#MagicalKenya

Playing on Diani Beach
Playing on Diani Beach

It’s about time for me to wrap up Kenya. Awwwwww! Loudly crying faceFace screaming in fearLoudly crying face. My favorite hotel is Diani Reef Resort in Diani. It has a buffet and a pool. It was also right next to the beach. As well as all that, they had a kids’ club and kids’ activities. My favorite restaurant is Camp Carnelly’s in Naivasha. There I had the best burger in my life. I enjoy Hell’s Gate National Park. The break, the save (from crashing a bike), the hike, all of it. I especially like the rock-hyraxes. I also enjoy the beach. Snorkeling, playing in the sand, swimming in the pool, everything. I also like Ol Pejeta and the Kuku Joint and the wedding. I got to play with lots of kids about my age! I also liked our time in Nairobi. Man, we did so much there! The safari walk, Bomas, the giraffe center, and the animal orphanage were just some of the things in Nairobi. I remember from the animal orphanage that when they take young calves by the cages, the lions, cheetahs, leopards, and serval go crazy. It affects the lions the most. One lion had rolled on its back, symbolizing our playful puppy, but the next moment all the lions pace up and down, hunger and murder in their eyes, trying to get to that calf. The calf is put right next to the serval’s cage, so close that the only thing that prevents the serval from pouncing on the young calf is the side of the cage. Even though the serval only wants to play with the calf, the calf is scared to death.

In Nairobi, I also play with friends and go to the market. I played Minecraft with my new friend Taye that I had met on Jasmine’s birthday party. That day she had turned five, the biggest party of her life. Taye is a nine-year-old boy with an American mom and a Kenyan dad. Taye also has a little brother named Micah. Micah is four years old.

If you are wondering where we are staying in Nairobi, we are staying with my parents’ friends Alex and Tabitha. I have lots of fun playing with their daughters Jasmine and Njoki (jo-KI) . Njoki is three. Jasmine just turned five. My mom baked a delicious cheesecake for them. Jasmine savored it. Njoki tried to scoop it up, but she hadn’t learned yet. I fed it to her. I let her try to feed herself the last bite. When I checked her plate again it was gone! My mom gave Tabitha the recipe.

“It’s all about the Philadelphia Cream Cheese, ” mom said.

Overall, Kenya is beautiful. The open savannah, the white sand beaches, even the people. You never know what you’ll find in a country… until you go there.

Diani Beach

Camel ride on the beach
Camel ride on the beach
Sleeping on the train
Sleeping on the train

It was late at night. The train still had not come yet. I curled up in a ball like a kitty cat and closed my eyes. Suddenly – Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu. Something had woken me up. The train had finally arrived. We ate dinner. Then I climbed back up to my bed and closed my eyes – I was asleep. Dad woke me up early the next day to have breakfast. We ate – then lazed around. The last eight hours were boring. The train had a bathroom – so we didn’t need to stop. They said it would be 14 hours. Actually it was 18 hours. The train left at midnight and they didn’t serve lunch or an extra dinner, so you can imagine how hungry we were by the time we got off the train.

My new friend Jason
My new friend Jason

We took a taxi to Diani Beach. The ferry there took forever! When we got there we stared at the hotel Diani Reef Resort. We ate dinner then went to our room. There was a leak in the ceiling, so we went to change our room. Finally we found the right room. The next day we ate breakfast then chilled for most of the day. We hung out by the beach. I had so much fun playing with my new friend Jason! Then the pool – and afterwards walked out of our resort to the Barclays . We bought a few things at the Nakumat. Next we went back to our hotel. When we came back to our room we made an amazing discovery. There was a monkey under our inside table! We had forgotten to lock our sliding glass door to our balcony! They had stolen our coffee, sugar, and cookies. They had also eaten all our bananas, leaving us just the peels.

The monkey left the peels
The monkey left the peels

“I was gonna eat one of those bananas, ” my dad said.

The room was a mess. Sugar was everywhere, muddy paw prints were on my parents’ bed, and banana peels could be found on the table. So while we ate dinner, our room was cleaned. When we got back, we showered and slept.

We woke up early the next morning to go snorkeling. We had a great time. We saw colorful fish in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple, pink, and black coral. There was one skinny yellow fish that was about a foot long! It was swimming above a green coral. We also saw a whole school of gray fish.

Jellyfish Stings
Jellyfish Stings

When we got back we went to the beach. I played in the water. Then, excruciating pain touched my knees and wrapped around my wrist. I looked at the jellyfish’s tentacle. It was gray with blue rings. It thought it was an octopus.

“Oh my god, I hope I don’t die,” I thought.

I knew that the Blue-Ringed Octopus was the size of one’s hand, but venomous enough to kill hundreds on people in one bite. I pinched the tentacle. The creature let go. If you want to know what it felt like, it felt like the pain of fire mixed with the pain of poison. That hurts! I didn’t even cry. Not one tear. The stings were healed with medicinal cream. By morning I was better. Even so, some of the stings were still visible a few days later! On the last day we just hung out at the beach. Luckily, there were no more stinging jellyfish!

 

Hiking through Hell’s Gate with a Smile

Inside Hell's Gate
Inside Hell’s Gate
A bike ride through the park
A bike ride through the park

Whoosh! The wind flew past my bike. I was going downhill – and very fast, too. Bump! Then I ran over a rock the size of a soup bowl. I went all over the place. Both me and mom thought I was going to eat it. I just barely saved myself. Then Dad came on a purple school bus. Fifteen minutes ago Dad’s bike pedal had fallen off. They could not fix Dad’s bike. He had to take the bus instead. When we saw Dad next about an hour had passed. Then we had lunch.

Lunch Thief
Lunch Thief

There was a cute Vervet monkey trying to steal our food. We had to defend our food with a stick. Next we hiked through Hell’s Gate gorge. The canyon itself is actually called Hell because once, the ground opened up and people fell in. My gosh!

There we saw some caves in the rocks. Our guide said that the biggest ones belonged to the baboons. The smallest ones belonged to cheetahs. The middle ones belonged to leopards. There were also African Hunting Dogs that lived in holes. All of their holes were high up, so that when it rained, the animals were still safe. Luckily they didn’t hang around the canyon during daytime. The animals had adapted very well to their environment. They could all swim – even the cheetahs and leopards.

Our Guide
Our Guide

Our guide was a Maasai guy. He gave me a Maasai name: Olelemaya

When we got back we had three hours to bike nine miles to our camp. We had to bike at least three miles an hour. Then, we biked 1.5 miles in thirty minutes. After that, in one hour we biked 3 miles.

Rock Hyrex
Rock Hyrex

We stopped for about fifteen minutes at a big rock formation that looked like a really steep and bare hill. There we saw some rodents, called rock-hyraxes.They looked like big brown guinea pigs. The adults were about 2-4 pounds. There was a little baby suckling from its mother. It was about 1/2 pound. There were so cute!

We had to bike very fast without stopping to get to the rock-hyraxes, because of the numerous buffalo we were biking past.  When we finally got back, we were exhausted. We slept for 11 hours. When I woke up, my butt still ached from the day before. After all, it was still worth it.

Lesson Learned: Appreciated or Taken for Granted

JamesToday when we were walking around we started naming things we missed from the U.S. One thing that popped up was unlimited data and free/strong wifi. We took those two things for granted in the U.S. We thought we’d always have it no matter where we went. But now that we don’t have those things, we appreciate them. So the lesson learned is never to take ANYTHING for granted and to take advantage of things you have in the time you have them ESPECIALLY when they are about to go away. Always appreciate, never take for granted.

Fresh Chickens…Too Fresh!

Peeking in at the chickens
Peeking in at the chickens

Today we stopped by a chicken place for lunch. It served greens, chicken, and Ugali. We heard some clucking behind the fence. Dad said, “Well, at least it’s fresh,”. Occasionally some chickens were thrown inside. Then a man came in with a knife. Not a single chicken survived. Later the kids looked inside and saw that they were feathering, decapitating, gutting, and cleaning the now dead chickens.

The kill
The kill

The food was yummy. And the chicken…. its death was honored enough by being cooked well, tasting yummy and ending up in our bellies. I think that if you go to that restaurant too, you’ll say the same.

The meal
The Meal

Some random warthog had a very bad day today

We went on a safari
We went on a safari

It ended with a lioness outside her hole.

Chimps
Chimps

My family went on a game drive today. We first saw some rescued chimps. We saw all but one chimp. That was very lucky. Our luck didn’t end there. Right when we came from the chimp center, I screamed, “Elephant!”. There was an African Elephant right there. “Not so loud,” said my dad. We watched the poor thing limp to wherever it was going. The experience was still magical. Then, we moved on. We kept seeing many animals: a couple of black rhinos, many, many, many zebras and antelope. We found a couple of sleeping lions, one an adult female the other a young male. We moved on, saw some pheasants, and found a young female lion, looking for something to hunt.

Zebras grooming
Zebras grooming
Lions!!
Lions!!
ELEPHANT!!!
ELEPHANT!!!

Now, let’s got to the viewpoint of the warthog, which we were watching the lioness hunt..

I was merely searching for food for my babies, when this lioness crept near to me. A few seconds passed, then I forgot about the lion, even though I was staring right at it. Then, it came closer. Very close. Too close. I ran into my burrow, and the lioness came and laid down next to my burrow. About thirty minutes later, I forgot about the lioness right outside my burrow……….and……..I DIED!!! (as far as we saw – We didn’t actually see the warthog die. But I bet that warthog still died). 

Pants on fire at Bomas

Embu Son Hut
Embu Tribe Son Hut

My family went to Bomas of Kenya, a place where they held traditional dances. At the end of the Luo Drinking Party, where the people danced and drank and partied and drank and sung and drank till everyone got drunk and went home, some characters had a hard time getting home. One audience member was taken by the Luo but eventually came back and rejoined the audience.

Luo Drinking Party
Luo Drinking Party
Drunk Luo
Drunk Luo
Acrobats
Acrobats and fire

Then came the acrobats for the finale. They did some stunts then “played with fire”. One guy stuck a torch in another’s pants. The guy who got “torched” became angry. The “torcher” gave him a torch. The next time the man got “torched” he got revenge on the “torcher” by doing the same. Then one extinguished the flame by putting it in his mouth. Then the other ignited a “fire limbo”. They did the limbo like you or I would, except with fire. Then they lowered it to half the height and did the limbo. Then they decreased it to only two beer bottles high. Then one. But every time, they were successful. Then they did some more stunts, and it was over.

Acrobats2
Acrobats Limo
Acrobats3
All-body stunt

We then saw some examples of the styles of the huts of many tribes. We had fun picking which tribes we would like best based on the huts.

The huts in the Embu and another tribe were small.

Dad and I preferred to be Kikuyu. The huts were pretty large and the boys didn’t share a hut with any adults or the sisters, but with each other.

Mom liked the Luo best of all, being the first (and only (for eternity)) wife, since she had a large house and a verandah (sort of like a patio). Dad, being the husband disliked the husband’s example hut for the Luo, because even I had to duck to get in and out of the tiny, low hut.

Luo First Wife Hut
Luo First Wife Hut
Luo Husband Hut
Luo Husband Hut

The last one we saw was the Mijikenda. The huts were shaggy and small, like the Embu. But mom still liked it, probably because the first wife had the biggest hut in all the tribes. We enjoyed the experience, all of it. It was great.