My African Photo Safari - Journal Entry #2- August 12, 1988

Spent most of the day on a dry, bumpy road to Amboseli National Park, from Nairobi, Kenya. Dust and more dust. "Chakula fumbi," James, our game driver would say. This was Swahili for, "Eat dust." We stored our camera gear in large, plastic garbage bags to keep out the dust, at Len Sr.'s suggestion.

We stopped at a Masai trading post. Len Jr., Len Sr., Don, Cliff, Ron, and I each bought Masai spears there. Then we continued the dusty drive to Amboseli. We stopped at another trading post where I looked at carvings of, "twigas." - (giraffes). Several sizes of carved giraffes were available for sale, from nine inches high, to over five feet, and weighing over 40 pounds.

We continued on, and just before we arrived at the Amboseli Lodge, the road got bumpier, which I didn't think was possible. James increased the speed, which actually made the ride smoother, and lessened the impact of each bump we hit, until . . . . . . we hit a large, deep pothole. All of us bounced way up, and off our seats. - (no seat belts). I observed James bounce up so high that he almost hit his head on the ceiling of the van, as did we all. I remember counting five times bouncing off the seat. I mean what else can you do but count how many times you become airborne, in such a situation?

We arrived at Amboseli Lodge, in the late afternoon. My roommate Ann, and I went into our room and found all the windows open. This was to be expected as it was a hot, summer day. But . . . this also meant there might be mosquitos in the room. Normally mosquitos are unwelcome at best, but in many parts of Africa, this could mean extreme sickness due to malaria, which some mosquitos carry. Ann and I closed all the windows, and started killing every mosquito we could find in the bedroom, and bathroom. There were so many in the shower stall! We counted close to 100, then stopped counting. We also were quite meticulous about making sure the mosquito nets were totally covering and tucked in around our beds. Then we sprayed insect repellent with 4% DEET, all around the netting. I didn't think I'd be sleeping that night because the repellent smell was so strong, as if we had set off a bug bomb inside the room.

By this time, it was getting dark, and I headed into the lobby. Ann had left about twenty minutes before me, as I was obsessed about killing all the mosquitos to make sure we were safe from the threat of malaria.

Suddenly, the lights in the lobby went off. I didn't see Ann anywhere. Then I heard a man's voice from behind me say, "An overload on the generators, no doubt." Out came the candles, as this seemed to be a frequent occurrence. I watched by candlelight, the man who was performing the money exchange, for several guests, dripping some candle wax down, onto the counter, to have a place to secure the candle. It wasn't easy. Next, the man behind the counter, continued to process the money exchange for several people in line, ahead of me. When it was my turn, after waiting a good twenty minutes, I realized I didn't have my money exchange form with me, as we had left most everything in our lodge rooms. I saw someone had left their money exchange form on the counter. I did NOT want to have to go back to my room, then come back with the money exchange form, and then have to wait in the long line again, so I put my hand on top of the form left on the counter, and pretended it was mine. In the semi-dark room, things seemed to get a little confusing.

By this time, finally, they had another man come out to help with the money exchange. What made this such a long, arduous process was that every paper bill of money a tourist brought in that wasn't Kenyan currency, had to have the serial numbers copied, by hand, into your money exchange form. It was finally done! As I left the line, I glanced at the name of the money exchange form, and it was Lou's, one of the other ladies in my photo safari group.

I continued walking towards the exit of the lobby, and noticed Cliff was the last person in the money exchange line. I shook my head at him and said, "I can't believe this." He said, "Yeah, unbelievable." I was a little late for dinner, but Cliff was even later.

When I got to the dining room, I quickly found Lou, and told her what happened. She was so happy that I found her money exchange form, and I felt so fortunate to have found it, and used it as if it was mine. We laughed at the absurdity of the money exchange process.

For supper, we had soup, roast lamb, potatoes, and vegetables, which were very tasty. Cliff arrived just in time for the main course. I mentioned he would be late, because he was at the end of the money exchange line. Everyone nodded in silent understanding.

We had pleasant conversation about the many species of animals, and scenery, and the beautiful artifacts, carvings, and jewelry we'd seen at the trading posts, during our drive from Nairobi to Amboseli

After supper, we all went into the lounge, where there was a huge fireplace made of stone. Len Sr. told us of his and Len Jr.'s adventure in Alaska, with a large brown bear. We finished our beverages, and called it a day. Ann and I walked back to our room together, and talked further about the day's events, and then said good night. I didn't think I'd be sleeping that night because the insect repellent smell was so strong. It was like Ann and I had set off a bug bomb inside the room. That was the last thought I had, as I laid my head down on the pillow, enveloped in mosquito netting, I'd previously only seen in movies. I slept like a log until morning.

Publicado por kathleenlryan kathleenlryan, 01 de diciembre de 2019


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