AFRICA – NOVEMBER 5TH – 6th ,2009
The trip from JFK to Nairobi via “Dubai” took us 23 hours. When we finally arrived at our hotel we were more than pleasantly surprised. The 168-room Norfolk Hotel has been a center of city life since its founding in 1904. It was a Tudor-style hotel with traditional safari atmosphere surrounded in private tropical gardens a short distance from the city center. It was renovated in 2004 in honor of its centennial. The hotel had six restaurants, health club with gym, sauna, and steam room, beauty salon, and heated outdoor pool. It was quite lovely. I was ready for “Safari!”
The plan was to have a welcome dinner but we didn’t get to the hotel until it was almost 7.00 p.m and the dinner celebration was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Since we all needed time to get cleaned up it was postponed for the next evening. I was quite happy about that because I was not going to be very sociable after being up for 36 hours. So our group of 16 ate dinner respectively with whomever they chose. My girlfriend Betsy and I enjoyed our meal alone. We have been friends for thirty-seven years so we didn’t have to expend too much energy socializing.
Breakfast was at 6:30 a.m. and it was outstanding! There were silver-covered dishes with everything from bacon to oatmeal porridge. A chef was there to prepare any type of omelet’s you wanted, pancakes, waffles, a bread bar, a bakery bar, a cheese bar, a fruit bar, and a juice bar with eight different types of juice. I must find passion juice! The juices were my favorite because I would mix them. I especially like mixing the passion juice, papaya, and mango all together. We ate outside on the terrace, which is right across the street from Nairobi University. It was fun watching all the business walking by going about their business. I have always been a people watcher anyhow, so that was right up my alley.
We boarded our vans for a tour of the downtown area and taken to a few shops, one in particular that specialized in Tanzanite. I have a friend that collects stones so I asked the price one rather small stone and was told it was $900. Well my friend, is not getting a Tanzanite stone, sorry Gwen. Tanzanite is found only in one mine in Africa and the darker color of purple hue the more the stone costs. Ok moving on…
We were then taken to a local Giraffe Reserve. They only had nine Giraffes and mainly use it for educating the children of Nairobi on conservation. Giraffes are being killed for food and they are an endangered species, especially in Kenya.
Lunch was another outstanding buffet with all those silver-dishes with everything from soup to nuts. I did miss the juice bar though. After lunch we had a little down time and spent it around the pool relaxing and taking photos of the hotel.
Our welcome dinner was at 7.p.m. and we got to meet and eat with all of the 16 people in our group and our guide Tony. I will speak more about Tony later. He is a very interesting man. I will also tell you more about the group of people that I spent twenty or so days with. More to follow…