Wednesday, February 28, 2007

i want a hippopotamus for christmas

i got out of the big stinky city this past weekend and headed to lake naivasha (where lots of the fresh flowers sold in europe are grown) for some hiking, mountain biking, and camping. after the 1 1/2 hour matatu ride out there and the set up of the campsite (and by set-up i mean having someone move a tent for us and me throwing in my sleeping bag to prepare for its maidan voyage), my friend and i rented mountain bikes and headed towards hell's gate national park. my bike was a bit like frankenstein, with mismatched pedals, different gear changer things, and bits of bikes lost since passed. starting a bike ride in the heat of the high noon sun might not have been the best idea but we had to bust a move to make it back before dark.

and what did i learn on this afternoon of mountain biking through a national park and hiking through a gorge?

that cycling through sand is tough. that the gears on my bike actually did change (this was learned AFTER going through all the sand). that when you don't think you need a guide to prevent you from getting lost in a gorge, sometimes you do. that being outside and getting sweaty makes me so happy. and that i hate biking uphill after hiking through gorges.

we made it back to our campsite in time for me to eat a cheeseburger (so that takes care of my red meat intake for another few months), have a cold beer, and some amaretto cheesecake (no chocolate fudge cake for this observer of lent) before heading to bed before 10:00pm. i had a great sleep and was only woken up to the sounds of the hippos coming on to the shore of the lake. they sound sort of like motor boats.

since i had still had only heard and not seen a hippo, we hired a boat for a half hour the following morning to take us out on to the lake so i could see a hippo. we found a family of about 18 of them and they were so cute with their little twitchy ears. but our boat captain made sure we stayed far enough away since hippos (along with buffalo) are as dangerous, if not moreso, than lions. we also saw waterbuck, pelicans, and a bunch of other birds that thankfully did not fly anywhere near my head.

i made it back to town by midday and my flatmate and i took another matatu (my 4th and 5th of the day) to an area not far from my house called kangemi where i spent less than $10 for a fridge full of fresh produce. we had a lot of fun asking all the vendors what to do with the vegetables and normally i don't like more attention being drawn to me because i am a mzungu but this time, we just laughed along with the other people at the market when we asked what to do with half the stuff we were purchasing. my flatmate is an agricultural guru and we both were happy to support local producers and try local vegetables.


Sara said...

sounds like fun. i cant wait to partake in the fresh produce in which my current restaurant food diet is lacking.

Joy said...

In case no one has said this before, you should be a travelling photo journalist in your spare time. The pictures you take are captivating, and fun.