africa week 8, final week
we arrived in nairobi. it was our first stop in africa, and now it’s our final stop.
we had a hotel in mind, but didn’t hear back from them about availability. when we got out of the aiport, we were bombarded by hotel agents. we talked to one of them who called our hotel to see if there was availability. he said they did, but that it was almost twice as expensive as we thought it would be. he then suggested a “nicer hotel” that was “safer” but a little more expensive. we fell for it. as soon as we arrived, before telling them i was the person that just booked over the phone, i pretended to be a customer just off the street. she quoted me $40/night. and then i told her that we already booked for twice the price. she claimed to have made a mistake, of course. later i overheard a man at the desk who booked a single room for 1 night for less than $20. i asked her if she just booked him for $20. she said yes, and then quickly caught herself and played it off by saying, “oh well, he’s only staying for a few minutes.” sure, lady. totally belieavable. we were stupid enough to fall for a tourist trapper. lesson learned.
today’s plan was to go to an elephant/rhino orphanage and a giraffe center. our taxi driver, an older man, took us to the wrong place. we ended up going to nairobi national park animal orphanage (not the one for elephant orphans). it was alright, but disappointing not to see elephant orphans. although not a completel loss. our guide told us that we could go in the cheetah cage for $10. so we petted 3 two-year-old cheetahs. very tame. they pur just like kittens. i felt kind of bad because when they let us in, it was obviously an illegal thing we did, and the trainers were exploiting the cheetahs for personal profit.
after the animal orphanage, we went to the giraffe center. they have an elevated building where giraffes are at eye level to us. they give you animal feed so that the giraffes will eat out of your hands and you can pet them and take pictures. and if you’re brave enough, you can do what is called a giraffe kiss. you put the animal feed between your lips, and the giraffe will eat it as if it were in your hand. you in turn receive a nice slobbery lick from a giraffe.
this was our last dinner in africa. we went to a moderately fancy restaurant that served kenyan food. we had samosas, sweet potato soup, and a special salad for starters. for drinks, strawberry daiquiri and strawberry mojito (yes, with alcohol). for our main courses, we had tilapia with special sauce, and lamb chops. we were stuffed, and took half our main courses home for lunch the next day.
we were lucky to have a late enough flight out of nairobi to try the elephant and rhino orphanage again. this time we got it right. it was fantastic. we got to see 11 baby elephant orphans, 5 young elephants, and a rhino. the baby elephants drank out of giant baby bottles. this orphanage is a very successful place where many years ago, they perfected a formula for milk for the baby elephants. they rescue them from the wild (like ones left orphaned due to their parents falling victim to poachers), raise them to health, and put them in foster elephant herds. isn’t that sweet? well watching the babies feed and play around is an awfully heart-warming experience. we were kept at a distance by a rope, but the elephants came close enough so that we could touch them. not a bad way to top off our trip.
we had a lot of time before our flight, so we took our time leaving the hotel and arrived at the airport plenty early. our flight to africa went through detroit and amsterdam. but for some reason our return flight went through lagos, nigeria, and atlanta. when we went to check in, the attendant told us that all americans needed a visa to get into nigeria, even for connecting flights. we went to ticket sales. they said they would talk to delta and see what they could do. eventually we were rerouted to amsterdam, but on a later flight. we’ll take it.
upon arriving in detroit, we had to go through immigration and customs. missed our connecting flight to oklahoma. sitting at airport as we speak (e.i. if you’re reading this on july 28 before 7pm EST). assuming nothing else crazy happens before we get home, this is the end of our africa trip. thanks for tuning in. pictures and video to follow soon. baadaye!