The Gates of Hell are open night and day; smooth the descent, and easy is the way: but, to return, and view the cheerful skies; in this, the task and mighty labor lies.” -Virgil
I owe you a real post. Truly, I do. My Kiva Fellowship isn’t all borrowers, zebras and twiga (Swahili for giraffe–I really like this word) and I need to tell you about that stuff too. But you see, I’ve got these things to do called “work” and “life” and that’s where I get all my material for the blog posts. So, my scale is tipping towards work/life and away from blogs at this point, but not to worry, I’ll be back to real posts soon.
In the meantime, I figure you’ll probably enjoy these photos from our Sunday adventure to Hell’s Gate National Park just outside Nairobi. Now, before you start thinking I was going to visit the devil (on a Sunday morning at that!) take a look at these photos. I cannot think of a better way to bask in the glory of the Lord than to spend a day in his creation.
A few more things that might be amusing to you:
1)We left our apartments about 7am to head to downtown Nairobi and we were off before 8am on a luxury matatu to Naivasha town. You may or may not ever need to know that if you are on a matatu, even a luxury matatu, you must tell the driver where you are getting off. The entire van let out a collective groan when I shouted. “Hey, Bwana, excuse me! We needed to get off in Naivasha town” when were about 20 minutes on the other side of Naivasha. On the bonus side, we saw herds of zebra, twiga and various deer-like critters on our detour and were more than elated when we finally finished our “1.5 hour” journey at 11am.
2)You may or may not ever need to know that when going to Hell’s Gate, bringing a bike into the park costs about 100 shillings ($1.10 or so). You can rent bikes inside or outside the park for 500 shillings (about $5.50). Our three bikes from inside the park had 3 out of 6 working brakes (two working brakes were on the same bike-do the math), 15% working gear shifters, and 33% functional bike saddles. If you are keeping track, we were in a pretty bad state, especially after about 10 miles of biking. We recommend renting outside, if you hadn’t picked up on that.
3)You should always bring your Swiss Army knife or Leatherman with you into the bush. It will come in handy when the bottom gizmo of the rear derailleur comes unscrewed. You will not need it for the twiga and zebra as they will promptly run away when you are within a few meters.
4)If you notice people driving into the park in a Land Rover and you subsequently get lost with the same people who drove in the Land Rover, you should casually mention that you and your friends are a bit worried about getting home on the matatu, seeing as how it will be dark and all back in Nairobi. This is not a lie, and is not harmful in the least. When said people offer you a ride, you should show your incredulity at their kindness and then very quickly tell them you’ll buy the first round, thanks so much for their generosity. In addition, at least one of you should ride like you really are at the gates of Hell to ensure they do not leave the park without you.
5)Bring your masai shuka with you as you never know when a photo-op with a true masai may arise. (This guy thought we were hilarious! He had the best laugh I’ve ever heard. I told him my Masai name, “Nazerian”, which is supposed to mean peace and was given to me by another masai, and he double over. I’m his “mybesti”. We have no idea what that means. I prefer to think it means “best friend”. I’m just going to go with that. I hope he doesn’t know the “White Masai” and have me confused with her.)