Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Safari!

So, my parents came to Kenya.  The last time they left the United States, I was 11-years-old, making it more than a decade-and-a-half since they'd experienced any foreign nation.  Back in 1996, they had taken my brother and me to Switzerland.  I'm not saying Swiss culture isn't really interesting, unique, or different.  But, I am saying that it's clean.  And cleanliness counts.

I intended on easing my parents into Kenya in a variety of ways: we were going to start off staying in one of these fancy tented camps and going on safari.  I was going to pick them up at the airport and drive the whole way so everything would be comfortable and affordable.  I bought bottles of water and snacks for what I believed would be a 4- (max 5-) hour drive from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara.  I was all set.

Or so I thought.


You saw that coming, didn't you?  I recognize that set-up was not especially clever writing, so I'm going to go ahead and abandon it right here.

The trip was great.  We did have some bumps (literally) along the road to the Mara, but we made it.  We saw just about everything you hope to see on safari (with the exception of leopards, but it's cool... I'm not bitter.)  and we got to stay in a "tent" that was actually a luxury hotel with a private deck to watch the baboons and Vervet monkeys playing along the banks of the Talek River.  It wasn't even that hot.  We did get awfully dusty, but I think we'd be disappointed if we hadn't.  After all, how can you make sense of the hair washing scene in "Out of Africa" if going on safari turns out to be a tidy, dirt-free experience?

Anyhoo.  I kept my eye out for 'funny' incidents to blog about with my parents here.  I was on the look out for cultural faux pas, for food failures, for anything that might make a good story later.  My mom did, at one point, say "Jamba Mary!" instead of "Jambo Mary!" (Hello, Mary!) but, honestly, Mary probably didn't even notice.  For those of you who don't know (and for any Jamba Juice fanatics), "jamba" means "fart."  So, that's kind of a weird thing to want in a beverage.

Otherwise, things went on well.  We boated on Lake Victoria, drank tea on a plantation in Kericho, fed giraffes, and watched farmer recruitment (I had to take them to at least one work function).  It was fantastic.

My parents are stopping over in Switzerland now on their way home, probably brushing some red dust off of their suitcases onto the shining streets of Zurich... probably to the horror of their European brethren.

And I'm back at work.  So, there you have it.

For some reason, it makes me really happy that this was erected by the Lion's Club.

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