Monday, January 31, 2011

What did I do this weekend? Mmmm.

My weekend starts last Thursday when we left Nairobi for the final leg of our journey. We drove for five hours on tarred roads filled with traffic: much of it tour busses and vehicles transporting tourists around this beautiful East African country.

A stop that Stephanie, our driver had to make for the mine, was at a butchery/grocery store in Nakuru, quite a large town en route to our mine site. There we stocked up on meat for Grant and lovely fresh vegetables, yoghurt and cheese for me.

Shortly after leaving Nakuru,  we turned off onto a dirt road. Phew. And bounced and rattled across bone-jarring gravel surfaces up mountains and down into valleys for the next hour.

 Tourist trap? Err, yes I was caught just outside the butchery. This man was persistent that I buy paintings that HE'd done. After I'd bought four diminutive cards, Grant hissed in my ear that I'd just been ripped off. Later alone in the backseat of the car, I snuck a peek at the cards and yes, the "paintings" were badly cut pictures haphazardly stuck onto cheap white paper and sealed in a plastic envelope. Even I don't know what use I can put them too, LOL!

I was surprised and delighted when Sephanie pointed out that we were on the middle of the earth (his expression!) I have often flown across the Equator and even been aware of it because of onboard television displays. But Grant and I have never crossed the Equator "on foot" as it were. I managed to get a photo as we passed (a click on the image will enlarge and enable you to read the boards more clearly)

A few minutes to one, we finally arrived at the mining residential site. Above is my first glimpse of the guest house (and comfort!). The MD's wife, Sue met us and had our luggage taken to our room. We stayed in the Guest House for the first few days as our house had just been repainted and Nico, the MD felt we should wait for the paint smell to disappear. A good expat company (such as this one) also "eases" it's employers and families into life in Africa by having someone cook their meals and see to the basic needs. We were thoroughly spoilt by the Guest House Chef, Wheatcliffe,  and his assistant, Caro the Houselady, whom I'll ask for a photo at a later stage. Today after our last lunch cooked by Wheatcliffe and served by Caro, we'll move our luggage and other personal effects down to our house in the corner of the site. The setting is BEAUTIFUL and I'll post all about my NOO HOOS tomorrow.

 One of the bends I managed to photograph, although this wasn't the sharpest. Most of the corners made the road look like a paper clip at that point!

On Sunday Sephanie collected for a shopping trip to the nearest town, El Doret. I was trying to think of all sorts of excuses why we actually don't need groceries and cleaning materials for our house. My [late] fifty-somehing body just rebelled at the thought of another long trip on dirt roads. However, my no-nonsense hubby cajoled me into the car and off we went! Travelling to El Doret, 74 kms away,  meant we had to climb the mountain surrounding the valley on 24kms of dirt road (not just ordinary dirt road, but rattling, teeth-loosening gravel) with [apparently] 24 hairpin bends. I lost count after the third one as I was TRYING to take photos and trying to stay in my seat at the same time! The view in Africa always makes up for any discomfort! (See below)

On the homebound trip [back down the mountain], Sephanie stopped at a viewpoint for me to photograph the valley W - A - Y down below. We still had more than 50kms/32miles of bone-jarring dirt road to go.  Ewgh!

One small fly in the ointment here in Paradise: the Internet connection at the camp is almost non-existent. No sooner do I upload a photo, when the prompt below my post says "An error occured while saving" When I check the Safricom broadband connection, sure enough it's down. *Sigh*. I've had to practice more patience these past few days than ever before in my life!  I will be spending some mornings at the mine offices where the Satelite connection is excellent. So for now I'm not able to link to memes and hope to be able to comment and post in the future.

PS As we have no television in South Africa (never have had) we are now connected to DSTV here in our house. Someone (one of the other guests) has left the telly on CNN, I muted the sound but have been horrified to see the chaos in Egypt. I have blogger friends in Cairo and sincerely hope they're OK. Also seen riots in Canada? Kay, is this near you? I hope you're all safe and well.


  1. Wonderful to hear from you again, Jo & to know you're slowly beginning to 'find your feet' as it were ;)

    The cauliflower you bought at the butchery was HUGE! And the lettuce looked quite impressive, too!

    The countryside looks drier than I'd imagined it would. I guess we mostly think in terms of the dense, lush forested areas when we imagine Kenya, with lots of tropical rainfall.

  2. Whoa, just caught up with your last 3 posts. What a long way away you are. Those bone shaking roads are the pits we have them in the outback too. It looks a massive landscape out there. You will have fun with your camera, bad news about the internet connection but I guess you are lucky to have any at all so far away.
    Did I miss what happened to Shadow . Is he still at home in SA.

  3. How lucky you are to see such wonderful sites.

    I look forward to hearing of daily life and of the mining operation.

  4. Wow Jo.... You are up in the world with TV... You might learn to love it --like we do!!!! BUT--I'd be frustrated with almost no internet service. Hope we can hear from you some though...

    Sounds like you have a nice temporary home to live in while there. The area around you is beautiful...

    George and I drive on those old dirt and gravel roads when we are searching for waterfalls WAY BACK in the mountains...

    Have a great day.

  5. Oh, Jo, what a lot of excitement for you. Mountains and hairpin bends! Sounds like British Columbia, where I come from.
    (I think there were protests somewhere in Canada, no actual riots, so don't worry, but thanks for asking.)
    Wonderful that the company eased you into your new situation by having you spoiled at the guest house. I can just imagine you trying to find reasons why you didn't need groceries. LOL
    Looking for new news as it happens (when you can get online, maybe at the mine office).
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  6. makes my weekend look like a bore feast

  7. Such an exciting weekend for you two. Maybe your grandchildren would like the cards, or at least get ideas to make their own. I love your equator signs. I would have wanted to stop and stand in both hemispheres. Kind of nice to be spoiled and work into your new adventure slowly. Bummer about the internet, glad you can use the office connection. I sure look forward to seeing more of your new neighborhood.

  8. Am reading your posts backwards Jo. So glad to hear you're settling in nicely. I know what you mean about the need to exercise patience with the slow internet connection. That was me on my first several trips to Kenya but now in general they have much faster connection in larger centres than they did a few years ago. I'm glad you made it through the bumpy roads. I know they can be quite jarring. You'll eventually get used to them ;-)

  9. I had to catch up on your blog and read your adventures so far ! How intereting to live in such a country. I only know the tourist's comments and like in all touristic countries a tourist is meant to be cheated, it's to him to pay attention. I know that very well from Egypt. It has to be taken with humour. The landscape looks typical.
    and I just thought about friends who were in Kenya and talked about excellent routes, lol !


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