Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I dreamed of Africa - part 2

Hmmm, where was I?

It already seems so long ago, but the fortnight was truly amazing.

We flew into Nairobi and spent a night there before taking a smaller plane out to the Masai Mara. The week was being spent in a permanent lodge up in the hills just near Rekero.

First impressions were just the vastness and vacuousness of it all. Flat, space for miles around. Although I've seen this kind of enormity of space and land in the US, this was yet again, different. The ground would vary between red earth, threadbare grass and then grasslands that were yet to be eaten down and the colour! The colours are something that really are impossible to verbalise. Bright, contrast between the vibrant yellow of the grassland and the bright vivid blue of the sky, then the starkness of a lone ostrich just standing in the middle of it all - a photographer's paradise.

We spent five days here in all, doing early morning game drives and then late afternoon, early evening drives. Within hours of arriving we'd seen giraffes, elephant, warthog, impala, zebra, ostrich, wildebeest and...the creme de la creme - a leopard. A night time viewing whereupon we stumbled across the impala behaving warily and their snorts and stomps alerted Loli and Salaash our guides. I was totally unprepared for the sighting of this beautiful creature. He was completely relaxed with our presence - rudely interupting his hunt, and sat and posed for us for a full 20 minutes before we moved on to allow him to go about his night meal!

Over the course of the five days we also were able to witness lion cubs and also a very direct lesson for the kids on procreation from some willing lions who treated us to repeat performances of the 18 second task, all of which is caught on video for posterity to show the grandlions!! Fortunately for the children of a doula and midwife in training who have been brought up with the sight of birth and pregnancy, the sight of copulating mammals is greeted with disdain and the comment of :

"Oh great!: *sigh*  "Lion Sex!"

The final day in the Mara we were invited to the village of some friends of our guide. I'm always torn when I'm a tourist in a country that, yes, I do want to see the culture and learn about the different ways of life, but I hate watching the ritualistic-putonforthetourists-dancing or artificial celebrations. I always feel very conspicuous. I'd rather just see normality. So this was a lovely surprise and we went to have tea with them. It was lovely to see our children play with their children and try to milk the cows (unsuccessfully) to get the milk for the tea. It was nice to just be embraced into the family and not feel uncomfortable and it was nice for the children to have such a life lesson too into what determines wealth and happiness.

After this too-short time in the Mara, we were all very sad to say goodbye and there were a few tears shed as we flew off to spend a week on the coast in Malindi.
Eleven years married!!!

Now I'm left with only memories and a few more weeks of Malaria tablets to remind me of Africa.

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