Transfer day

Trip Start Jun 05, 2012
1
6
36
Trip End Jul 10, 2012


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Where I stayed
Kivi Millimani
What I did
Safari Park Hotel and Casino, Embassy, Stanley Hotel

Flag of Kenya  , Nairobi Area,
Sunday, June 10, 2012

      We slept until 8:00 so we must have been tired.  We showered then went to breakfast.  At breakfast I saw the mother of the children that I had given the games and glow bracelets.  They had been with their aunt last night.  She said several times how happy her children were.  It is things like that which make my day.  We worked for a long time getting our bag packed and ready to go.  The driver was 10 minutes late but once he got there we loaded and headed for the Safari Park Hotel and Casino.  It appears that the former prime minister owns it and his son operates it.  It was huge with many buildings on the complex and a chinese garden, then another garden with bananas, sugar cane, bamboo, and tons of flowers.  We were told that the casino opened at 11:00 so we burned 30 minutes walking around.  When we came back it didn't look open so we peaked inside and saw it opened at 12:00.  We got in the car and the driver told us that seven people includng the defense minister and his assistant were killed in a helicopter crash in Ngong which is just southwest of the city
     Next, Eric drove us to the US Embassy and we went past many others on the way.  We weren't supposed to take pictures of the Embassy but I might have caught a couple underhanded shots.  Then he took us to August 7th Memorial Park.  There was a 20 shilling admission fee, but that was probably just to keep undesirable people out because that is only about a quarter.  There were pictures of what the Embassy looked like before the bombing and after.  It seems that it must have been a huge bomb.  There was a stone wall with the names of everyone killed.  We hopped back in the car and got dropped off at the Stanley Hotel.  This is the site of the Thorn Tree Cafe.  This is considered the most famous meeting place in East Africa, even Ernest Hemmingway sat here to watch the world go by.  It was Nairobi's first post office in 1902 as travelers would leave messages pinned into the tree trunk.  This tree is 3rd generation but is was still pretty cool! We told Eric to give us an hour.  We went over to the Chicken House for lunch and it was not very good. The fries were greasy and the chicken burger was old, dry, and seemingly made from pieces parts.  I only ate about half.  Miles got something that resembled a kabob but it was pretty gross too.  The television was on to the helicopter accident and everyone is glued to it. 
  After lunch we started waling around but people kept bothering us, wanting to give us taxi rides, safaris, or teach us new words.  We decided to go back into the Stanley Hotel to wait for Eric.  Eric said to allow 30 minutes to get to the hotel.  It only took about 5 minutes to get there though.  Of course, he expected the price to be the same even though 1/8 of the time we paid for never happened.  Even though we got to the hotel early we were allowed to check-in.  We had a nice balcony overlooking the pool where were could hang our wet clothes to dry.  We washed them more than 24 hours ago but the humidity would not allow them to dry.  We bought two tickets for one hour of internet but only one computer would work that wasn't being used.  I briefly checked email and facebook and learned that Steve Perry had a stroke and has been in the hospital.  Then my time was up because of spending so long on the travelpod.  Miles used about 12 minutes or so , then we decided to walk to the Nairobi Arboritum.  We went the wrong way twice but finally got there which was good!  They wanted us to pay 1000 shillings because we had a camera with us, so we said no.  The guard said as long as we didn't take any pictures it was ok for us to go in.  There were tons of people enjoying strolls, a group was having choir practice, some people were at a meeting, and some people that even looked like they were on a date.  There were vendors selling ice cream for 70 shillings and it was amazing.  It was very different from our ice cream.  We started looking around and saw a monkey, not sure what kind, but Miles thought it was a gibbon.  We left the arboretum, had the kinda long walk back before our 6:00 group meeting
     We had a little break, then went to our meeting with Victor, our guide.  There are only 4 people in our group.  The others are a couple from New Zealand, but they have lived in Australia for a long time now.  My best guess is that they are in their mid to late 50's.  There were already on a different trip where they got to see gorillas and chimps.  That trip was too expensive for us, but sounded really awesome.  Victor walked through the rules of responsible travel and some of the expectations.  He told us about the first half of the trip but not in that great of detail.  At least I know where we are staying tomorrow so I could look it up on the internet.  We gave Victor our trip kitty and passport.  I was glad to not have that $2400 cash on us anymore.  Well, I would have liked to keep the money, but since that wasn't an option I was just glad that we weren't robbed over the past few days.  I also became the first kitty manager, but Victor keeps the money, I just have to periodically sign off on what he is spending money on.  We went to dinner at the hotel and Miles got carbonara spaghetti and I got stir fry.  We each got a soda too.  We had the waiter make change for souvenir purposes, then we headed to the computer.  I checked our travelpod account for comments, Miles checked his facebook posts and then I looked at the hotels that Victor gave us information for.  We headed back to the room to get ready for a big day. 
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Comments

Mom on

OK....so, you just made me concerned with the hotel where you stayed! lol! Maybe NEXT time you can stay at the hotel/casino! ;-) ha! Glad you didn't get any pictures of the embassy.....wink, wink! Sounds like we are going to get to see pics of a few places not many others would, unless they saw it firsthand! :) I am sure it will be great to meet up with your group and get started on the cross-Africa journey! Many more animals in your future, I would say! How is your battery supply for your camera holding up?

Enjoy.....have lots of fun and post us when you can! Love you!!!

Mom

Mom on

Wow! The Arboretum and area surrounding the hotel sounds AWESOME! Glad you were able to get out and walk safely! I bet the trees/foliage were incredible. Can't wait to see pics! The ice cream sounds yummy! You will have to let us know what flavors they had! Anything exotic? The guide/worker to tourist ratio and the space you are going to have in the vehicle sounds amazing! Woot! I'm surprised the trip was a "go" with only 4 people. Hope you get to exchange lots of good stories/photos with the other couple! The next few days sound incredible! Get further instructions about animals pushing on tents at night! lol! YIKES!

Love you! Be careful and have a blast! :)

Mom

Kristen on

Your trip sounds very adventerous already, scary, but adventerous...be safe! I can't believe it's just the beginning and you have done all of this so far. Really looking forward to all the pictures and videos when you get back. I get excited seeing all the animals at the zoo or a deer on the road..I can't imagine seeing all these animals and just roaming free too. And Hippos! How awesome is that. Also, Miles, your Mama wanted me to let you know she was having difficulties commenting and emailed you instead but it looks like from here she was successful.

dad on

Hope the scary part of the trip is over and you can have fun without worrying. Love you!!

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