All I want for Christmas is a Hippopatomus....

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
Trip End Nov 11, 2011

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Flag of Kenya  , Rift Valley,
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cory and I were up early this morning, well before breakfast would be ready so we had a cup of coffee and started talking about what we had left in cash. The only ATM on this trip was the one at the airport where we pulled Kenya Shillings and we had brought U.S. currency. The trip has been pretty well all inclusive but along the way we have been leaving tips and paying for our drinks. We haven't really been buying many souvenirs but even still we wanted to make sure we had a good tip set aside for Nicholas at the end of the trip and enough cash for the things that we needed it for.

Somehow in getting our finances all straightened out time passed us by. We had 30 minutes to stuff down breakfast and get our luggage to the van. We threw our bags on our backs and got a move on. We dropped our bags with the rest of the luggage and headed right to the restaurant. Everyone was already in the middle of breakfast and some were already getting up. I stuffed some quick stuff from the buffet down my throat and headed out to the van. We actually made it out before some other people from our tour. We were the last of Simba One to make it to van but still on time. They laughed and said it would have been a mess if we had been late after the whole speech I made yesterday about everyone being on time.

This morning we are headed to Lake Naivasha. When Cory and I do a tour we usually don't do the optional tours but this trip is different. It isn't like you can hop public transportation and do your own thing and sitting by the pool isn't my idea of really getting to experience a country. Nicholas told us that we wouldn't be disappointed.

It didn't take us long to get there. We went into the reception and got our tickets and then we were given a life jacket. The 7 of us followed the driver to a little john boat sitting in the middle of a pool of water hyacinths. The view was gorgeous and we weren't really sure what to expect. It was moments before we saw the Hippos. I couldn't help but think about how they say that the hippos in Africa kill more people than any other animal. Julie asked our boat driver if they are aggressive, "its safe isn't it?" "they won't come after us will they?" As if on cue two of the hippos dove under the water and Cory said "like that?". Of course they weren't coming after us but it was a reminder that they were wild animals.

We saw a lot of hippos and a lot of different birds. There were storks and cormorants and ducks that seemed to run on water. The boat drivers were carrying fish to throw and entice the enormous fish eagle into a dive. Amazing seeing it dive and pick the fish right out of the water.

The boat ride was only part of the excursion. They took us to Crescent Island where we were able to walk right up to Giraffe and Zebra. They say that there are more animals per acre here than anywhere else in Kenya. You have to watch where you step because that many animals leave a lot behind.

We had to cross this make shift bridge built out of eucalyptus sticks. There were a lot of broken and missing sticks and I have tiny feet. I had to step carefully or my foot would have gone right through. What fun. The animals that we saw were all ones that we had seen earlier in the trip. Giraffe, Water buck, zebra, and Wildebeest. Still we were so close.

We take a chance to use the facilities here before heading out again. This is something I definitely want to share with those that might go to Kenya some time in the future and something that I finally figured out today. The toilets... ALL of us have had trouble flushing the toilets. As tourist often do they assume that they just don't work, low water pressure what ever. I had tried holding down the handle, I had tried a quick push on the handle, I had tried waiting for the tank to fill after flushing the first time and then flushing again. Things that would work in the states. Today I found the answer! You pump the handle like you are pumping a well. Of course that makes sense. There isn't anything wrong with the toilets we just didn't know how to operate them. Can you imagine what the Kenyans think of dirty Americans? Not flushing our toilets after we use them? They have no idea that we just didn't know how. We have the same thing happen in the theme parks at Disney. Woman break their ankles trying to stand on the toilet bowls to use them like a squat toilet. It just seems common sense, we all go to the bathroom what is there to figure out. No more unflushed toilets for me!

We still have quite a drive ahead of us before we make it to the Masai Mara. But I am glad we chose to do this optional Excursion. Nicholas was right, I was not in the least disappointed.

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