Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14, 2009 - Surprise Scorpion & Baringo Breakdown

Over the weekend we visited Lake Baringo in the Rift Valley. We stayed at a tented camp on an island in the middle of the lake; it was not the fanciest tented camp in Kenya but it was very comfortable, and so peaceful and relaxing. We really enjoyed some quiet time as a family away from phones, TVs, internet, traffic, shopping, etc.

We drove about 4 hours north of Nairobi and then took a 10 minute boat ride (a big row boat with a motor) out to the island. When we go to the camp we saw a list of their activities and noticed that water skiing was one of them. Then we saw this crocodile swim by the lake right outside our tent and decided that water skiing on a lake in Kenya is never going to happen in this lifetime:

It was really hot and Grace took a VERY long nap shortly after we arrived on Friday afternoon:

This was the sunrising right outside our tent at 6 am on Saturday morning:

Grace is a fast crawler these days and loved playing by our feet as we sat on our patio for morning tea/hot chocolate:

She also LOVED all of the birds that we saw! We were visited by these small birds on our patio and in the main dining room of the camp, but there were also hundreds of types of birds living on this island:

Sunrise #2 on Sunday morning:

Reason #2 not to go water skiing: this sweet little hippo chomping on some grass outside our tent (not to mention ALL the other hippos in the lake):

We saw lots and lots of beautiful birds (and some ugly ones too actually):

On Sunday morning we took a nice boat ride around the lake and saw some of the local people:

This is a small village that we could see:

The local people are from a tribe called "Njemps" and they are mostly fishermen but also have some cows. These are not the sickest looking cows we have seen in Kenya, but they certainly don't look too healthy:

There are many hot springs in this area because of all the volcanic rock:

This bird is called a "fish eagle" and here Kristoffer captured an incredible picture of it just before he grabbed a fish. These birds mate for life and we saw this one and its partner hunt:

On our boat ride we saw quite a few crocs and some hippos, but we saw this baby croc just before we finished:

So the weekend was great. We went swimming in the pool - which Grace loved once again! - and took lots of naps because of the heat. I got bit by one mosquito which I am praying did not give me malaria. What a Christmas gift that would be! Overall, it was a wonderful getaway weekend...BUT there were two tough moments.

Tough moment #1 happened when we got back to our tent after dinner on Saturday night to find a scorpion inside our tent that looked like this:


We assume that these deadly creatures are fast, so we started to freak out a little bit, but Kristoffer was able to smash it before it moved. I have never heard such expletive vocabulary come out of my husband's mouth before! After all, we are on an island essentially in the middle of nowhere with no electricity at night, so if we (or more importantly Grace) were to be stung/bit by a scorpion...well, we were making ourselves a bit sick thinking about the outcomeof that situation. We thoroughly checked the rest of the tent before going to sleep...but we were both really paranoid and maybe didn't sleep that well!


Tough moment #2 (although not nearly as scary as #1) came on our drive back to Nairobi on Sunday after breakfast. Our car had started to act a bit funny just as we were arriving at the lake on Friday, and by the time we were leaving on Sunday it was acting even worse. We were hoping to get to the next major city before anything crazy happened, but we really only made it an hour down the rode before some warning lights came on and the car essentially died. It would turn on fine, but would not go into gear or pick up. Neither of us know ANYTHING about cars, but luckily when we moved to Kenya my parents bought Kristoffer a "Cars for Dummies" book which we keep with us at all times. I was able to use the book to troubleshoot and figure out that we were out of "automatic transmission fluid (ATF)." We belong to a roadside car assistance club (like AAA in America) and so I also called them and had a mechanic talk Kristoffer through how to check things out. He confirmed that we needed ATF or we weren't going anywhere!


Luckily for us some REALLY NICE KENYANS (said in capital letters because my spirit is renewed to find out that they are out there!) stopped on the road to help us and called a guy who worked at a gas station 10 km away (6 miles) to bring us some ATF. Once he came we were able to get on our way after the mechanic in Nairobi talked us through what to do over the phone. We were so happy that these Kenyans helped us and didn't try to take advantage of us. What a relief! Of course, the whole process took about 2 1/2 hours in the blazing heat. We are very lucky that we had some food in the car for Grace and plenty of water for all of us because we were somewhat in the middle of nowhere and the whole situation could have ended up much worse than it did. We got home around 4:30 pm which made it a very long trip after leaving at 10 am, but Grace was such a good girl the whole time.


I think Kristoffer and I have learned something important while living in Kenya: don't panic! When you are in a stressful situation, try to be calm and optimistic and problem solve instead of being angry and negative and stressed. We worked as a team and came out of both "tough moments" just fine.


Now the task ahead of us is getting ready to depart for Grace's first Christmas in Denmark AND her first really COLD weather: we leave Thursday night and can't wait to see our Danish family!


LMW

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