Day 6 – August 3
Another beautiful morning. I had a great deal of trouble sleeping due to being well over a mile in elevation. One of these nights I need to get a full night of sleep. After breakfast we head out for a Proper Walk tune up of 6 or 7 miles. The surrounding area is over grazed, too many people and too many cattle and goats. We do get to see some stunning scenery with amazing candelabra trees. Not far beyond the trees is a Masai elementary school. Phil shows the kids a laser pointer he uses for his star gazing and Tommy shows them their image on the video camera display. We certainly are an entertaining group for the folks we encounter and for these school children.
We complete the walk by crossing a foot bridge over the Nanyuki River made up of 4 or 5 logs laid across the river, about 15 feet above the water. It was a rush to cross as some of the logs bowed as you walked on them.
We get cleaned up and head into Nanyuki for some shopping and supplies. It’s a major stopping point for tourists heading to the northern frontier. Some are in these huge bus/lorry vehicles where the passengers sit up rather high. It is said that they are very top heavy and have had a number of major accidents with roll-overs. It is always entertaining to watch the mazungus (white folks) we run into. Many are pink like prawns from over exposure to the sun, many ignore us as they want to pretend they are the only white people who have ever been this far north, a few are friendly and chat us up, and some dress so weird you feel embarrassed for them.
We head to the bank to cash travelers checks or exchange dollars. It has been hard to get travelers checks cashed and unless you know someone with an account, you can’t even exchange dollars. Many banks won’t let you use an ATM card either. It can be really tough to get a shilling which is weird for a country that depends on tourist money. It’s blamed on Nigerians as they have made bogus travelers checks, counterfeited 1996 $100 bills, and through identity theft have stolen bank account and credit card numbers. Fortunately, I have dollars and Michael’s name is on the Baraka account.
Flush with shillings, I go to the tourist area and buy 6 necklaces for the walkers as a gift. They need to go with the Proper Walk t-shirts Tommy had made and I find some that are a black and white motif; these should work perfectly. At dinner I make an announcement that as a resident of San Francisco I have learned the importance of properly accessorizing and show the walkers the official Proper Walk necklace. I went around the room and gave a short speech noting something about each person then handed them their necklace. Michael for being the Proper Walk inspiration for getting us all there and his great safari director skills, Phil for making babies cry and his joy at just being in Kenya, Steve for no whining even though he has had a persistent cold and his luggage was lost, Cathy for her great fundraising, and for Tommy; I said he had the cutest hiking outfits and each morning I went to my clothes and said WWTW (What Would Tommy Wear). So far, that has been the line of the walk. We’ll see if anyone tops it.
We watch “The Boys of Baraka” at Peter’s residence. It was even more emotional to watch that movie knowing what has happened to the school. Michael also shared some updates on the kids. Very sad to think of what the program was accomplishing; now the school is sitting idle. What a shame. We retire early as some of us are still feeling the effects of jet lag.