Saturday, January 23, 2010



When I was a little girl I imagined myself being a missionary in Africa. I was told that when I was four years I would sing praises to Jesus and big tears would drop from my eyes. I remember that, and I also remember the altar I made to Jesus, on my nightstand, when I was six years old. I had a crucifix, a picture of Jesus and candles. I attended Catholic School from Kindergarten to the second grade. We then moved away and Catholic School became too expensive for my parents. As I grew older and realized that my life was dysfunctional due to my parents alcoholism and violent fights, I became distant from God. I didn’t believe that God cared about me very much. So I just maintained a distant relationship with Him.

When I was seven years old and saw the little children from Africa on TV with their swollen bellies and flies covering them it would make me cry. When I went to Africa and saw their dirty faces with their big smiles on them it made me happy. What a blessing to know that no matter what your lot in life is there is always something to smile about.

While I was pregnant with my daughter I gave my heart to the Lord and felt that same feeling I did when I was a small child. Many years later I got baptized. When I look back I wish I could change many of the bad choices I made, but maybe it took all those bad choices for me to be the person God has made me to be today.

The Lord has brought me through so many trial and tribulations over the years that I can’t even count them. What I do know is that life is a struggle for almost everyone. Sometimes you will run into people who have lived an effortless life. They have never experienced any tragedy in their life at all. Most of the people who I know like that, are very good people, but they don’t have a personal relationship with the Lord, and that is because they were never brought to their knees. Because of this they don’t have a heart for the Lord. I thank God for the pain in my life, because that is when I knew that God was alive, and present in my life.

On my trip to Arica I was in a tour group of sixteen people. These people were from all walks of life, and they were world travelers. When we first found our vans, after arriving from Kenya, we all selected a van and found ourselves a seat while our luggage was being loaded in the back. There were six people riding in two of the vans, and four others in the third van. We were told that whatever van we were in was going to be “our van” for the entire trip. On day two I asked God if this was a joke, because the people I was in the van with couldn’t be further from my comfort zone. My friend, Betsy, whom I have known for thirty-seven years, is an agnostic. We’ve always respected each other and that was never a problem between us. The other four were a dilemma for me. Two of the fellows were a gay couple that was married for twenty-nine years; they were far left Democrats and hated Christian conservatives. The other two people in our van were a lady traveling with her son. She had been to 84 countries, including Kenya, and was just on this trip because her son wanted to go. She was a staunch far left Democrat all her life. She was very opinionated, and moody. She did not believe the Bible was the inspired Word of God, even though she was raised in the Catholic faith, and her son used the “F” word in every other sentence. I do not believe in accidents, especially when it comes to God. So I knew I was put in that van for a reason. Betsy and I always tried to sit next to each other, but sometimes it didn’t work out that way. The other four became comrades, united in their opinions on politics, religion, conservative Christians, President Bush, Evolution, Fox News, and the Bible. I would not be drawn into their conversations, because the Lord showed me early on that I would be casting my pearls before swine. Therefore, I did not defend my beliefs because they had their minds made up a long time ago. So, I decided that I would just love them. I said grace before my meals. I praised God when it moved me, and I was kind, sweet and loving to all of them.

At the end of our trip, I was told that I was a breath of fresh air. The hateful conversations ceased and I realized it was all because I was loving and non-judgmental to them. I later came to find out that the family of the gay couple were “Born Again Christians” and disowned them. I don’t believe Jesus would want us to do that.

So this is what I learned: God loves all his children, and He will be the one to judge all of us, not me. All I can do, as a Christian, is let God’s light shine through by the way I live my life. The Bible says, “Love the sinner, hate the sin, and pray for mercy for all, for they know not what they do.” God wants us to maintain a loving spirit towards everyone – for we are all made in the image of God and deserve respect. SO ENDS MY JOURNAL.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

DUBAI - HOMEWARD BOUND, Nov., 22nd - 23rd, 2009

DUBAI - HOMEWARD BOUND – Nov. 22nd - 23rd, 2009

After breakfast we packed up and rearranged our luggage once again. We were off to Dubai airport bound for JFK. I couldn’t believe that almost three weeks had gone by since I left home. We said a quick good-bye to our driver and went to line up to go through customs. The airport was teeming with people. We got through customs rather quickly, but we had three hours to wait for our plane to take us home to the USA. Betsy and I took turns walking around the airport. I hate crowded places, so I just stretched my legs a couple of times. Our plane departed the terminal on time and we were off the ground before we knew it, resting comfortably in our seats. We flew back to New York on an Emirates Boeing 777 again and enjoyed the same good service. We now knew fourteen people from our tour group so the flight home was more interesting because we could get up and visit with them. The flight was an hour longer due to the jet stream, so it was a 12-½ hour flight back to JFK. I chose not to lay over in New York, as I had done on the way to Dubai, because I was anxious to get home. I wish now I had stayed in a hotel and left for Florida the next morning because my trip turned into a nightmare. I did get to visit with my nephew Tom, who works for U.S. Customs at Kennedy, so that was nice.

I was supposed to have a two-hour lay over in Atlanta before catching my flight to Jacksonville. I sat at JFK for five hours waiting for my airplane to come to the gate because it was delayed. The terminal I was in was under-going remodeling and the noise of the drills made me crazy. There was no place to get away from it. By the time I got to Atlanta I was very tired. You can imagine how I felt when I reached Atlanta, and found out my connection to Jacksonville was also delayed five hours. At that point I was beyond exhaustion. The airport was freezing and all I had was a light sweater. I was to tired to read, to tired to walk around the airport, and to tired to sleep. At one point I just cried from frustration and my body shook from being so cold. A ticket agent came over and wrapped a blanket around me. I don’t think I have ever been that tired in my life. When I finally got home to Jacksonville it was 4 a..m. November 23rd. I don’t even remember getting into bed. My husband was disappointed because he was so happy to see me, but I was so tired I wasn’t happy about anything.

I slept for ten hours. The next day I was back to myself and very happy to see my husband, my cats, and my home. I looked around at my beautiful home and my heart ached as I thought of “Slum City” and all those dirty little children with their big smiles. And so this ends my journal. God willing I will one day return to Africa as a missionary. That is something I have dreamed of since I was a small child. SO ENDS MY AFRICAN JOURNEY.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

DUBAI CONTINUES, Nov. 21st, 2009


As I rode the Monorail back to the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel, I tried to take in as much of the city as I possibly could. As I said before, everything in Dubai is neat, tidy, and very clean. I couldn’t help notice that many skyscrapers were at a stand still on construction. There was building after building that remained without any construction going on anywhere. It was kind of eerie seeing so many huge buildings with out any workers, moving trucks, or people. It was like they had been abandoned. In reality, I guess they have been, due to the economy. The other thing I noticed was how many sets of two identical buildings there were. I couldn’t help reflect on the World Trade Center and how they mirrored each other. I am sure it didn’t mean anything, just an architect’s design, but I couldn’t help but take it personal. Especially now since Muslims have plans to build a Mosque near Ground Zero. I heard them say on the news they bought the land very near Ground Zero to build their Mosque so Americans can get to know them as moderate Muslims that they are not terrorists. My question is how can we get to know them when we are not allowed into their Mosques. No matter how this plays out I think if moderate Muslims would speak out against the extremists, than we could really get to know them. Their silence on Jihad is very loud, indeed, and speaks volumes. My political views are independent, and these are my personal observations.

The City of Dubai is 98.7% crime free. Now that is another “Wonder of the World.” Our guide told us that the .3% is caused by illegal business misunderstandings. The city is populated by 45% Indians. There are many nationalities working there. We met people from Australia, Germany, Kenya, England, Ireland, and Asia. Many of them said they came to work there for the experience of living in Dubai. Of course, we didn’t meet anyone from Israel. The city is so quiet, so new, so pretty, and so clean, that it is almost sterile. It reminded me of the movie, The “Stepford Wives”, where everything and everyone was perfect. Dubai wants to have the biggest and best of everything and they have a good head start on it. They will soon have the biggest roller coaster in the world. It is certainly a city to marvel at, but for me it was boring. It lacked heart and soul.

In the evening we went to an “Arabian Adventure Desert Safari and Dinner.” we rode a camel, raced over the dunes, had barbeque Arabian style and watched belly dancing. This is what I came to Dubai for. I lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico, very close to “White Sands National Park.” In fact, that is where I met my friend, Betsy. So I was very excited about this part of the trip. The dunes were beautiful and we saw the most beautiful sun set. It was a big orange ball sitting on top of a large dune. We watched as it slowly slipped beyond the horizon. I got great photos of it. Riding the Dunes in a 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser was a thrill. It was like riding a roller coaster going up and down and sideways over the golden dunes. And all the while thinking this car just may turn over. It was great fun!

We then headed to the campsite where a convoy of camels awaited our arrival for a short camel ride. Naturally, I fell off and over the camel’s head when he kneeled down to allow us to get off him. It was my good fortune that there was someone to catch me before I hit my head. After pulling every muscle in my back from falling over the camel’s head we went into the Bedouin tents for a BBQ buffet. Betsy and I got a picture holding a falcon. She got a Henna (temporary tattoo) while I tried to make myself comfortable on the Majlis (low cushions). I can’t understand how they can sit on those cushions and eat their meals. I was aching all over by the time we left. From what I was told the BBQ was very good. I only ate the rice, fruit and a lot of dessert. The belly dancers were very talented at what they were doing, and they invited people to come and join them. All in all it was a great day in the desert, but I was exhausted from sitting on the ground. That little pillow did nothing to help my backache.

Tomorrow after breakfast we will be leaving Dubai and heading back to JFK. ONE MORE PAGE TO GO…

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

DUBAI CONTINUES, Nov. 21st, 2009

OUR STAY IN DUBAI CONTINUES – November 21st, 2009

When we returned to the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel it was six o’clock and we were hungry. We were only scheduled for breakfast, so we were on our own for lunch and dinner. It was odd not having a set schedule of where we had to be every minute of the day. Without Tony, our African guide, telling me where to be for dinner and at what time we were to eat I sort of felt like an orphan. Most of our tour group went to local restaurants for dinner but Betsy and I decided to just eat at the hotel. We didn’t pick one of the fancy restaurants that the hotel had to offer because we didn’t want to get dressed up, so we ordered pizza and ate out on the open terrace where we had our breakfast. I can’t say much about the pizza. It certainly didn’t taste like “New York” pizza, or any other pizza that I ever tasted. Maybe I am being judgmental because I am particular about my pizza but I was so in the mood for pizza dripping with olive oil, layered with pepperoni, loaded with mozzarella cheese, and smothered in garlic. After dinner we went to our room and watched TV for the first time in almost three weeks. I must admit I didn’t miss all the bad news.

The next morning we were on our own time again and could go anywhere that we chose. We decided to go with the tour group to the “Emirates Mall.” We headed for the mall on the local Monorail. Being raised in New York City, I was amazed at the cleanliness of the entire system. The terminals and cars were immaculate There was a young woman in uniform that was an “Information Specialist.” She was there just to answer questions. We started up a conversation with her and she told us she was from Kenya and was working in Dubai for a few years just for experience. She told us she was very home sick and would be going back to Kenya in six months. There was also a man wearing a suit, which I assumed was a security agent. Since he was not in a uniform, I surmised he was security because he kept walking back and forth through the cars.

Now for the “Dubai Emirates Mall”! The mall was designed by an American architecural firm, F&A Architects. It contains approximately 2,400,000 square feet. Although it features the usual amenities for a mall its biggest claim to fame is the Middle East’s first indoor Ski Slope, “Ski Dubai.” The entire mall is covered in a beautiful glass dome. If you stand in the center of the mall on the second level you can see the entire mall in every direction. We went there mainly to see “Ski Dubai” so I will tell you about that.

Ski Dubai is the largest indoor ski resort in the world. It has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, height and gradient, the longest run being 400 meters with a fall of over 60 meters. There are also slopes for beginners. There are slopes for snowboarders to practice their stunts in the Freestyle Zone. Kids and parents can have fun in the interactive Snow Park. Ski equipment and clothing are available for guests, as is snowboard equipment. They even have Snow School instructors that will instruct you on how to ski or snowboard. They also have warming rooms. It seems like they thought of everything.

We walked around the mall for a while “people watching.” We asked some local male Muslims if we could take their photo, and they didn’t mind at all. We took some photos of two men that were actually on a holiday from Saudi Arabia. They told us they come to Dubai every six weeks for rest and relaxation. Their jobs must be awfully tiring if they have to go on “holiday” every six weeks. Poor guys! We were instructed that taking a photo of a Muslim woman was absolutely forbidden, and we would go to jail if we did so. We were also told that we were not allowed to talk to them. I don’t know how we got a picture of a lady in a black Burka with her face covered. She must have walked in front of our camera when we were taking photos of the mall! MOORE TO FOLLOW…

Tuesday, January 5, 2010



The next stop on our agenda was to see “ATLANTIS, THE PALM.” It is located on Palm Jumeirah, covering over 113 acres and 1539 rooms and suites. The Atlantis Palm features two towers linked by an arch. There is a 42-acre water themed amusement park known as Aquaventure and the Lost Chambers, an undersea city, which are free to guests. There are so many beautiful hotels on The Palm and surrounding the entire city that it would take all day to take photos of them, although I did try!
We then went to Al-Fahidi Fort, home to the Dubai Museum. It was built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. It maintains a collection of historic artifacts including pieces associated with the Emirate's traditional pearl-fishing industry. In addition to artifacts from recent discoveries as old as 3000 B.C. The fort was used to guard the landward approaches to the town from the raids of neighbouring tribes. It has also served, at various times throughout history as the ruler's palace, a garrison, and a prison. The fort was renovated in 1970, and opened as the Dubai Museum on May 12th 1971 by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, then ruler of Dubai. Additional galleries were added in 1995. If you like Museums I would recommend it.
We then went to see The Burj al Arab. It is a unique hotel that is a symbol for Dubai. The Burj al Arab was designed to look like a giant Sail of a dhow, and was built on sand that rests on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft.) off shore. This is unusual as most tall buildings are founded on rock. The columns that support The Burj al Arab go 45 meters under the sea. The columns rely on friction to hold the building up. There is a screen that encloses the third side of The Burj al Arab atrium that is made of 1mm thick glass fiber fabric with a Teflon coat to stop the dirt from sticking. The screen is the largest of its type and covers an area of one and a half football fields. It is hung from the top of the building by over a kilometer of 52mm cable. It is one of the most expensive hotels in the world. The cost of staying in a suite begins at US$2,000 per night; the Royal Suite is the most expensive, starting at US$28,000 per night. Dubai is becoming a world resort location so the building had to say, holiday, fun, and sophistication. This mixed with Dubai's nautical heritage decided the shape of the building.
Our next stop was Jumeirah Beach, it is Dubai's main stretch of sand. It runs for miles along the Arabian Gulf, flanked by hotels and their private beach clubs. The Jumeirah Beach Park is one of the public areas that doesn't require a guest pass, though they do charge a nominal entry fee to enjoy its picnic spots, children's play space, and swimming area with lifeguards. For those who kite surf they head to Wollongong Beach, known locally as Kite Beach. More beaches can be found on Dubai's man-made island, the Palm Jumeirah, the fronds of which have effectively doubled the length of the coastline. I am a Florida girl, and have lived by beaches all my life, so I wasn’t too impressed with the beach. My friend Betsy just wanted to see the Red Sea and put her toe in it. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and she was unable to do that. MOORE TO FOLLOW...

Monday, January 4, 2010

FIRST DAY IN DUBAI, Nov. 20th, 2009


The "Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers" was lovely. It had several restaurants. The breakfast buffet was in the main restaurant and we chose to eat outside overlooking Dubai Creek. Although it was good, it didn’t have the selection or the ambience that our African lodges had. I missed having the separate bars for juices, breads, cheese, and pastries. Oh well! I needed to lose the six pounds that I gained anyhow.

After breakfast we met our tour guide, Tony. He was nothing like our African guide, Tony. He was not the most social man I had ever met. In fact, his personality left a lot to be desired. My heart longed to see Tony, Muli, Samson, and Joseph. I will never forget those guys. We had so much fun with them.

The first place our friendly guide took us to was the "Diera Gold Souk." We crossed Dubai Creek in a dhow to get to the most happening Gold Souk (market) in Dubai. A dhow is a small boat that people sit on each side facing the water. There were many dhows on the water that day with people going back and forth to the souk. The Souks are open-air markets common in the Arabic world. It is unlikely to find any such place in Europe or the Americas. Diera Gold Souk offers a wide variety of jewelry items, emeralds, rubies, rings, bracelets, anklets and much more. Many of the modern malls in Dubai also have lots of gold jewelry. By some estimates, approximately 10 tons of gold is present at any given time in the souk. It is one of the largest retail markets for gold in the world. There were more than 700 shops, crammed with all types of jewelry, from Western to traditional Indian. It is also cheaper to buy gold at the souks than anywhere else. The taxes are less or none at all.
Located in Deir adjacent to "The Dubai Gold Souk" is the "The Spice Souk." The Spice Souk, have several narrow lanes which are lined with open and closed-roof stores. Stores in the Spice Souk sell a variety of fragrances and spices from frankincense to many herbs used in Arabic and South Asian food. In addition, several textitles, incense, rugs and artefacts are also sold in the Spice Souk A majority of the trading occurs through haggling. The quantity of trade as well as the number of stores trading spices in the Spice Souk have been significantly reduced in recent years due to the growth of larger stores and supermarkets. Our guid told us that the Iranians owned and ran the Spice Souk in Dubai. We did not spend much time there because no one in our group was interested in buying any gold.
Next we went to see the Burg Dubai, the worlds tallest building. It is 160 stories high at 2,685 feet, (800 meters). “Burg” is the Arabic word meaning tower. On January 4th the world's tallest building had its unveiling so we did not get to see the inside, but the outside and the surrounding grounds were very, very impressive.
We also visited “The Grand Mosque”, which is considered one of the largest in Dubai. It has the capacity to accommodate 1200 worshipers. Of course, we were not allowed to enter, but we were allowed to take photos of the building. The Grand Mosque is also known as Al-Jumeriah Mosque and is the most attractive mosque in Dubai. It is also the most photographed mosque. There seemed to be a Mosque on every corner!
Our guide said that Dubai had Christian churches, and Buddhist temples, but no Synagogues. I really didn’t stop to think about that. I was to busy looking for the Christian churches and Buddhist temples, but I didn’t see any of them anywhere in Dubai. My friend, Betsy asked our guide why they had no Synagogues. He seemed annoyed at the question and said “Jews are allowed into Dubai.” Then my friend made him more upset by asking, “Is it because Jews don’t want to come here or just because they are not allowed?” Seeming more annoyed he said that it was a very difficult subject to talk about, and he would not discuss it. I can’t imagine why an Israeli Jew would want to go there in the first place. But I couldn’t help wonder if American Jews were also not allowed to enter Dubai, and if they did how they would know if they were Jewish. Our guide was so annoyed with my friend’s question that I didn’t dare ask anymore. I probably wouldn’t have gone to Dubai if I knew they did not allow Jews to enter their country. It is ironic, indeed, that Dubai is such a modern city but maintains such an ancient prejudice. It is sad, indeed. MOORE TO FOLLOW...

Saturday, January 2, 2010



We were scheduled to check out of The Norfolk Hotel at 10.a.m., but Tony persuaded the manager to allow us to check out at noon. That allowed us to have a leisurely breakfast out on the veranda and enjoy the sunshine at the best breakfast buffet I have ever had. It was hard knowing that all those silver covered dishes would soon be a thing of the past. We also had time to re-arrange our luggage for our next visit to Dubai.

We got to the airport at 1:15 p.m. but our plane wasn’t scheduled to leave until 4:40 p.m. It was sad saying good-bye to our driver Muli and guide, Tony. They were the first faces to greet us when we arrived at Nairobi and the last of our Africa friends to bid us farewell before we dragged ourselves into the terminal. The time passed quickly and soon we boarded the plane to Dubai. The flight gave me time to catch up on my journal and my friend, Betsy, was able go over her photos for the hundredth time. I reflected on my great African adventure that I dreamed about for so very long. I was still home sick but leaving Africa tugged at my heart.

It was a 5 ½ hour flight to Dubai. Taking into account the time difference between Kenya and Dubai, we arrived in Dubai about midnight. We flew on Emirates Airlines again, and it remains my favorite airline. The food was very good. We had menus to tell us what entrees we could select from. The wine was free, snacks and fruits were offered, and the service was great. I don’t know if there is another airline that can compare to Emirates, but I just can’t imagine there is. I have flown all over this country, and outside of it, and the only other airline I was impressed with was Alaska Airlines. I am certainly not a world traveler, but one of the ladies, Alberta, who has been to 84 countries, said she was impressed with Emirates as well. It was so quiet. I never even heard the wheels retracting after take-off, nor did I hear them extending prior to landing. I never felt cooped up, confined or claustrophobic. What worried me most about traveling was the 11 ½ hours it took to fly there and return. Emirites Airlines made it a pleasure.
Descending into Dubai we could see the “ The Palm Jumeirah” the world’s largest man-made island. From the air we saw a huge palm tree that was completely lit up with greens lights. It consistes of a trunk, a crown with 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometre long breakwater. The island is 5 kilometres by 5 kilometres and its total area is larger than 800 football fields. The crown is connected to the mainland by a 300-metre bridge and the crescent is connected to the top of the palm by a subsea tunnel. The Palm Jumeirah is one of the world’s premier resorts, and is the self-declared 'Eighth Wonder of the World'.
The Dubai airport is an internatinal airport serving the largest city of the United Arab Emirates. It is a major airport in the Middle East, and is the main airport of Dubai. The Emirates hub is the largest airline hub in the Middle East and Africa. Emirates handles 60% of all passenger traffic, and accounts for 38% of all aircraft movements at the airport. In addition to being an important passenger traffic hub, the airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the world. Everything at the airport was new, shiny, bright and immaculate. I couldn’t find a scuff mark anywhere. It was very impressive, state of the art for sure.

We found our driver and boarded the van for our hotel. We stayed at the “Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers.” The hotel overlooked the Dubai Creek and was just a short walk from the city’s main commercial and shopping districts, and close to the Gold and Spice district. It was rated as a five star hotel and, indeed, it was. All the hotels and lodges we stayed at were just gorgeous, but in Africa I felt guilty about staying at such beautiful places when there was so much poverty surrounding us. Not here, in Dubai, however!

As we drove to our hotel we could see the beautiful hotels all lit up. It reminded me of LasVegas, but had a lot more sophistiication. I was anxious to see what our five star hotel looked like, but even more anxious to go to bed. MOORE TO FOLLOW…

Friday, January 1, 2010



Shortly after breakfast we boarded our van and headed for the border town of Namanga where we would cross back into Kenya. We were told that the process would be slow. The drive back gave me time to ponder all that we saw and did. The lodge fixed box lunches to take with us, and we stopped for lunch at a little shop selling the usual African wares that all the other stores had. The only difference with this shop was that there was no pressure to buy anything. We went through the back of the store into a small area outside where there were tables and this is where we ate our boxed lunches. The outhouse was in that area too. There was a gorgeous tree with orange flowers that we feasted our eyes on while we ate. My box lunch had a grilled cheese sandwich, an apple, a banana, and a cookie, and we all had water. The van kept a supply of water everywhere we went. It is very easy to become dehydrated out in the plains of Africa. The only meat I ate while I was in Africa was bacon in the morning. I put on six pounds from eating all the pastas, rice, breads, potatoes, cheese and desserts. I tried to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables for some balance though.

It was a long drive from Lake Manyara back to Nairobi. It started to rain the morning we left Lake Manyara and we were all thrilled for the Maasai people, and the animals. I could almost hear them chanting their praises to God. This was not a short rain either. It rained lions and hyenas, a euphemism for (cats and dogs). All the roads were flooded. Since the roads are not paved they flood quickly. The ruts in the road become small rivers. We saw vehicles packed with safari passengers all over the roads. Our guide, Samuel, was an amazing driver and seemed to know which muddy road to follow to get us around all the other vehicles. We did have another flat tire though, and Samuel had to get out and fix it. This time he wanted us to stay in the van. I guess he wasn’t taking any chances with letting anyone (me) out of the vehicle. With my luck, I would have probably been washed away. I found it all very exciting to be in the wilderness with muddy roads and flooding gullies all around us. Several times we came to an abrupt halt and Samson would get out of the van to eyeball which flooded gully looked like he would have the best chance of crossing without getting stuck. Once we did get stuck, and it took him quite awhile before he managed to spin the wheels to get us free. I prayed really hard because I didn’t want to be stuck for who knows how long in the mud. He told us the trick was to gauge the depth of water and then go full speed ahead. He was a master at it. Even though I was tired and the rain was washing mud all around us I was so happy for every drop. I gave the glory to God for bringing this very dry land water. I thought of that poor lion, so thirsty, so hot, and panting horribly, and prayed that he lived long enough to drink the water.
We got back to Nairobi around 4 p.m. and we made one last stop to shop for last chance souvenirs. We were shopping at the same store we were at the first day we arrived in Nairobi. I think everyone bought something. Now that I look back I wonder where did the time go? We got to the Norfolk Hotel around 4 p.m. Our farewell dinner was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. fifteen minutes from downtown Nairobi at t the Lord Erroll Gourmet restaurant. It was first class French cuisine. Our tour group of sixteen and our Guide, Tony, all got to dine together. The table set beautifully and there were fresh white roses in silver centerpieces. We ate out on the terrace, which was surrounded by lovely flowers. It was a little chilly so they provided tall heating lamps that surrounded our table. Our dinner was served in covered silver dishes, and you know how I love silver covered entrees. When everyone was served their silver covered entrĂ©e, waiters stood behind all seventeen of us and uncovered the meals we ordered at the same time. The wine was complementary. This was the only time wine was served without a charge and Tony said the wine would be served until it was no longer wanted. They did have a champagne breakfast at one of the lodges, but I can’t remember which one it was. We all toasted Tony and thanked him for being such a wonderful guide throughout our entire trip. As I wrote in my survey to “Odyssey Unlimited,” Tony was a teacher, a friend, a father, and a brother, as well as a guide to all of us. MOORE TO FOLLOW...