Nothing beats being back in the homeland. Don’t get me wrong, my travels have been out of this world amazing and the places I have been to have been breathtaking but to be back on home soil and where everything is so familiar is indescribable. And to add a few hours of family time and catch ups with friends was the perfect way to spend my few days there. I don’t think I will ever tire of coming home. It is always good to get out once in a while to wash out the cobwebs and the dust from life there, and I will always be sad to leave as well as excited to be going somewhere new and exciting but nothing will equal the excitement of returning. I can’t say I arrived very refreshed or very clean but as always I was welcomed back with many hugs (mostly from the nephew, which wasn’t necessarily his choice) and many many invitations for drinks and catch ups. I have the best family and friends. It was like you all knew exactly what I needed and had the best remedies to fix any traveling blues. I simply can’t thank you enough. I am also not lying when I say I miss you all so much already, I am already looking forward to coming back to hopefully be spending more time this time and having a better chance to catch up with those of you who I only saw for a brief moment or didn’t get to see at all. I will keep you posted on when that may be and for how long so be prepared to clear your schedule, I am coming to see you.
So what exactly could I possibly do in Nairobi over two days I hear you think. Well I think the staff of Talisman know me by name now I spent so much time there but other than that I was shopping, socialising and harassing my poor nephew (sorry Ewan!!). It was lucky that we arrived on a Thursday so I had a Friday night to get involved in the Nairobi silliness.
We drove up from Arusha on Thursday so we didn’t get in until after lunch. As soon as the truck was switched off I ran to Louiza’s house to actually look for some milky bar ice cream that I remember leaving in the freezer. I completely forgot about the ice cream when I saw Ewan through the little peep hole in the gate. I miss that child so much. I actually cried when he looked at me like a complete stranger. I can hardly blame him as it has been a while so for a small baby who is growing so fast it must feel like ages. I am not sure if it was because he finally recognised me or if because he was happy to have the entertainment but that cute smiley face was back and I was in love with him all over again. It still surprises me that Ali could produce something so cute!! Anyway after I caught up on the baby snuggles I took him for a wonder to see the truck. He didn’t seem all that impressed really but the rest of the unwashed travellers enjoyed his cute self and he loved the oohing and aahing. Once I couldn’t carry him anymore I headed back to the house and waited for the family. It was awesome seeing them all, especially the added visit from my cousin who was out for half term. The afternoon is a bit of a blur, all I know is that most of my new things were stolen from me or given away and then I was dragged round the shops. Not such a bad idea as I needed some new clothes but I could have used a shower and a change of clothes before being let out in public! We then headed out to Talisman later for dinner with the whole group. It was hard to sit round a table with everyone who I had just spent the last few weeks with when my family and some friends were on a table not too far or propping up the bar. I don’t think I managed it too well as I constantly found myself surrounded with familiar faces of old friends rather than the faces that became so familiar from new friends. Anyway a few drinks were had with both parties and I finished the night sitting at the bar with an old friend from South Sudan. We must have had one too many drinks as we both decided that returning to South Sudan was a must even if just for a weekend. Not sure how well that would go down with the family or the government but I won’t lie, a weekend in Juba with the bunch of crazies I know from there would be hilarious and so much fun but slightly too extreme. Anyway it was good laughing about the old times and putting the world right. I also didn’t end up going back to the campsite either, the promise of a good bed and a cuddle with the nephew pre breakfast was too good to pass on. Luckily the campsite isn’t far from the house (within walking distance) so I could sneak in in the morning. My last day in Nairobi was spent having breakfast with the tour leader and then joining the family for their late breakfast, then another quick trip around the shops and an afternoon full of Carlo Rossi and a pedicure. The best day I have had in Nairobi for a while. It was filled with everything I could possibly wish for. My feet look more presentable and finally clean!! It’s sad that clean feet should be so exciting but if you know my family you would know why. Anyway Katie and Lynn, you will be happy to know that my toes are newly polished with red polish and not blue and that the layers of dirt have been scrubbed off. Not sure if it will last long but I am now wearing socks with my new shoes so I hope that this prolongs it a little more.
Once all the grooming and repacking was done I headed back to The Rubber Arm bar at the campsite for a last drink or two to say bye to the nomads we were leaving behind and then off out for a sushi dinner. As it was Friday we had to venture out for a night out on the town. In hindsight this was probably not such a good idea as we had to leave the next day but it was hard for me to resist. Back to Talisman we went although this time is was slightly less civilised and I spent the night dancing my clean feet off and shooting vodka. Still though, I met some amazing new people and caught up with the amazing old friends. Another perfect way to spend my time off the road and in the homeland. Thank you to all who were there, I am still smiling at the good times. Same thing when I get back please!
After two and a half hours of sleep it was back on the truck and Nakuru bound. The view on the escarpment was very foggy but I will never tire of it. I was sad to keep driving on through Naivasha but I had rhinos to see in Nakuru! A quick lunch outside the gate and then a drive through what was left of the park. It seems that Nakuru has had lots of rain because the lake has doubled in size and the water is not far off flowing in to the offices at the gate. This did cut off most of the game viewing plains but it provided with some great bird watching. I have to admit that it was hard to keep my eyes open but being back in a park where I used to frequent back in the day was a good way to spend a hungover day. After that we headed to the campsite where I saw some more familiar faces and spent the evening sipping on Amarula hot chocolate and watching David Attenborough’s Africa.
After the best nights sleep we headed on to Eldoret for a little bit of shopping then an afternoon spent relaxing in the campsite. Didn’t get up to much other than note writing and the like but it was another fine day. The evening was spent with a beer this time but more of the Africa series. We live in a beautiful world round here. We are so lucky. Anyway this episode featured the Ruwenzori Mountains which is where I am heading so as you can imagine there was much excitement and more oohing and aahing. David Attenborough really has a way of imprinting Africa in to you and showing it in all its glory. I don’t think I will ever feel like I know this place until I have seen down every nook and cranny, peeped in to every hole and trekked every mountain peak. I will give it a good shot though, lets see how far I get. For now I am keeping my fingers crossed for a spare Gorilla permit. I hear so many great things and many reviews of it being a once in a lifetime opportunity so I would love to be able to take this opportunity to see them for myself. I hopefully find out today if the permit is available so I shall keep you all posted. Until then if you haven’t already done so, watch the Africa series and get booking some holidays. It’s coming up to that time of year and I know a few of you who could use some time on the road. Don’t forget that you can come visit me too!
Enjoy being home for me, and please do still keep in touch. I miss you all so much and will always enjoy hearing all the news and dramas. See you all again in two weeks though for some more stories to make you jealous!
It’s Uganda and Gorilla time, Eeks!
“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave but not our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes