Shellyamc Serious Forum Regular

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    Amazing!!! :mental: It sounds so beautiful!!

    Oh but one giant millipede and Shelly would be back on the plane :hide:
     
  8. Kate
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    Kate Serious Forum Regular

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    It sounds absolutely wonderful - looking forward to reading the rest!
    Bet you were proud of Thomas for recognising that werent you, i certainly wouldve been, there arent many children that know about things like that!
     
  9. josh.p.
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    josh.p. Addicted to Mickey

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    :mental: Fantastic! I'm speechless just reading about it :yes:
     
  10. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    Wow! I felt like I was right there with you guys!

    And fresh orange juice, that's fantastic!

    What an amazing first day. Just amazing....
     
  11. Tinkfan
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    Tinkfan Earning my ears

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    Truly outstanding! Too much to absorb all at once I imagine!!! More please!:yes:
     
  12. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Ok, I'm officially stunned. :mental:

    This sounds so spectacular. I can't wait to read the other sections. And I'm with Tink a little bit about your first view of the Southern Cross. I'm sitting here listening to "Beneath the Southern Cross" by Richard Rodgers and it almost completes the picture.

    Tom :)macwave:... yep. Stunned!)
     
  13. Deafjeff
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    Deafjeff Serious Forum Regular

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    Finally back at the forum after a busy week and decided your thread is the first one to catch up and boy it is right decision :yes:
     
  14. Mari
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    Mari Serious Forum Regular

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    Wow...

    you should be writing a book...

    Im hooked!
     
  15. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Absolutely fantastic! Can't wait to read the rest and I agree, you should write a book! :yes:
     

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