Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 13, 2012

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 10, 2012 Saturday


Real Africa Eco Tour (Bush Tour, lunch & Ngomongo Cultural tour – already paid for)

Had a fairly good sleep on a rather firm mattress. A/C makes everything better in hot humid weather. (You can probably guess that this is Kathy speaking. Jack revels in this kind of weather.) The power went out at 4 am…I woke up when the A/C stopped. But came back on fairly quickly.  Hotel breakfast outside with very elaborate selection. Temperature and humidity is already very high at just 8 am.  We are about to leave on an excursion to an Eco-Village.  Another traveler got sick last night.  It does make me think twice about perhaps finding some non-third world destination for our next adventure.

I got bit by a mosquito this morning and we have seen more of them here in Mombasa than in the interior, I suppose due to the tropical environment. We have had mosquito netting around our bed at each of the hotels we've stayed in. But prior to Mombasa, they have thankfully not presented much of a problem for us. However, I can smell the insect spray and it burns my eyes here in the hotel room. I’ll be glad to get away from it.

Today Jack and I participated in an optional excursion that proved to be another highlight. A visit to a living history demonstration project here in Mombasa. It was just a few minutes from our hotel and it was very worthwhile. The thing of it is…living history in America is a reenactment of a how our forefathers lived a couple hundred years ago, eg Williamsburg Virginia settlement. Here in Kenya, it is also a reenactment of how the people lived many years ago, but the astounding thing is that it also depicts CURRENT living conditions for many of the tribes who live away from the towns and cities. Cynic that I am, I would not have believed that had we not seen it for ourselves in the interior. The tiny dung huts, acacia brush rings around the village to keep out wild animals, fires started by hand, not matches, no electricity, traps to catch animals, and limited education. Almost unbelievably primitive. But when you compare it to the horrible slum conditions we’ve seen in Nairobi and Mombasa (not as bad as Nairobi!), I would have to sincerely say that those primitive peoples of the interior appear to be way better off. They live in very clean simple conditions, and appear to be incredibly healthy (except for dental work) and seemingly content. It’s a crazy world we live in.

Anyway, back to the demonstration project. The location is an abandoned rock quarry near the city. A local pediatrician got the idea that Mombasa needed a living history project. In 1991, local citizens cleaned up all the garbage that had been tossed into the quarry over the years, and began planting native trees and grasses. The project was to represent 5 of the major tribes in Kenya. They built one-hut village replicas for each of the 5 tribes.  Our timing was excellent. The only guests were our party of 8. Down the forest path we followed our guide, a young man maybe 20, who spoke excellent English.  We came upon the first village and were greeted by a man, about 40 (J…I thought he looked more like 60+), dressed in tribal attire. He greeted us in his mother tongue, our guide interpreted for us, and taught us how to return the greeting. Then the villager took us into his hut, explained various functions typically performed within, and demonstrated trapping, gardening, bow and arrow shooting, blacksmithing, and finished up with music using instruments made of natural materials. Our guide interpreted throughout. Then it was on down the path to each of the next four "villages" for a similar demonstration. We were able to ask many questions, which of course I am always hesitant to do, but I persevered. At the end of the village tours, we were treated to a musical show by 3 young women and 4 young men. In the Masai village, it was again explained to us that they are cattle people. They eat meat, milk and blood. They do not eat vegetables or fruits. They do not garden. And they love their cattle more than their wives. As we were driving away, I asked our travel agent guide about that…do the Masai who are still living today really follow that same diet or have they expanded to include a more balanced diet?  He said, certainly the Masai who have left the villages and moved to towns have changed to a modern diet. But for those Masai who still remain in the interior, they are very traditional people and choose to maintain the strict diet of meat, milk, and blood, even today. At the end of the village tours, we were treated to a short musical performance of drumming, singing, and dancing by 3 young women and 4 young men dressed in traditional attire. We also left the Eco Village with a very unique birthday gift for Miss McKenzie who turned 4 while we were here in Kenya. 

Next we had lunch on the deck of a lovely marina restaurant on a canal. Tropical flowers, sea breeze, small yachts and Dhows (local boats) docked nearby. It was elegant and absolutely delish.  We all agreed it was the best prepared and tastiest meal we’ve had on the entire trip. Back to our hotel and into our swim suits for a refreshing dip in the pool and some fun rides down the water slide before we kicked back with our novels under the sun shades. A very good day.  We made the last minute decision to go on a half-day city tour tomorrow to learn about the local history and stop at a wood carvers demonstration that Master Carver Mr Jack is interested in. So now it is time to say good night. Oh, one thing I learned about that I want to research later:  I was able to float on my back in the pool with absolutely no effort. It seemed like it was salt water buoyancy.  I asked of course.  No the water is not de-salinated ocean water. They pump the water from a Blow Hole.  He described it as “not salt water, not fresh water, but somewhere in between. Sometimes they bring in tankers of fresh water to supplement it.

Bummer, we heard that OSU lost their football game by a field goal!
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