We stuck to the plan we made last night, Pete and Mo heading off after breakfast with a packed lunch in search of the wildlife, I stayed with Alan, just to be on hand if he needed some company, get a chance to get my blog up to date, take some photos of the wonderful location and take time out to reflect on some of the things I have seen so far, embrace the moments and ensure they are firmly lodged in my memory bank for those days in the future when I need to recall them and have them whisk me away back to now.
The room we have here feels as big as our house back in the UK. It is made up of three indoor areas and two verandas (there is a third at the back but we have not even investigated that bit yet). The room we have obviously made the most of is the bedroom, a lovely four poster bed, beautiful rustic decor, white wash uneven walls and the front part a tent which opens up to enlarge our room, via the top veranda to include an African plain. What could be more idyllic, I certainly have not found a better location to have a bedroom anywhere in the world.
A view looking in
And a view looking out
To the right of the bedroom is a bathroom area, at least four times bigger than anything I am used to. The rock the camp has been built on has been incorporated into the features of the room and in the corner of the bathroom we have part of a big boulder or maybe a bit of rock face, a curved wall area forms the surround for a rain shower, twin sinks and a mirror the width of the wall, a bidet and last but not least the loo. We also have an outdoor shower on the edge of the hillside overlooking the African plain.
The outdoor shower
To our left we have an outdoor staircase dividing the bedroom/bathroom area from the living room, another stunning place to be but not one we have really taken advantage of. Today, staying as we are staying home we have decided to rectify this and head off in there for a few hours. I opened up all the flaps, dragged the chairs and a coffee table outside and positioned them so we could have the perfect view to while away the morning. We were up at the main part of the lodge for breakfast and while there I asked for a tray of tea to be brought down somewhere around 10:00 a.m.
The lounge - looking out
And here is the view Alan has for the morning - isn't it just spectacular
Pete and Mo have stopped by to say they are off and saying as Pete grabbed my camera I will share what he took. Now how many of you know my most comfortable position requires my feet to be elevated - behave I am being serious now :) The chairs are big iron ones with squidgy cushions and turned out to be there perfect shape for me to sit diagonally in with my feet resting on one of the arms, I even have a plug point close by to keep the laptop charged while I type away, recording yesterday’s adventure.
So now the scene is set, and I am all comfortable, Alan has everything he needs close to hand I can settle down and immerse myself in one to one with my laptop. Oh so sad I should enjoy this sort of technology so much but it works for me I don't work for it!!!
Tea arrives on time with a big box of home made cookies - gosh I wish the food was not so good here, I seriously cannot find fault with a single meal I have had and believe me I have tried very hard not to let that happen - nothing should be perfect. With blogs all written and ready to be pasted into blogspot, almost all photos ready (just a few more of the main lodge to take when I get up there), so I can work quickly when I can get an Internet signal later time has arrived to enjoy a cuppa and chat with Alan before heading up to the lodge.
While waiting for a staff meeting to finish I spent some time taking pictures of the the main camp lounge and dining room plus some of the views we feast our eyes. I certainly don’t feel like a guest here, far more like a friend visiting friends, except the friends we are visiting don’t live here, we do. My dream home complete with an environment that does not say you are a paying guest but has said to me, OK we charge but feel free to make yourself at home, our place is your place. I honestly feel like part of the furniture here, something that belongs. This is the perfect opportunity to add to what I said to Riccardo about his magnificent ability to create opulence without being tacky, and in fairness, it is not just the building which makes this an idillic place to visit but also Raymond and Chelsea who are running it at the moment. They are a young couple who, as they have become more comfortable with the likes of me and my oddness have embraced me as a friend and made me feel so at peace. They have opened their office to me so I can do my blog, not even quivered as I take the shortest route to where I want to go even if it is not following the ready made paths but instead takes me directly through the kitchen. Nothing is hidden here it is all shared. Thank you Romando and Chealsey, without you wonderful spirits, your acceptance and your laughter my experience here would, although be pretty unbeatable still have lacked the warmth needed to to bring everything together :) Super big hugs to you both, a couple of shining stars.
Photos done and meeting still in progress I went on a mission. I know near the helipad there is a really good sigal, everybody is going there to make or receive mobile calls so I thought - stupid me, I can do that with my laptop. I searched high and low, long and far in this area for the best signal, but there was none. Then I go to wondering why - Oh how dipsy I can be - my laptop needs Wi-Fi - I don’t have a sim card - hahahahahahaha Once that was worked out I just had to be patient and find something else to occupy me, a nice easy task and over to my left a pile of rocks enticed me over. The fairies have still not returned my memory cards to me and although I have replaced most of the now lost photos (Mo is out taking texture photos for me today for my art work), I have most of the animals again, the one I am missing is of the beautiful blue and orange lizard, so common, found everywhere, almost a household pet. My original photo the other day was on a beauty sitting on a large piece of drift wood with the sun on his back and the river behind him. OK - back to today, while doing my lizard impression of sitting on a rock absorbing the heat out pops a head, then the body and the tail of my lovely lizard and for once, when I moved to pick up the little digital camera I had with me he did not scurry off but relaxed and joined me in our blood warming experience.
Then a skink appeared - this is turning into Lizard Central Station :)
Time to check and see if the meeting is over and I can connect to the Wi-Fi
. Brilliant, perfect timing, now lets us hope a speed greater than 3bps is available today, I have three blog post to upload with their pictures and a couple of other things to check up on. Oh bummer - signal yes - data transfer no. Chealsea sets off to re-set the router again and bingo - I have action. Not the fastest and if I was at home my fingers would be tapping the keyboard in frustration, but here, it really does not bother me, it is all part of trying to slow down, stop and listen and anyway when I was last here the telephones barely worked with the standard wire system (even then the copper was always being stolen!!)
Off outside for a quick break and look was is on the rock behind me :) - a Rock Hyrax
Blog uploaded, photos in place and lovely to know I am up to date. I need to apologise here folks, I am using TextEdit to write the blog a more convenient times (like 4 a.m. in bed with a keyboard that is not back lit), my spelling is bad enough at the best of times, a joke really and if I didn’t laugh at myself and have you laugh along too at the way my words sometime turn out it might be classed as rather sad :) :) :) TextEdit is causing me so much grief, my fingers are typing pretty fast and lots of mistakes but TextEdit is very quickly changing the errors to something totally random and I am not seeing them happen. I will do my best, when I have a bit of time and a steady connection to go back and sort the odd reading experience you are having. In the meantime, I apologies but that is the way it is for now, it is going to take me too long to do this blog, with correct grammar and spelling so a compromise is needed - thanks for understanding (yes I can hear all the folks who know me who are reading this telling me to stop apologising, the spelling and grammar are not important in the least).
Lunch time - more beautiful food. Now here we have, as I said before, opulence without the usual tack that accompanies it, and when it comes to food it tastes like wonderful home cooking, not lots of fancy runny sauces which I always think are there to hide the flavour of poor quality meat, actually I think the same of people who wear lots of makeup, the do so to hide the real them from the world (not saying they are poor quality meat that is far to harsh and not true but that they need a mask to hide behind as they lack so much self confidence they are afraid of being hurt - this is something I really don’t understand - why people admire ‘pretty’ people so much, why it is a well known fact that ‘pretty’ people climb the ladder of success far quicker than regular confident people, why regular people like models, actors, actresses, politicians, media folks etc. go so far as not just piling on makeup to hide behind but then to have plastic surgery etc. in order to conform to ‘pretty’. I have to admit I have not bought a newspaper for over 30 years, have not bought any form of fashion magazine in my life that I can think of (if I do buy a magazine it is a craft one or Readers Digest or a Suduko Puzzle book) and when I occasionally pick one up to browse throw to pass time and it happens to be lying around I often put it down with a heavy heart and see only the shallow, plastic world we live in. One thing I am so proud of myself - I stopped buying newspapers and magazines before Princess Diana died so I know I was NOT part of the problem with the paparazzo that messed up her private life so disgustingly. Now think about it, this I don’t have an answer for with regard to human nature. The paparazzo got the blame for taking the photos that the newspapers paid big money for they YOU wanted to see which you then said it was dreadful what the paparazzo did. Hang on a minute - without the end product you bought (the magazine or newspaper etc) there would be no need for the source (the paparazzo)!!! - it is all about supply and demand. I also don’t understand why anybody wants to see photos of somebody else, know what parties they go to etc, is it because it gives them a sense of success, so they know movie star what’s her name went to dinner at such and such a place with so and so, and now they have read it, seen the picture, they believe they are part of it. I am so happy with my own life I have no need to live any part of it through somebody else - that is so sad in my eyes, so shallow and so plastic. No wonder I don’t trust the human race!!
OK - I really should stop going off on a tangent with my thoughts and boring you silly :) to think all that stemmed from lunch and the wonderful cooking - so sorry hahahahaha. Alan and I stayed in the main part of the lodge most all afternoon drinking tea and just soaking up the sights and sounds around us, so relaxing and throughly enjoyable.
Time for me to head off back to our new home and drop off the laptop then head back to be sociable
Back now and enjoying the sunset, Pete has decided to take a group photo, no idea what that turned out like be Alan got a good one of him setting his timer.
Now tonight we have a special dinner planned. Raymond and Chelsea have listened to our stories, our then and now experiences etc. and have decided to have an dinner of the local foods we sometimes ate. Ugali, a grain which is mixed with water to make either thick cake eaten with stew or thin like porridge. Tonight we have the think type instead of potatoes. To go with that half a sheep has been purchased to make the stew and some mutton chops, there is also kachumbari made of chilli, onions and tomato and the cooked vegetable Sukuma Weki (kale). We often had Sukuma Wiki and stew when the kids were young, they loved it and this would bring back memories. Now I need to be clear here, the meal sounds normal, the type of meal eaten by local and in one sense it is but in another it is not. If I was eating this as my staple diet it would be Ugali and a very runny stew with maybe one of two bits of meat in it to share with the family. I am about to show you my plate of the same food but cooked in a way fit for kings and far to expensive for normal every day life!!!
As we will be eating with our hands the first thing done is to wash, hot water trickled over the hands.
My plate before I started eating
My plate once I had finished - yes I love this, so tasty and no cutlery needed :)
Our bellies are fit to burst and we had had desert cancelled, a good plan. One thing I will mention is that during the meal there were several instances of absolute silence, I think that has to be the best compliment to the chef, don’t you?
Tea in the lounge area, sharing old stories for a while then off back to our room to pack. We leave this beautiful place for another beautiful place in the Masai Mara, a tented camp which you will find out about when I get there. One last photo before we go, while sitting in the chairs chatting before dinner the sun went to bed for the night and in her finest glory - a sunset at last :)