Liars and Cheetahs

Trip Start Nov 29, 2004
Trip End Dec 27, 2004

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Flag of Kenya  ,
Friday, December 17, 2004

Well, I finally got to see a big cat today.

Last night, I had jokingly said that I was afraid of going in to the house because they would try to feed me. Lawi passed that comment on to Mami this morning. And also this morning, I happened to sleep in rather late. Lawi left early to take Auntie Jane into town, and Sara had gotten up early. So, I didn't wander in to the house until about 11:30 AM. Poor Mami thought it was because I was avoiding her. But no, of course that is not true. Bring on lunch.

Anyhoo, when Lawi returned, we went to Nairobi national park. This time, we went into the park proper ($23 for me, $1.10 for Soph/Lawi), and drove around. It's a beautiful area and we saw ostriches and various other birds, impalas, buffalo, baboons, Oryx, steenbok, and giraffes. At one point, we stopped to watch a lone ostrich eating. We were quite a distance away, but every time Lawi honked his horn (note you are not supposed to do this), that ostrich would raise its head for a moment, and then continue eating. He did this over and over again. It may not sound funny, but it was pretty funny. I mean, you would think he would figure out that the honk means nothing, and stop raising his head. But he did it each and every time.

We drove very deep into the park. Sometimes I write stuff in here not because it is interesting, but so when I read it later I will have the details. This is one of those times. We entered through the main gate and proceeded East past Lion Valley, to Mokoyeti Gorge. There is a picnic area here, and we hopped out of the car. An elephant skull greets picnickers, and there are several trailheads here. It was already 5:30 PM and we were supposed to be out of the park by 6 (not gonna happen), but I couldn't resist a bit of a walk. We walked along a river for a few minutes and stopped at a lookout to enjoy the view. It is so cool to be standing there with no car engine or road noise, just the constant scree of the crickets, the rustle of the underbrush, and the occasional splash from some unseen creature. I walked on ahead; rumor had it that there are rhinos here. I came upon some fresh rhino dung, but no rhinos were in sight. I looked out on the river and saw a family of tortoises relaxing on a tree that had fallen into the river. I quietly got as close as I could and snapped their portrait. The whir of the camera caused them to dive into the water. That was cool. I continued on and heard some cats fighting. They were pretty close, and the flies were starting to follow me, so I decided to turn back. It turns out that Lawi and Sara had been visited by a ranger, who warned them to get back into the car because the rhinos are not very friendly. They had been shouting for me but I could not hear them.

At this point, we headed back the way we came. To make a long story short, we got entirely lost and ended up leaving through the Maasai gate. But on the way, a leopard sauntered by, within feet of the car! It was a young one, not a "kitten," but also not fully grown. It happened too fast to get a picture. That was really cool though. We continued on, and we finally found a gate. A giant Amazon woman of a park ranger actually lived in a nice house right there next to the gate. By giant, I mean she was at least six feet tall and solid muscle. She seriously could have kicked all of our asses, yet she was quite attractive. Soph and Lawi talked to her a bit before she let us out. It turns out she walks all the way to Rongai for groceries, even though the area is still heavy with animals. I didn't get her picture, but trust me it is the animals that should be afraid.

When we got home, I finally plugged in my personal Hoover Dam and glory, glory, glory, the laptop came to life. Finally I can try to fix that darn camera, not to mention type these log entries up. I have been just making notes of daily events in the PDA. This is tedious. Anyhoo, that's it for today, I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring!
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