A rundown of my trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro:
TODAY WE LEAVE FOR AMBROSELI PARK!!!! It is 25 kilometers from Mt.Kilimanjaro and the park has Elephants and Hippos… the two animals we weren’t able to see our first week in Nakuru. Our professors gave us the day off since every student but two were either going to Ambroseli (by Kilimanjaro) or to Mombasa (on the Indian Ocean; also where my internship is).
Wellllllll the van I was in ended up being the “loud bus.” We sang and talked the whole way there with a few pit stops. First pit stop of course being the super market to grab food. When we were getting back into the van, our driver looks at me and says,
] “YOU…. you must be the captain… the LEADER!”
[ "ehhhh.... why do you say that?"
] “Because!… You are the TALLEST! and the STRONGEST!” (Do you just want to throw in there that I’m white too? I mean hey buddy… I don’t want to stop you there from the obvious or anything)
[ "Oh.... uhh no, just tall parents I suppose! But thanks?"
So as we were all getting on the van, he shouts out to me and says,
] “WATCH YOUR HEAD!!!!! For you’re the TALLEST!” (I slightly groan seeing that this was my claim to fame here… well that and apparently being told I hail from Spain…) And in the process of doing so I whack my head getting in:
1. I had that coming
2. Listen to the OBVIOUS
3. Don’t roll your eyes at someone who is trying to be funny
4. Look in the mirror afterwords because I had black crap imprinted on my forehead for a good couple of hours
Our second pit stop was literally in the middle of nowhere with huts on the side of the road. I guess they had to pick up coal for the grills. While we stopped I got out of the car. The driver points out that you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro….ummm where? All I see is a bright white cloud in the middle of the blue sky. Oh wait-no… that’s the snow on the peak of the mountain. Holy Cow! So while I was standing there feeling like a GENIUS, I feel these little hands on my pants… I turn and find a few Kenyan children looking up at me shyly, wearing clothes that had nothing but dirt and holes in them (you would think I would have gotten used to this by now.) So I smile and say Hi and it was like SERIOUSLY as soon as I spoke you would have thought I was holding a gun or something because the kids got SO frightened that a white person talked to them that they ran away with in a matter of SECONDS! And for some reason, when we took out our cameras, rather than the rest of the Kenyan kids we met, these ones were terrified!
We FINALLY arrive at Ambroseli park and divided up into our cabins. I was rooming with my two best friends on the trip which made for an even MORE enjoyable time. When we got to the cabin we were told we only had electricity from 6pm-11pm (and that went for hot water too). The girls were SO excited that we had hot water, because for the majority of them, they haven’t taken a hot shower since they left the states… yeah. (Like I said before, I’m considered lucky to have hot running water in my home-stay)
Before we left to go on our safari ride we stepped out onto the back patio. I think we all just stood there in awe for a couple of minutes as we were faced with the view of Mt.Kilimanjaro as SOON as you stepped out the back door… (so every morning we would wake up and greet the mountain as such “HEY there Killer” and for the Minnesotans it was of course “OOOOoohhhhh HEY-der! It’s Kiliman-JAR-OOOoo”… we feel obligated to make fun of the upper midwestern accent since our program is through the University of Minnesota.
We went on the most amazing safari ride YET! As SOON as we exited the entrance of our cabin grounds, there was 3 full grown elephants within 10 yards of our van. I could have just stared at them FOREVER! Forget the zoo… you haven’t seen anything until you see these most UNBELIEVABLE animals in the natural habitat. It seriously made me want to punch the people who kill Elephants for ivory straight in the face.
But yeah there is over 900 elephants in this national park, and we must have seen at least half of them. We also saw the hippos fighting in the water and sun bathing. Also the sunset was unbelievable, creating the most beautiful hues of color against the mountain. The shadows and outlines of elephants playing at twilight and the twinkling of stars peeking through… all just painted across the sky in Africa… WOW. Another amazing thing is once the sun starts to set, it goes down FAST! Within minutes you can actually see the sun sink behind the mountains. It was crazy beautiful. On our ride back to our cabins we stopped at the entrance of the park and were greeted by some Masai People (1 of 42 tribes in Kenya) They were dressed in their tribal clothes, and trying to sell us jewelry and other things made in their village… Read the rest of this entry ?