Jambo!!-as they say in Swahili, meaning,"hello!" I'M IN AFRICA!!! I still can't believe this... Okay, so when I sat down to type my very first blog entry from the Nairobi Serena Hotel in Kenya, I thought about the many ways in which I could approach this. I was thinking originally that I would simply document my day each night. Then I thought to myself, "how boring would that be?" So I decided that I'd spice it up a bit.... Here's my attempt-
After literally 30 hours of travel (with an 11 hour layover in London that consisted mostly of sleeping), I can now officially say that, IM IN AFRICA!!!- as if I haven't said that enough. Our Virgin Atlantic plane touched down in the Nairobi international airport at approximately 8:34 this morning- remember this is African time, not USA time, we are 8 hours ahead of you! We retrieved our bags from the baggage hall, as they say in Africa, and met our driver for the week, John (I forget his last name), and we also met Felix Koskei, the mastermind behind our African adventure! (Did I mention that I'm also Facebook friends with him?)
We were driven from the outskirts of town to the heart of Nairobi, where our hotel is. When we arrived, we changed some money (the Kenyan currency is shillings, there are about 90 shillings to the US dollar), went to our rooms and took a nice, long, 4 hour nap. At 3:30, John came and got us and took us to the Giraffe Centre, where about 8 giraffes are held in captivity by the Nairobi Wildlife Conservation Foundation. When we arrived, we payed our small fee of 2,500 shillings and walked past the security guard who looked at us rather suspiciously.
And then, there it was. Quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever seen/done. I was standing 5 feet away from a 17 year old female giraffe named Laura. Of course, from the ground, it looked like she was 200 feet tall, but don't worry, she was only about 18 feet tall. The nice men running the Giraffe Centre led us up to the top of what seemed like a guard tower, you know- shaped like a cylinder, has a deck running around the whole thing, oh, and just enough room for Laura, my new found friend, to stick her head in and lick my hand in search of the magic pellets. To humans, a pellet made with wheat flour, molasses, some vitamins and sugar probably doesn't sound too appetizing, but to a giraffe, well, they may as well have struck gold! Then, a guy came up behind me, placed a handful of the magic pellets in my hand and showed me how to feed Laura. I was to show her that I had a pellet in my hand, then she'd stick her head toward mine, I'd get to pet her for a good 5 seconds and then have to give her the delicious treat. I repeated this process a good fifty times.
After about 20 mins of feeding Laura and her warthog pal, we went on a nature trail that was part of the 100 acres the Giraffe Centre owns. We got to see some cool plants, a very pretty stream and then, George mentioned the black pellets on the ground. Our guide laughed and said, "with giraffes, we like to say pellets in, pellets out!" I think you can come to your own conclusion on that one.
Well, day one here in Africa is quickly coming to a close. I hope that I did an okay job of spicing up your average blog. Tomorrow, it's off to the Serena Mountain Lodge where, as I've been told, we don't go to the animals, they come to us! I'll be interested to find out what that means! More from there tomorrow!!