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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to Africa

We had an easy flight Nairobi on our new favorite airline, Turkish Airlines, which made us think "this must be how flying used to be." Even in economy class, every flight you take (we took 3) you are served a surprisingly good meal. It doesn't matter if the flight is only an hour long you still get fed and served good drinks by a hospitable good looking looking person. Weird, eh?

It was late when we landed but our trusty safari guide, Dickson, was there to pick us up at 2:00am and shuttle us back to our hotel. We got settled in, split a beer, and fell into bed completely exhausted. I got up around 9:45am in order to catch breakfast and was instantly taken by the feeling that I am someplace different. All of my senses were digesting new people, different accents, bizarre fruits, and really good coffee?! I love that feeling and had a big grin on my face as I sat enjoying my breakfast.

We had to meet our travel coordinator mid-day to finalize the details of our trip. She is a good friend of one of Catherine's best friends and had been very helpful in getting our tour of Kenya organized. After finalizing logistics, she suggested we have lunch at Ranger's and enjoy the view of Nairobi National Park. A safari walk was available right next to the restaurant so it sounded like a good way to spend our free afternoon.

I'm not sure what I expected in terms of the wildlife in Kenya's national parks but I will readily admit I wasn't prepared for lunch that day. When we sat down to our table everything appeared normal--nice patio with a view of the forest. Just after we had gotten drinks Catherine announced there was a monkey sitting down at the end of the patio. Sure enough, a large male baboon was just hanging out and heading towards the tables of people in search for a treat of his own. Then from out of nowhere a guy dressed in traditional tribal garb and armed with a colorfully decorated club came running out and chased the baboon away--cool. All of a sudden I looked back out to the forest and noticed at least a dozen other baboons. Before I knew it I heard a thundering clammer overhead as a monkey came running across the patio roof. The patio defender quickly pursued the monkey past our table and managed to ensure it leapt back into the trees instead of the patio. I had to know if this guys full job was beating down the monkeys all day and stopped him when he walked back our direction. Sure enough, that is exactly what he was doing! He was very nice and insisted that I make his picture with Catherine--mind you, lunch hasn't even arrived. Then it was large long beaked birds appearing across a puddle in the forest. As we finished the last bites of our meal the cherry on top came nibbling out of the bushes--wild giraffe, sure we see those everyday at lunch!


  1. I remember learning about the people whose full time job it is to beat back the baboon gangs! Can't remember if it was in my primate medicine class or a talk on international medicine.

  2. I am sure it's fun seeing all of those monkeys. I bet they can be a pain too. :-)