Thursday, January 21, 2010

01/16/2010 - What a fun adventure!

We had been looking forward to this day all week long. We were going to the equator and Thompson Falls today. We hopped in our Matatu which kind of reminded us of a 70s “Love Machine” and sat and sat and sat. I think it took about 3 hours on a bumpy, bumpy ride to reach the equator. We saw lots of zebras on the way and even some giraffe. We had to stop many times for police checks and even once for an entire herd of cattle to cross the road. Suddenly, the bumpy ride stopped, we pulled over to the side of the road and we saw a sign. “Equator.” Wow…that was it. At first I thought, “Well, this is kind of anti-climactic” but then we started taking pictures, a man showed us how a piece of straw in a bowl of water right at the equator just stayed still, but if you went about 20 meters south, it spun counter clockwise. If you went about 20 meters north, it spun clockwise. It was so cool! There is a road that goes right along the equator, so we walked along the center of the earth for a while. We even found a crossroads, so we all stood in different directions - North, East, West, and South. Harrison stood directly in the center. It was fun. Chris haggled with this lady for a figurine for a long time and they finally agreed upon a price. It was much harder to haggle at the equator than at the market in Nairobi. We drove just a few miles to Thompson Falls. Again, I thought, “This is nice - a waterfall, but it’s kind of anti-climactic.” And then we realized that we could hike down to the falls. So we hiked down a very steep cliff. About half way down, I realized that my legs were already feeling like jelly. And I still had to hike back up. I’m finding it’s harder to hike up here at 8000 feet. I get out of breath so quickly. Elevation makes a big difference! Harrison, Victor and Mike practically ran down the mountain and back up. I was really fighting it every step of the way. But I did make it, despite the burning in my chest. And I enjoyed it very much. You know me and waterfalls. Despite my familial heritage, however, I did not stick my head in this water…it was very brown in color and smelled of sewage, so I didn’t even think about it. Sorry, Dad. I’m sure you would have done the same. J We decided to drive to Lake Naivasha and see what we could get ourselves into there. There’s a park called Hell’s Gate that we had considered, but when we got there, they said it was too late. So we pulled into a campground and asked if we could look around the lake. We walked clear out to the lake and there was a man sitting there in a boat. He asked us if we wanted a ride to see the Hippo Family that lives there in the wild, so for 1500 shillings, or about $18, all 10 of us got to go on a boat safari. So we crossed the marshy land on long planks of unstable wood and climbed in the canoe with an engine on the back to embark upon our journey in the mucky, dirty brown water of Lake Naivasha. It was so cool, and definitely the favorite part of the day for all of us. We thought that was funny, because it was the only part of the day that we had not planned. None of the Kibarita family had ever been on a boat before, or seen hippos, so it was quite exciting for them. It really amazed me…they live right here in Africa and many of them hadn’t seen zebras, giraffes, or hippos before. You should have seen the hippos. I was so amazed that they were right there in the wild. We could ride right up next to them. And I got some incredible pictures of them. What a thrill! The Kibaritas kept talking about how funny hippos looked - big heads, little ears, huge bodies and tiny tails! They thought they were so funny. I enjoyed watching them experience this for the first time. It brings a fresh perspective to life. We ate at the Silver Hotel in Naivasha because Adam remembered getting “Chips” (French fries) there the last time he was here. He was craving something familiar, so we all ate chips for dinner. We are so exhausted. The 10 mile hike from last night and our hike up and down a mountain to the waterfall really has us beat. Bed sure sounds good for tonight!

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