The flight out of Nairobi doesn't leave until 11pm, so Ken made arrangements to hire a driver for the day who picked us and our bags up at the hotel, took us to fun places and dropped us off at the airport. When we finished packing this morning including the extra bags we had left here, our first stop was back at the Masai cooperative where we went on our first day here to buy a few more things. Ken had fallen in love with the ebony carvings of heads with the interior coal black and the exterior bark white. Ebony is the densest, heaviest wood I have ever encountered, but with the extra suitcase, haikuna matata.
Then we retraced our steps back up the Rift Valley to Lake Naisha. There we took a boat ride, just the two of us, while the driver waited. The boat driver took us out to an island, where another man took us for a nature hike while the boat driver waited. Do you see a pattern here?
Crescent Island was used during the filming of Out of Africa and animals were brought here for background. Since no one wanted Meryl Streep or Robert Redford to be eaten by a lion, all the animals were herbivores. After the filming the animals were left to their own devices. They were fruitful and multiplied and without predators their numbers burgeoned. Finally some were taken off the island and repatriated, where they were quickly devoured having not learned any predator avoidance skills. After weeks of seeing these animals from a vehicle, it was a joy to wander among them with a guide who knows more about our politics than we do. Everyone in Kenya is a Obama fan, but he is also rooting for Hillary. The Clintons won his heart when their foundation gave him enough funds so he could finish university. He works with a regular customer, a redneck from Texas, who told him in 2007 that a black man could never be president of the United States. In 2008 the man returned, apologized, and handed him a $100 bill.
On the boat ride back we stopped to watch about ten hippos who were out of the water happily working their way through a large pile of grass that had been mowed upslope by hotel staff. They returned to the water with beatific smiles and grass stains all over their faces. The boat driver threw a fish in the air to a fish eagle to demonstrate its keen eye sight and swooping skills.
The last stop was at Joy Adamson's home. She and her game keeper husband George raised an orphaned lion like a house pet, eventually releasing it successfully to the wild. She wrote a best selling book about the experience which was made into the block buster film Born Free. With all the profits she made, she opened numerous animal sanctuaries and other animal ecology programs. Today fifty years later her home is a nature oriented education facility. Our guide took a two week ornithology course there during his guide training.
Then it was time to return to Nairobi and the airport. The two hour drive this morning turned into a four hour drive in the evening. An over turned coal truck was one of the factors, but there were just too many cars on the road. Near the airport every car is screened from below with a red light which supposedly identifies irregularities. More slow going. I lost a number of fingernails before we finally got inside the terminal. The airport is near the top of my ten worst list. We'd read that it is aspiring to be third world. We were screened to get into the airport and double screened to get into the gate. The toilets had no water. There was nowhere to eat. We're flying home business class for free,so things have got to improve.