We woke early after a night where the rain bucketed down for hours. After packing up, I walked over to pay for our night, the man hesitated over the price so I spoke up ‘7000 like you said in the email, yes?’
‘Ah, yes’ he agreed.
I counted out 7000 K/sh and said thank you and goodbye.
We were just getting our bags out the door when, there he was at my elbow.
My heart sank. He held out the money towards me.
‘Yes?’ I asked.
‘ Not 7,’ he said. ‘70’
‘70,000?’ I gasped.
‘No! But the email said 7, not 70,000!’
He shook his head. ‘7’ pointing at the first room, ‘7’ pointing at the second room.
‘But in the email you said 7 for two’
He grabbed one of the 1000 shillings, gave it to me and waited.
I was so confused. ‘So 6’?
‘Yesssss,’ he nodded.
‘Ah thank you! ‘ I took the money and waved goodbye.’
I turned back to pack and noticed he was still at my elbow..
I turned back to him and he indicated the note he had given me. A 100 k/sh nite, not a 1000 k/ sh note.
Oh, I had underpaid him!
I apologised over and over, my cheeks burning. He seemed to realize it was an honest mistake.
We piled into the van and drove back to fortress RVA.
The principal had emailed permission for me to enter, so after lots of written details, we were in. It took a few minutes to orient myself with where we were as we came in the back way past the infirmary. But once we were at Kedong, all the memories came flooding back and without walking too far, I could pint out all the significant buildings to me. Forgive the images, some are blurry as they are all stills from a quick video I took.
Where we gathered to get steaming sweet mugs of chai for morning tea.
Significant steps- where all the graduation photos are taken!
Cannot remember the name of this, Kedong? Admin building and classrooms.
My first dorm!
We did not linger. A long drive to Masai Mara was before us. We exited Kijabe via the lower
Road this time and that road sucked so bad. We certainly received the famous African massage that the locals all chuckle about. We bounced around like popcorn in a sizzling pan.
The road to the Mara grew steadily worse. A lot of the time we were bouncing around at at least a 35 degree angle because the main road was so bad that John was having to drive up along the kerb.
We brushed past people and cattle alike, people and cattle who seemed unfazed and didn’t really move much out of the way at all at all. By now most of the people sorted red checked wraps in the Masai fashion. Interspersed amongst the cattle and sheep on the sides of the road, we also glimpsed wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle.
About an hour out of the Mara is when the road just fell to pieces.
It should have been a fantastic road, but there are massive grooves and craters all through it. And then the detours with the tolls began.
I didn’t pay too much attention at first, but after the fifth time we had to take a side road with a roughly created boom fare where John had to pay a toll to get through, I did.
Some of the local Masai have damaged the main road so it is undriveable, forcing the driver to take the side route they have created that touches their land. This allows them to then charge their toll fee.
John said that there are 4 usually but this time there were 7 I think. One made him cranky as two teenage boys quickly placed a log into the road and made us do a detour.
We saw a fire on the left hand side of the road where the women and kids were standing. John said ‘ They are burning to clear the area to make a new road on their and then they will break this good bit of real road and tgat will be a new toll.’
We pulled into Enchoro tented camp which is an eco camp.
Jacob, the manager, couldn’t have been nicer as he welcomed us. He is steely though because he insisted we pay cash. This started a situation as we only had cash to pay the Mara entry fee.
See, this was a Booking.com booking and in the ‘hotel policies’ section for this camp it says that the money comes out via credit card two days before arrival.
Jacob insisted that was not so and he doesn’t take visa payment for anything.
So, flustered and stressed, I paid him with our park entry fee.
We were ushered to our tents.
The tents are heavy duty and set into a concrete base. They contain a shower and toilet as well. After the lights at the dining area go out we are not to leave our tents until morning. The local Masai patrol the camp. It is a beautiful setting.
Unfortunately now that I was stressed about the money I could not appreciate it as much.
We have money, but it is only accessible via ATM and this place is secluded.
Jacob came to tell us he had organized a late lunch. He also explained that meals besides breakfast were not included in the price.
I explained our problem of how paying him cash has beggared us. He smiled calmly and told me to get John to drive me to a local town where there is an ATM.
5 minutes later, John came looking for me. He said ‘ Jacob is taking advantage of you using Booking.com. You are already paying more than you should when you get all meals included and now he is asking for the food money! Tell him you won’t pay!’
Easier said than done, John!
Our lunch was delicious. Spaghetti, beef stew, (pretty sure is was a Masai cow as the meat was lean and gamey) and cooked veggies.
We rested until 4.when it was safari time.
I told John about driving to the ATM, so he walked back to Jacob and told him that I am writing to cancel my Booking.com booking!
The game drive far exceeded our expectations.
I won’t bore you with the blow by blow. Soon after entry we came upon a cheetah still out of breath from chasing down and killing a young wildebeest minute’s ago. It lay next to its meal, panting for about 10 minutes before getting up and staying to feast.
John, our driver comes with so much knowledge about the animals.
The other amazing sight we witnessed was mating lions.
We also saw loads of wildebeest, zebra and antelope; warthogs, giraffe, buffalo, vultures and elephants.
So much amazingness for a short 2 hour safari!
We got back to camp and as we passed Jacob, John called me loudly’ Don’t forget to write that email to Booking.com!’
I went and wrote a letter, but we have no internet.
We again feasted and charged our devices in the dining room, David the young chef is hilarious and theatrical.
Afterwards there is a fire outside where we can sit and talk to the local Masai men.
We walked over to it, although Bo, Kara and Flynn were now resting in their tents, an older Masai man joined us and we had a lovely fireside chat about his culture and family configuration.
Then it was an early night for me:)0