Friday, August 3, 2012
Today we woke up much earlier than required in hopes of boarding our bus. Although we were ready for a 7:30 a.m. departure, the bus was nowhere to be seen.
We found ways to occupy ourselves while waiting for our transport. We invested Tom, one of our Kenyan hosts and welcomed him into the group. The wild monkeys were also in attendance and were more interested in stealing our oranges. Thankfully for us, the Great Brave David protected our valuable citrus by scaring them away. After the ceremony, we entertained ourselves with dancing lessons where Fabulous Hannes taught us some Meringe steps (a little odd, but it seemed appropriate at the time). The dancers were lifted high, but two-handed spins were a bit of a challenge. With some work, we perfected our moves (mostly).
As we have come to realize, Kenyan time is not quite the same as Canadian time. The bus finally arrived… three hours after the expected time. Our three expected vehicles had been upgraded to a luxury bus (although the term ‘‘luxury” is clearly open to interpretation). It had 24 seats for our 23-member group. Six of them folded down in the middle. Aaron, Mark, Eric Post, Michael and Daniel piled our gear onto the roof rack. We filled the back “boot” (trunk) and packed ourselves into the bus like sardines in typical Kenyan style.
We stopped at around 1:00 p.m. for a much-required stretch at the gorgeous Rift-Valley viewpoint on Highway A104. There was a fantastic view of the valley and a couple of large mountains. Souvenir stands were everywhere the vendors were quite pushy. Although we were able to stay away from many, they managed to sell our group 15,000 shillings ($180 Cdn) worth of souvenirs. Ryan was cornered for four woven bracelets and this prompted a bet with Daniel that he would not remove the bracelets for the entire trip.
We descended into the valley and immediately began to see animals. Two small herds of zebras were very near the road and larger herds of Cape Buffalo and antelope were seen in the distance. After an hour we stopped for a late lunch in Nakuru for chicken and chips, a Kenyan specialty. The vegetarians of the group tried Fisili Canaan, a delicious vegetable mix with chapatti (a slightly greasy flat bread cooked on a griddle). After the long ride we were ready for a bathroom break and found the toilets were “squats” (and odorous, too).
All too soon we were crammed back into the bus for another "four" hours of driving. Due to rain and a bumpy road, the drive ended up taking more time. Despite being packed onto the bus for so long, we all managed to keep our spirits high by singing songs like “Living on a Prayer” and almost anything else with a tune that Michael could produce from his phone.
We finally arrived at our destination, the Tindinayo Falls Resort, located 4 km east of the Shiru Medical Center. We got off the bus and were ecstatic to find clean, tiled washrooms with working showers and toilet seats. Supper was a delicious combination of rice, chapatti, beef and mini bananas (plantains) prepared by the resort. After a quick debrief, we watched Disney's Atlantis on a notebook. All in all, a successful - but lonnnnnng - travel day. We’re here and are looking forward to doing some hard work.