AFRICA LEAVING LAKE MANYARA , Nov. 18th, 2009
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 entrée, 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...