I start going out in to the field to meet entrepreneurs tomorrow, so I promise to have more Kiva-related info on here soon. In the meantime, here’s some more about the touristy aspects of my time here…
I still don’t have my luggage. It seems that a lot of people had their bags lost on British Airways because their Nairobi airport lost bags telephone # is always busy or no one picks up. It’s a bit frustrating to be honest. I had to go buy some clothes from a store called Wool Matt, which I’m pretty sure is a thinly veiled imitation of Wal Mart. You can buy anything you need there – groceries, liquor, clothes, random odds and ends, hardware, etc.
I spent all of yesterday afternoon, last night and this afternoon at Lake Nakuru National Park. It’s a huge tourist attraction, mainly because the lake is beautiful, has an unbelievably large population of flamingoes, and because of the game park that you can take safaris in. I drove around the game park for a good 3-4 hours yesterday and again today. It was absolutely stunningly gorgeous. It’s a huge expanse of a park – hundreds, if not thousands of acres of vast terrain. It is open plains, African style. So it’s not pristine beauty, but more serene and rugged beauty. You look out and see just shrubbery and bushes and trees, but not dense forests but rather trees spaced apart, for as far as you can look. I took lots of pictures (although my camera died by the end of yesterday and since my charger is in my luggage, I was forced to resort to my cell phone…until that too, died.). We drove as close to the lake as possible and took pictures of the flamingoes. From afar, all you see is a sea of pink ringing the edge of the lake. Once you get closer, it still seems like a large pink mass, except that it’s moving slowly to and fro, and you can hear the flamingos chirping or calling or whatever it is they do – it sounds kind of like a low hum of static when there are millions of them doing it all at once. I also got pictures of baboons, monkeys, rhinos, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, impalas, and antelopes. It was really sweet because at a few points we got really close to the animals. Sadly we couldn’t find any lions or anything like that. Hopefully I’ll get to see that stuff before I leave Kenya. One thing that I wish I had was a quality camera meant for taking serious photographs. I feel like my digital camera just can’t capture the vast expanses of beautiful landscape that are in front of me, but rather just takes narrow slices of the view.
Last night I stayed by myself at Lake Nakuru Lodge. It’s a really nice hotel located on a high hill somewhere in the game park. The scenery and view from around the entire complex is unbelievable. The lodge is a series of small huts connected by open walkways. There’s a bar and a pool and nice amenities, but it’s not garish and they’ve worked to make the architecture and ambience flow and meld with the surrounding nature. I was sitting outside before just staring out on the plains because they are so peaceful. Then it started raining and I was wearing the only pair of clothing I currently have so I couldn’t afford to get it soaked.
After the hotel’s dinner hours, there was live music by the bar and pool area. The hotel came alive as all the guests from different countries relaxed after long, hot days out in the park. It provided me a solid few hours of people watching.
This morning I woke early, around 6 am, ate breakfast and then sat by the edge of the hotel complex on the side overlooking the lake. I watched a grazing herd of impalas for a while, and then just read the morning away (currently: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). Around 11 am, James picked me up and we took another drive through the game park, but this time with a much better tour guide than I had yesterday. The rest of the day has been spent lounging. Sunday is a day of rest here and life moves pole pole (Swahili for “slow”).
And now I must familiarize myself with the first set of Kiva entrepreneurs that I will be meeting tomorrow.