‘Our African Adventure gets off to a roaring start’
You can’t just wave a magic wand and wish yourself to Africa. Even if it is Someone’s Dream Trip, you still have to get there the old-fashioned way. Which is modern air travel.
Now some of you readers may fly first or business class, or even on private jets. In which case, I ask you most kindly to skip the comments section this week. Or I just may bring you back some unwashed fruit, and chuckle demonically while I watch you eat it.
Because, not to sound ungrateful for the amazing opportunity to go on a trip like this, let’s be honest and say that getting to Africa, by coach, New York to Amsterdam to Nairobi, all in one go, is definitely not half the fun.
I will skip the sordid details — the toddlers who, when not shrieking, played percussion with the tray tables, starving in the Amsterdam Airport and finding nothing to eat but cheese. (They sold cheese in every store, bless them. If a sign said ‘Electronics’ it sold electronics. And cheese.) And I will most definitely skip the stealth gas attacks from the sleeping man wedged next to me on the 9-hour flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi.
Because, guess what? We’re in Africa. And it’s pretty darned terrific.
Yes, even though we’ve been in Africa just one day (not counting the virtual day spent waiting — and waiting — in line at Immigration last night). Yes, even though we’ve been here just one day, we’ve already seen 65 species of birds we’d never seen before, plus hippos, monkeys, impala, and so forth and so on. Which we’d seen before, but only in zoos. (Except they don’t call them ‘zoos’ anymore. They’re ‘wildlife conservation parks’.) But these were just running around, loose. We saw so many giraffe, in fact, that we were starting to go ‘What’s that? Oh, just another giraffe’.
Oh, and we saw a bunch of baboons. They looked so cute, with their babies riding on their backs and all. Though, when we took a break from cooing, Terry, our guide, who has lived in Kenya for about 40 years (on purpose) said ‘They look really cute, but if you have food, they’ll come and take it from you.’ ‘What happens if you don’t give it to them?’, we asked. ‘They bite you.’ ‘Oh.’
He then proceded to tell a story about a woman on one of his trips who took her socks off because her feet got hot or the socks got wet or whatever, and put them in a paper sack. She rolled the top of the sack down, and he supposed this baboon thought she was carrying her lunch in there, because that baboon wanted it. And got it. Must have been pretty disappointed when he opened it. But, not being familiar with baboons’ tastes, maybe not. Maybe now all the baboons want is your socks. Just don’t carry them in paper sacks.
I have to wrap this up quickly. We’re leaving the last place with (very slow) internet today. To travel to Tanzania, where we’ve been told that not only will we not have internet, we won’t have soap. That’s okay. I’m kind of looking forward to sidling up to Gas Man in the customs line on the way home.
Nairobi, Kenya. January 2016