Friday, August 30, 2013

Bonus Post: Logo

We are researching multiple places constantly while doing our best to just enjoy the moment and where we are. While reading up on Nepal we learned that the skilled embroiderers can make a custom badge for not too much money. We quickly threw together an idea (only partially stolen) for what we would have made in MS Paint, the medium Leonardo would have used. If anyone wants to improve upon it that'd be awesome and we'll send you back a badge.
A non-artists interpretation.
The orange is supposed to be the sun rising behind our high-five

Day 35: Somehow Camping Turned Into This...

Getting back to nature...
(Note: You can click this link to follow our journey through google maps, the map will be updated along the way and the pins will contain links to the relevant entries, you can always find the link at the top of the sidebar)

After baulking at the $50/pp price tag on a 4 hour hike, or $70/pp for tracking Angolan Colobus Monkeys we decided to take it easy for the day. To set the stage for later regarding just how different our day ended up being from how it was planned weeks ago, we had been planning on camping in the middle of the forest in a rented tent and hiking through rough jungle all day. We changed our plans so that we could go chimpanzee tracking for day 36 (spoiler alert).

Our relaxing day began when our wonderfully friendly hotel jack-of-all-trades, K. Sam (We feel badly that we never learned what the K was), knocked on our door to let us know that the Colobus monkeys mentioned above were making their way through the hotel grounds. We rushed outside still in our pj's to see these playful creatures without forking out $140 and spent the next 45 minutes following them around the grounds as they wrestled, chased, and groomed each other on the grass, fence, and in the trees. Erin even spotted the Dent's Mona monkey that joined the Colobus family of over 60 individuals 6 years ago. Elated with the great start to the day we sat down for breakfast, halfway through realizing we were still not properly dressed.

After breakfast we continued the most relaxing day of the trip by walking a few beautiful kilometres to a five star resort where we bought lunch (4 courses) and a few drinks which had the added benefit of giving us access to their infinity pool overlooking the jungle for the whole sunny day. As the actual guests were off hiking we had the pool area to ourselves almost the entire day.

Day 34: Looking Forward

We woke up early to make our way to an important genocide memorial 30 minutes outside of Huye. The whole ride there we became more and more nervous, unsure if we were prepared for the experience that awaited us. Murambi was the site of one of the worst mass killings during the 1994 genocide. The government at the time told Tutsi's that this technical college that was under construction would be a safe haven for them. As such over 50,000 people sought refuge in the buildings at the end of a long ridge surrounded by hills. It wasn't too long after that the army and militia showed up, having evacuated the area of all Hutus so as to avoid confusion, and fired upon the complex until they ran out of ammo and grenades, then finished off the survivors with machetes and clubs, while others were buried alive in mass graves. 

On top of a very well put together museum, to make this site all the more impactful, they have preserved 1,000 of the exhumed bodies with lime powder and have left them in the buildings of the complex. Going from room to room and seeing the cracked open skulls and mutilated bodies of infants, toddlers, women, and men was horrifying. The most troubling and haunting aspect to the overwhelming number of corpses was the positions in which they died. Some with mouth agape in mid cry, others pointing their index finger to the heavens indicating to the perpetrators that God would judge them for their actions, a mother trying to protect her infant (still in her arms today), and small children curled up in fear before the mob ended their short lives. This quickly proved too much for us and we were glad to continue to the tour elsewhere on the complex. The other sites include some of the mass graves, one that has been left open to show what the professionally excavated pits (caterpillars were used) looked like. The pit was surprisingly small but over 8,500 bodies have been exhumed from that one mass grave, there have been five found on the grounds to date. We visited another mass grave that the French army used the soft freshly turned soil of to make a volley ball court to help cover up the genocide.

Our guide was very good, and quite knowledgeable. When we arrived he greeted us in French so Erin conversed with him in French for a while and then thankfully asked if he spoke English which he did as well. He had lived through the genocide himself and told us about how many mass graves were disguised as toilets and to highlight the premeditatedness of the genocide told us about his family's confusion when their neighbours started digging a new toilet before the other was close to full. When the genocide started there was a road block set up next to the hole that had just been dug.

After the memorial we rushed back to Huye to catch our bus to Gisakura just outside Nyungwe National Park. Along the drive we passed fields where prisoners worked the tea plantations and appeared to walk freely through town. The bus continued through the large national park deemed the most important for conservation in Africa. The views were beautiful as we twisted and turned through the rolling jungle hills (once again on the folding aisle chairs, this time Craig's was broken). We arrived at our accommodation to find a troop of Vervet Monkeys waiting to welcome us.

Day 33: Lonely Planet Maps - 3 : Craig & Erin - 0

In the morning we entered the chaos of another bus station to make our way to Huye in the south. We were able to quickly find tickets for an 11:00 AM bus. Twenty minutes later at 10:30 we were quickly shepherded onto a bus, Craig's bag being loaded in the back he climbed on only to remark that there were not any seats left. It was at this point that we learned about the small seats that unfolded into the aisle.
If you think #2 is on the southern road,
then you (as well as Erin and Craig) are wrong.
Upon arrival in Huye we were once again failed by our Lonely Planet's map. We ended up staying at the place that was at the correct point on the map, the staff was very friendly and we were able to be partially understood using franglais. So far in Rwanda we have been surprised by the ease of using English although Erin has been great at taking the lead and negotiating in French.
We have both had great experiences with Lonely Planet
this has not been one. Do not buy this book.

Day 32: Month Two Begins in the Land of 1,000 Hills

The first things everyone will tell you about Kigali are that it is clean and safe. We noticed the cleanliness right away as we drove in, and would enjoy the safeness later as we wandered the city. We had a marvellous lunch/dinner at Chez Robert, and then headed to Hotel de Milles Collines for a drink/sightseeing.

Milles Collines is a fancy hotel with a great view, nice pool, and a happening bar with live music. It is most famous however as a place where over a thousand people took shelter during the genocide, and as the true story inspiration for the film Hotel Rwanda. Sitting and having a drink to contemplate Rwanda's past while Mzungus frolicked in the pool and flirted in the gardens next to us was a strange experience. Afterwards we walked back to our much cheaper hotel, and tried but failed to find a restaurant to watch the sunset and thus ended up standing in an alley watching the sunset on the hills and valleys below us.

Bonus Post! (in case almost every day wasn't enough)

Lasting Impressions of Uganda:

* Less so than in Kenya, the women have a way of 'hmm'ing 'yes' without saying anything
* The countryside is reminiscent of southern Okanagan with terraced hillsides and tea plantations instead of vineyards
* The people are quieter and friendlier on a whole than what we experienced in Kenya
* We were again impressed with the ability people have to carry large loads on their heads and shoulders, even while riding a bicycle
* We saw the whole spectrum of Settlers here...farming, ranching, mining in a quarry...we even saw people making bricks from wet Earth! (on that note, we were quite amused by the idea of pitting Survivor contestants against men and women from the small villages we saw)
* They sure like their nightly dance parties, or at least the volume of music would indicate as such.
* The cool story of our gorilla troop (now updated in the post about gorillas).

Days 29 - 31: Lake Bunyonyi

The geodome was one the most interesting room we'd ever been in. It was spherical (except the floor, as the name would imply), with the ceiling/walls covering about 75% of the sphere. Then it opened up to nature. The billowy mosquito net and thatched walls left a Bali-type feel to the whole thing. When lying in bed you could see the whole room leading right out to the deck, with views of the sky and lake beyond. There was a small triangle cut out of the thatching just above the bed that was covered with clear plastic so you could see more stars and the moon at night.

Although the room was paradisical and the bed more than comfortable compared to what we've been sleeping on, it was difficult to sleep merely for the fact that it was too exciting to be able to see outside the whole night. We kept waking up and peeking above the sheets to see what stars were out, what the hills looked like in the changing light, and if there were animals rummaging through our bags.

Picture taken from the second smaller bed.
The next day we had to move to a cabin due to booking and monetary concerns. Our cabin looked like it could fit a family quite cosily in winter. With wooden walls and a ceiling made of bound reeds, it was airy with all the windows open, yet nice and dark for sleeping with them shut. We had a large deck, tables and chairs and a less impressive view of the lake. Our ensuite was a ways behind the cabin, but this is usually best when it's a composting toilet. Like our geodome room, the shower boasted views of the lake and the water was heated by solar power.

Having said goodbye to our friends Adrian and Selma the day before on the mainland, we were surprised to see them arrive outside our doorstep heading to set up their tent. We were pleased for more of their company, and enjoyed playing games with them in the afternoon.
Craig is trying to not look nervous that the flexible tripod
through which the camera was precariously attached to a round
wooden beam would slip and fall
Other than that, our day was filled with attempts at internet and eating delicious food and drinking bad wine overlooking the lake.

Our next few days at the lake were relatively uneventful. We tried to book flights and accommodation through the solar-powered internet, much to the dismay of other guests and staff. We played games and ate lazily. The best part was meeting back up coincidently with many people from earlier in our travels. Most of the people we met in Bwindi ended up there (Adrian & Selma, of course, another German couple we met, a French/Bulgarian couple who had lived in Peru for many years and now live in Rwanda). We also saw a British family who had been at our hostel in Nairobi, and Nicholas, a French guy who we met in Lalibela, Ethiopia! It was fun to connect with so many other travellers, most people relaxing for a couple of days before heading back home and back to work or studies.

We ended up leaving a day early as we received (Erin asked for) the opportunity to hitch a ride to Kigali with the French/Bulgarian couple in their "tank" of an SUV. It made our travel day much easier when we would've had to go canoe/motorboat-taxi-bus to the border-walk across the border-find a bus on the other side-change buses in Kigali. We still got a workout from walking across the border with all of our bags (through the longest no-man's land we've ever seen), uphill, but we made it, and were excited about the new experiences to come in another country!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day Twenty-Eight: Working Hard to Relax

Our serene time in Bwindi was coming to a close, so we tried to make the most of it by opening up our tent door flaps while packing so we could take in the view (also hoping to see gorillas or more monkeys). We were rewarded for our optimism when three large, beautiful Blue Turracos flew across the clearing and perched near our room.

After packing, it was back to Kabale to get supplies before heading to Lake Bunyonyi for a relaxing stay on an island. Arriving at the docks we had our choice between paying $8 for a 15 minute motorboat ride or a free hour long dugout canoe ride with all our bags. We chose the latter much to the chagrin of the many muscles our bodies had happily forgotten were ever needed. The trek was laced with the fear of losing all of our belongings as the dugout rocked back and forth with every stroke. But we survived the crossing without losing any of our bags to the "unfathomable depths" of the lake (we were told that the lake is more than a mile deep but no one knows for sure just how deep it is. Google says it is rumoured to range between 44m and 900m).

We were once again rewarded for our efforts when we found our next amazing room, perched on the hillside. Our open-air 'geodome' gave us amazing views from the porch, our bed, and the shower. We had to be careful of the birds though (so far we have lazily noticed around 15 species of birds around our room) as one made off with the last few chips that we were eating. As the sun set the winds died down and we were able to sit by candlelight looking out over the lake.

Day Twenty-Seven: Most Expensive Day of the Trip

We awoke early to have breakfast and then it was off in search of Mountain Gorillas. We learned that we would be tracking the Mubare group, the first group to be habituated. The group had been going through a rough patch recently with the old silverback passing away in June. As he grew weaker the group lost many members and by the time of his passing was down to only three, his son and two females. Clearly his son, the new silverback, had some work to do. In the few months that have passed the new silverback raided other groups and grew his family by showing other gorillas that he was way cooler and tougher than their silverback. Today the group is nine members strong with at least one of the females pregnant.

We also learned that we were not to approach the gorillas any closer than 7 meters, a rule that must be followed at all times...

Our hike began at a local primary school, working its way up a ridge through the land that had been purchased for the Batwa people after they were forced to leave the national park. The path was good, the climb steep and the sun was very hot. We had prepared ourselves for a hike through pouring rain and mud, and thus found ourselves sweltering. After an hour we crested the hill and got a good view of the park boundary. Lush tropical forest on one side and a burnt field with grazing cattle on the other.

Shortly after we were heading down into a valley, we heard the crackle of our guides walkie-talkie, "The gorillas are close." At this point we left our well maintained hiking trail and descended into the the darkness of the dense forest. trampling over and through bushes and thorns, sliding down muddy slopes, and hanging onto vines in the faint hope that they would somehow help us stay on our feet.
A worm thicker than my thumb and longer than my foot.

In a small clearing we found the trackers, and we could see the trees and bushes moving, and hear the cracking of stems as gorillas fed mere meters from us hidden in the undergrowth. Here it was time to leave our bags and hiking poles, and have our last sip of water before approaching the gorrilas.

We hiked another 5 meters and rounded a corner to find the silverback sitting infront of us, much closer than the 7 meters we were told before. Our first gorilla sighting was a lot closer than expected, as you can see from Erin's face.

We were told after the fact that the silverback in our group grew up in a habituated group, and thus provided a unique opportunity for us to be much closer than we would have been tracking the other groups (this was confirmed by those in our group who had been tracking the day before).

The next amazing hour was spent following the family through the woods, sitting and watching them, often just a step or two away from us (it was the trackers and our guide that encouraged us to get closer). The highlights were:
* our many close encounters with the silverback, including him standing proudly in front of his troop.
* a young female charging Erin (who wisely shrank into the defensive "ball" position on the ground with Craig draped over her) it stopped just 5 feet in front of her, brushing against us as she passed. (Video is shaky and underwhelming)

* Seeing the whole family together, and then having the silverback charge through them.

* Sitting in a small clearing as the family ate around us.
* Our guide saying he really liked the name Craig and if he has a son next will name him Craig. (He named his daughter Sasha after a woman he lead to the gorillas)

After 70 minutes our 1 hour was up and it was time to go. The hike out was easier and we exited the park walking down a ridge through banana plantations and small hamlets. It was interesting to see people working the steep terraces and making mud bricks, but the poverty was very pronounced, and at times heartbreaking.

Our day once again ended watching the moon rise over the jungle from our perfectly situated porch.

Day Twenty-Six: Preparing for Gorillas

Hummingbirds are lazy here.
They are in fact not even hummingbirds.
It was so relaxing to wake up knowing that we didn't need to go anywhere or arrange anything. Add that to the amazing views and the sounds of the jungle and we were set for the day. We had a slow-paced breakfast in the open-air restaurant overlooking the valley. Our room overlooked a clearing in the forest where gorillas were said to walk through, we thus spent the rest of the day lazying on our porch with our eyes peeled for wildlife. Sometime after mid-day we spotted a monkey in the tree not far from our hut. We watched it climb about and slowly move closer to us. We were able to capture a great look at it's face to discover that it's a blue monkey. We also saw a Black-fronted Duiker, a small animal similar to an antelope and a traditional favourite of the local Batwa people (pygmies).

By then our European friends were back from their hike. We invited them down to watch with us and together we spotted l'Hoest monkeys and a squirrel-weaselly thing that did not appear in the African Mammals book our friends had.

Day Twenty-Five: Forest Music

Eager to move to another hotel, we set out to arrange our transport for the following day to get to Bwindi National Park (to see gorillas), so that we could relax the rest of the day. Our plan was to go to the nearby Lake Bunyonyi and hope for a quieter stay, but we ran into a lovely couple from the Netherlands and Germany (Selma & Adrian) who were trying to get to the National Park that morning and decided to hitch our wagon to theirs.

Our quest for a driver took us to the taxi park where we were fed on like vultures eating a kill. Drivers hounded us for business, and we did our best to negotiate for cheaper rates. We knew the road would be bad, and we would need a capable vehicle and driver (the book advises that you take a 4WD), so the offer to get in the back of a pick-up truck with twelve other people was tempting. As we watched our new friends try to arrange transport for the day, and we tried to secure it for the next day, it became apparent that the best plan was to spilt a special-hire taxi together. The thought of getting as far away from the sounds of the city and into nature was so tempting, that we decided to go right away. We ran back to grab our bags and after tipping the taxi driver to help get Adrian and Selma's bags untied from the pick-up, we were on our way. Or so we thought. We had a few stops that gave us a view into our driver's life: first was a stop to pick up his phone at the phone repair store, next it was to a gas station to pick up his jacket from a passerby on the side of the road, and the last stop was at his house so he could tell his wife he'd be gone for the day.

The drive was beautiful once we entered Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and we took turns sitting in the front seat so we could have a view (the windows in the back were all tinted adn did not open). Once the rain set in, driving became precarious. We stopped numerous times for him to check under the hood, he explained that there was water in the engine on the wires and it was problematic.

The problem it seemed was on uphills, we could hear that the car was having trouble shifting gears. It wasn't much longer until we found ourselves stopped on a steep hill in the rain and mud, and he told us that we would have to push. It was tough work running up the hill pushing the car, getting sprayed with mud, but when we arrived and were shown our accommodation. All the hard work was worth it.

After a three course dinner we sat around a fire and talked with other travellers over a few drinks before going to bed in complete darkness and with only the chorus of night birds and insects.

Day Twenty-Four: The Party Continues in Kabale

After a couple of hours of sleep, we were glad to say goodbye to Mbarara and the Westlands Hotel. Even though we were told to swing by the post office at 11:45 to see if the 12:30 bus had free seats, we went over at 10am (we're learning!). We were guaranteed two spots, so we ate an early lunch (still no internet to be found), and went back to wait. At 12, other "mzungus" came to the office and were told there were no seats left. Extra 'travel bucks' for us for knowing to go two hours earlier than they said!
Actually from near Bwindi, but a typical sight on Ugandan Roads

With Craig in the first row, and Erin in the last, we enjoyed four and a half hours apart talking with busmates. Erin met a guy named Scott from Vancouver who is living in Uganda for three months with work related to his PhD, and Craig sat with a girl from Kabale where we were headed, so she kindly showed us to our hostel at the end of our ride.

Our social interactions picked up from there as we had a delicious meal at the House of Eridisa with a couple from Denmark who were travelling for five months, and a girl from Toronto travelling for four. We may cross paths with the Danish couple again as they're heading to Tanzania, Vietnam, then we'll be in Nepal at the same time!

We headed to bed around 9, hoping for a better sleep but spent a second night pretending while really listening to more techno, rap, hip-hop and pop songs. They considerately turned off their tunes at 3:50 am but by then, sleep was a lost cause. (We learned this is common place in Uganda and have since started asking about clubs)

Day Twenty-Three: Partying in Our Sleep

We left our spacious, ant-filled room this morning to catch a matatu (shared taxi) into Kampala. After many frequent stops to pick up and let people off, we arrived at the bus station. A kind woman in the matatu directed us to where we needed to go so we could shake off the throng of men trying to get our bags and help us on the bus (ten steps away) for a tip. We had to separate to find seats and were quickly on our way.

After a half-hour navigating Kampala's famous traffic, we stopped for gas and a "short-call," or quick stop for services. Erin experienced a new "bathroom" where women squatted together in an open-aired cubicle. The floor sloped downward into a trough, and was, well, wet. She was thankful to not be in flip-flops!

The rest of the five-hour bus ride was squishy and uneventful. We found a run-down hotel close to the bus and enjoyed a late lunch at a nearby (nicer) hotel. English was harder to come by and wi-fi near impossible to find.

Exhausted, we hit the sheets at 8pm, hoping that the severe thunderstorm would quickly quell the enthusiasm of the locals who were blaring loud music. By 3:30 am, it was clear they were not going to stop partying, and the rain had long since left. We finished our game of Settlers Cities and Knights on the tablet and finally were able to sleep at 5 when the "club" shut down.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day Twenty-Two: Getting Sloshed

This morning we headed out to town to find snacks and a bank. We felt so pleased with ourselves with the amount of walking we've done and the money we've saved using public transit. Ugandans so far seem very friendly and polite and we haven't been hassled to take rides or buy things.

Having accomplished our tasks for the day, we were looking forward to an afternoon at Lake Victoria's beach. A wrench was thrown in our plans when we got caught in a torrential downpour on our way back from town. We still managed to sink our toes into the sand for a brief moment and have dinner overlooking the lake after wringing out our clothes. Oddly enough, this meal was actually the closest we've had to traditonal Canadian "pub food." We had dry ribs - goat ribs. They were delicious!

While we ate we took in the sights and kept an eye on the huge scavenging, hideous maribu storks patrolling the beach like cranky old men, and spied on a group of local teenagers/20-somethings swimming in the water. We observed many love affairs, girls and guys posing seductively in the surf, and some interesting improvised (ill-fitting) bathing suits.

In the evening we sampled the only snacks that we were able to find. A Kenyan wine that was made from strawberries (plus artificial fruit flavouring and colour). We also found (and have since drank) a wine Uganda made from hibiscus and pineapple.Making us 3 for 3 with sampling local wine from the countries we've visited.

Day Twenty-One: End of 3rd Week and 3rd Year

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day on the equator in Entebbe. We had spotted multiple gecko friends in our palatial room the night before, grateful for the help in the fight against our insect foes, we checked up on them in the morning only to find ants devouring one of them. Thankfully the housekeeper was just as surprised and disgusted as we were so we didn't deduct any Travel Bucks™ from ourselves. Travel Bucks being our arbitrary currency that we award ourselves for traveling smartly or being adventurous/frugal.

The majority of the day was spent trying to find the gorilla office and arranging the details for our journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (best named NP in the world). In the evening we enjoyed one of our nicest dinners yet...a romantic techno-Italian meal in a Zen garden restaurant to celebrate our three year anniversary. (Lamp chops in a blueberry mint sauce with mashed potatoes and freshly caught tilapia in an olive pesto from Lake Victoria-Yum!)

We capped off the night with a candlelit game of cribbage on our front porch, which conveniently kept us unaware of the power outages.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day Twenty: Kenya in the Rear-view Mirror

On day twenty we took an eight hour bus to Kampala and ended our short time in Kenya. With more than half of our days in Kenya out on safari, we didn't have the same opportunity to experience day-to-day life.

Lasting Impressions:
* People on the street were very friendly and quick to help if we needed it (or offer Erin kisses). While roughly half of people working in tourist facing businesses had little interest in being of assistance.

* The men were very jovial until your questioned them and then they seemed to pout. (So far true of Uganda as well, our cab driver seemed very upset when we suggest he look at a map for the place he admitted to not knowing where it was.)

* The people in the markets were less pushy than Ethiopia, and we garnered less attention in general. The go to cities to mention when we said we're Canadian changed to "Toronto? Vancouver?"

* Particularly in Nakuru, it was interesting seeing all the activity on our street, knife sharpening and sewing machines running (both pedal powered), along side restaurants and market booths.

Masai in traditional dress
 * Both in Kenya and Ethiopia we have certainly experienced a Mzungu tax (Farangi in Ethiopia, both mean white person/foreigner). The starting price for a taxi, or any other service/product without a listed price jumps up 200% or more and it is up to us to fight the price down. We have more success on non-travel days when we don't have out large packs with us.

* Kenya has amazing wildlife and the people are very proud of it, we would often be asked if we had been to the Maasai Mara.

Day Nineteen: Lake Victoria

A pretty straightforward day. We woke up, took a bus to Kisumu on Lake Victoria. Our main challenge was finding food as 75% of the places in our guidebook were closed on Monday or permanently. We ended the day by sitting on our roof top terrace watching a storm roll in at sunset.

Day Eighteen: Four out of Five

Our Jeep and driver, Moses
We splurged and spent the extra $20 so we could have a private jeep for our last safari. This allowed us to  dictate our early pickup time... 6 am for maximum animal viewing opportunities, and when to stop and when to go during the day.

In Nakuru, the National Park is more wooded and lush than the Mara. There's is a large lake and a series of wetlands accentuated by the fact that there has been unprecedented flooding (it seems to follow us!).

Within minutes of driving through the park, we spotted two lionesses and four cubs hovering over a recent kill. These lions are notable because they are a rare form of tree-climbing lions. Sadly, as hard as we searched that day, we did not see any lions or leopards in the trees.

In the same field of view, a rare black rhino grazed on bushes and small trees, which he did by tearing it to the ground. We had just achieved our fourth out of five 'Big Five.'

Other highlights from the game drive include:
- endangered Rothschild giraffes
- white rhinos
- striped, rather than spotted, hyenas
- male waterbucks with their stunning horns
- vervet monkeys
- crowned crane

We loved the beauty and tranquillity the park offered after the crowds of the Masai Mara, but being right next to a city meant that the 180 sq km park was fenced in, giving it a less wild feel.

Now we have just one more day left in Kenya before moving on to Uganda.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day Seventeen: Least Exciting Day Yet

Due to our breakneck pace and our inability to book a safari, we took it easy on day 16. We got day 17's plans figured out, did some laundry, and tried to sift through all of our photos.

Most of the intrigue happened through the nights. We are not sure if we are a part of a pysch study or if there is a broken record player in Nakuru, but both nights we heard the same song on repeat, at full blast, through the entire night and some of the morning (it was a different song the second night).

We have become very familiar with downtown Nakuru as we walked the same market street 6-8 times a day.

Erin even got a restaurant named in her honour.

Day Sixteen: A Change in Plans

After a leisurely start to the day researching where to stay that night, we learned that Naivasha was a popular weekend getaway for Nairobians (?). And as luck would have it we were trying to find a place for Friday thru Sunday for a long weekend.

Just six short hours later (half of which was standing on the street waiting for the bus to show up) we arrived in Nakuru, having decided to skip Naivasha entirely.
Our prison-chic sheets
The rest of the day was spent trying to find internet and a tour company to arrange a safari. We failed at both and relaxed in our hotel. We sprang for a room with an ensuite bathroom. It ended up being just a part of the room, but we were happy to be saving money to offset the safaris.
View from Craig's Bed, notice the sink
at the foot of Erin's bed, and the lack of a door.

Day Fifteen: Week 3 Begins, Safari Ends

We woke early to see the sunrise on our last day in the Maasai Mara. Early on we spotted a group of hyenas walking around a hillside and followed their path to find a group of male lions sharing a recent kill. The hyenas were anxious to join the feast and we thought we might get to see a fight or at least hear a good roar. But again another pushy car trying to get right in the middle of things made one hyena spot the third lion who had been hidden crouched in the bushes ready to pounce. It promptly ran away. We watched the lions drag the carcass into the bushes for safe keeping.

After lots of driving around searching the trees for leopards, we came across another group of hyenas at their burrow. This family has some very young babies; they looked practically newborn and were very cute!

On our way back to the campsite we passed a male and female lion 'honeymooning'in an open field. As they nuzzled noses, we resisted, only mildly, singing 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight.'

The rest of the drive back to Nairobi was uneventful, just a little sad that our safari was over and to once again be saying goodbye.