After spending 3 boring and frustrating weeks in Nairobi, I finally got the chance to see other part of Kenya. I have been looking forward to visiting the safari here since the first day I arrived in Kenya. I did lots of research on Internet before I choose a tour agent.
All the tours I saw online were pretty pricey, most of the tours are over 200USD /day. I am a budget traveler, I kept searching. I finally found one under the general prices. TERMINAL TOURS KENYA was what I found. 450USD for a four-day tour, MASAI MARA/ NAKURU.
DAY 1: NAIROBI/MASAI MARA:
The car came and picked me up at 9:00am, at my door. I met the stuff who had been talking to me – Nelson and paid him 450USD. Remember they do not accept some certain dollar bills before 2000. Then off we go.
There were 4 persons in the group. Me, Gemma from Australia, a couple from Russia. I don’t recall their names unfortunately. We reached our first stop – the Great Rift Valley viewpoint.
I was very glad that I met Gemma on the trip. I had been so lonely for the first three weeks in Nairobi. Gemma was the first girl friend that I made in Nairobi whom I could really talk to. She totally made my trip more interesting.
After this stop, we kept going for another 5 or 6 hours to Masai Mara National Park. Before we reached Masai Mara, we had a little stop at a town named Narok. It was a very small town, kinda like my grandpa’s hood in China, also kinda like some towns in South East Asian countries. We had lunch here, the food was typical African food. I did not expect too much so it was not bad.
The road trip was going fine, even though we had to stuck in a van for more than 5 hours. I actually kinda enjoyed it.Until we got closer to the national park, the road got so bumpy, let’s just consider that I was on a massage machine, a rough one.
Finally we got to our campsite. Our driver/guide -Sam helped us to check in in Rhino Camp. As this is a budget tour, I totally expected nothing much from it. The accommodation was actually pretty good. It was really like a tent those kinda camp. It was more like a permanent camp with wall frame, very solid. I guess it was really busy season at all. Me and Gemma were in a 4 beds room, but only two of us were using the room. We had a private bathroom with hot water running in the evening and morning.
This was my bed.
After we checked in, we went on a game drive. It was getting dark and a little bit rainy. I still saw some animals. The whole drive smelled like dead body, actually there were lots of dead animal bodies. I heard from the locals here, it was very rainy and lots of animals died because of the rain. Now their bodies were rotting.
I was kinda disappointed when it was raining. I was afraid that I wouldn’t see much animals because of the rain. However, it was just raining for 30 mins.
It is said that sunset in Masai Mara is one of the 20 most beautiful sunsets in the world. I was so lucky to be here. After this 2 hour game drive, we headed back to our camp. It was just so quiet at the camp. Our Russian buddies brought a bottle of whiskey with them. We drank, we talked, we enjoyed the nature.
It’s time to hit the sack. We’ll look for lions, cheetahs tomorrow. x
On the flight:
It takes 11 hours 15 minutes from Guangzhou, China to Nairobi, Kenya. Luckily my flight was a direct and overnight flight. I am so used to being on a long distance flight, I would def have no problem sleeping on the plane, even that was economy class.
I looked around in the cabin, there were only three Chinese people around me, and we were all surrounded by Africans. I had never been with so many Africans before. How interesting! Ok, after meals were serviced, the cabin was dimly lighted, it was time to sleep. I got my earplugs and eye-mask ready. Normally I do not hear much after I put on my earplugs, but I heard people talking and laughing out loud constantly. It was so noisy and annoying that I could not sleep. I looked up, there was a big African guy speaking French loudly with his neighbors, as if they were in a bar. They seemed to be getting drunk. I thought they would shut up later. They had been talking and laughing for more than 2 hours. I reckoned most people on that plane were awake because of them. I could not stand it anymore, I looked at the guy and put my finger on my lips softly. That guy got mad immediately, shouting even louder, “What!? I can not talk?…(keep yelling)” I got really scared, I was so afraid this big black dude would come up to me and beat the shit out of me. I put my eye-mask back immediately, pretending I was asleep.
After 40 minutes those drunks finally passed out and the plane became quite and peaceful eventually. And I was asleep the whole time until the plane landed in Nairobi.
The cabin attendants did not seem to do a good job there. They just let those people get drunk and affect other passengers on the flight. Probably this was how they roll in Africa. For the first time I felt so intimidated on a flight 😦 Maybe I should have just stayed out of others’ business. It was not very easy for me, a little Asian girl, travel solo to a rough place. Safety should always comes first.
Getting through the immigration:
I was guided to a counter. It was a male officer sitting in front of me. I gave him my passport. He started asking questions. He asked me so many questions, and the last time like that was when I got through the US immigration in San Francisco.
– “So what is your purpose of this trip in Kenya?”
– “I came here to visit the country and some national parks.”
– “How long are you gonna stay here?”
– “One month.”
– “Where is your return ticket?”
– “I did not print it out, it is Electronic Ticket.”
– “Mmmmm, it is not convincing.”
– “Ok, it is on my phone.” Then I pulled out my phone and show him the e-ticket on the screen.
Few more questions…
– “Were you studying in US?”
– “No, but I visited there few times.” (And the Chinese guy who did not speak much English was released at the next counter.)
“Did you bring anything XXXX to Kenya?” I did not understand what he said with his accent, I thought he was asking if I brought anything illegal to Kenya, so I answered, “NO!”
I guess he had nothing to ask but he still did not let me go, kept flipping through my passport. I had no idea what he was up to. I waited patiently. I did not get it why the other Chinese was let go but not me. I apparently had an excellent travel record on my passport. I had zero intention staying in Kenya for the rest of my life.
Finally this officer made things clear, “Give me a hundred US dollars.”
-“No, I do not have any US dollars.” In fact, I had few hundred with me.
-“How are you gonna travel?”
-“I have my debit and credit cards. I will withdraw money later.”
-“So give me your Chinese money.”
-“No, I do not have.” I was hesitating if I should just give him some changes, but I was staying calm when I answered his questions. 😉
-“Fine, go!” At last I got through the immigration, and I was the last one from the flight.
I heard a lot about this kinda blackmail thing happen in South East Asia, this was the first time happened to me, in Africa. Probably because I spoke too much English while other Chinese did not speak more than 10 words of English, they found me, the one who would understand what they want. However, as long as I have all the documents and visa ready, they have no right to stop me entering the country. Maybe sometimes playing dump is kind of a way to protect myself. 😀
Good luck to myself in Africa! 🙂
After I came back from my 3 months trip in US & Europe, I thought I would not travel anymore this year. However, I had the chance to come to Africa before 2013 ends. I am sure lots of people wonder how I end up being in Kenya. In brief, I am having my working holiday here.
In Oct 2013, I was hired by an Kenyan born Indian businessman as an interpreter at Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, China. I guess I have done an excellent job and being very helpful to him, later on he gave me an offer that I work in Nairobi to help out some Chinese engineers, to be their interpreter. Free tickets, a small amount of salary, free accommodation, an opportunity to see Africa, what do I need more? I work for 15 days and I can decide when to leave, so I make it one month here.
Africa, a continent that I barely know about. Before this trip started, I, as an outsider, was excited and scared. I actually did not really read much about this country as I want to learn about this place with my own perception, not others. I have years of experience of travelling, I am sure I will be fine. I will learn something new, get to know different culture and people. Let the adventure begin!
Golden Birthday is the birthday when you turn the same age as your birthdate. December 23, 2011 was my golden birthday. This was a birthday that I would always remember. It was so different from those I had before. I did not have bunch of friends around, no party at all. All I had was the nature. Breathing extremely cold air, I woke up on the top of Mount. Huangshan, where James Cameron cited as one of his influences in designing the fictional world of Avatar.
For the first time in my life, I saw snowing, although it was not significant.
I felt like I was walking in Alice’s wonderland. The whole scenery was so scared.
I was also very blessed that I had my friend from the US – Josh around. We have been travelling together for almost 10 days, which makes me feel like we have been with each other for a very long time. During the time we spent together, we found each other frustrating sometimes, other than that, we had a pleasant time together.
I really enjoyed his company. He is fun and knowledgeable, always making me laugh. I was kinda used to travelling on my own when I was in the US. I found it very different when I have someone around. Anyway, he did not know Chinese at all, I was in charge of most issues. And unavoidably, I made mistakes sometimes.
When we were going down hill, I took the wrong trail accidentally, which led us to a very remote area. I was so surprised that I found a place in China where I could hardly see a single person. After walking 4KM, we finally saw a van driving by.
I was so amazed that I still can find a place in China without much pollution. I am living in the city, basically if I am luck enough, I would have 4-5 days blue sky in a week. Everything is so polluted in China, looking at the blue sky is a spiritual comfort for me. Quality of life in China is deplorable, for which I feel so sorry for myself and my fellow people.
I constantly think about 2Pac’s lyric “Why am I fighting to live, if I’m just living to fight. ” Getting one step closer to the heaven, I hope that there will be more changes. And thanks for the birthday wishes, I feel so blessed.
Boston is definitely my favorite city in United States. Before I went there, I was hesitating if I should stay in New York City for another few more days or go to Washingtong DC directly. I am so glad that I made it to Boston. Boston is not as busy as New York City, yet it does have its historical attraction. People are so nice that they would show me around the city even we did not know each other before. What a pity that I haven’t had enough time spending in Boston. I hope I will be visiting this lovely city soon again.
I am a couchsurfer. This is my couch in Boston. It is in a basement. Although it is just a air mattress, it is comfy enough make me want to stay in bed for the whole day.
A pathway leads me to the road.
This is the house that I was staying in. You can find historic buildings in Boston easily.
Of course, historic churches can be seen all over the city. This is just an unknown church next to where I stayed.
This nice young gentleman named Harry, he took me to his favorite retaurant – Eastern Standard. I, of course, tried the fresh raw oyster.
Charles River. I really enjoyed taking a walk across the river.
Finally I made it to the United States, I choose NYC as my first stop as the stories about NYC are so overwhelming in China. New York is a cool city but it is not as cool I thought. This metropolitan city gives me the impression that it is so convenient to live in here. There is always something going on in this city, 24 hours, non-stop. Totally I spent 10 days in the Big Apple.
First night in NYC. Before I got the airplane, I was worried that I would not be able to get to the place that I stayed in, because I had never been out of Asia before. Though I can speak English, I wasn’t sure if the local could understand me. I am so grateful that I could stay in a place with such great view in Manhattan, which was so accessable to everything.
A concrete jungle where dreams are made of, Manhattan, NY
Flee Market in Brooklyn. These things ain’t cheap at all.
Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York. This is where Gossip Girls have lunch.
I thought I would be drinking more than I did at home, but it turned out that I only drank a little bit in America.
Lost in translation, Time Square, NY
All the blessing in St John Chruch.
Visiting the nightclubs is a must in NY. This is club Cielo, which is introduced in my Lonely Planet.
Sacred Riverside Chruch
Back to Manhattan
Central Park is one of my favorite spots in NY, and the Lake is one of my favorite spots in Central Park.
Did you find your lucky number?
Hydrangea in Columbia University