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-   -   Mr. Carry-on and Family Go on Safari: A Porini Migration Adventure (

SB_Travlr Aug 17th, 2010 02:27 PM

Hi sandi
Too right -- I've read about the flies, and also expect to encounter sandflies in NZ fjords. I went and bought a safari type hat with a wide brim, and found fly nets at LLBean. I guess they are just as useful here in blackfly season as they are in the Outback!

Like serpents in Eden, flies and their biting brethren seem to haunt lots of lovely places. Take those midges in the Scottish Highlands (please). I remember visiting Inverewe Gardens and seeing the gardeners dressed head to toe in mesh. :-(

I have fond memories of a Monty Python sketch where everyone was named Bruce, and they wore those hats with corks dangling. At the time, I had no idea what those were for...

SB_Travlr Aug 17th, 2010 02:28 PM

(With apologies to Ms CarryOn for thread hijacking!)

crosscheck Aug 17th, 2010 03:39 PM

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments.

No worries about hijacking - Gives me more time to prepare my next post....Australia and NZ for 8 weeks, I'm envious. You don't really need to pack very much because you can find everything you need there, especially if you like Uggs.

We were lucky to visit Uluru in the winter, so no flies. But, sadly, we spent our whole time there in the emergency room at the clinic (not insect related)…but that’s another story. So no cork hats for us. Hoping you'll share your photos.

Fortunately, unlike on our Asian trip, my husband did not decide to bring home an African toilet as a souvenir.

We, too, saw tourists in safari outfits on our BA flight from Heathrow. It was if everyone was going to a giant costume party.

Silly me, I should have realized tsetses had x-ray vision. Can they also see through duct tape?

Thanks - I feel honored to get feedback from you and the other celebs on this board.

ditto - Your photos and trip reports contributed to my dream of visiting Africa. As a veteran, the silliness must drive you nuts. I'm still not certain why our pre-trip anxiety level was higher than normal for this journey. Maybe everyone who visits Africa is secretly worried about being trampled by elephants or bitten by spiders (or ending up with a lousy guide). So agonizing about what to pack helps diffuse those concerns.

Seriously, my best packing advice is to prepare as you would for a normal trip, but include 1-2 understated khaki outfits. I also suggest you borrow binoculars. Then, with the money you save, you can purchase a Kindle, which was my real secret to packing light.


It is now time to describe the non-packing-related events of the trip. I will soon post my next installment, which will examine the pros and cons of exchanging saliva with a giraffe.

moremiles Aug 17th, 2010 03:54 PM

You had a medical emergency in Australia too? Getting sick or injured in Africa would've been quite a different story than the one you experienced in Bangkok-I know, my H had a serious illness in Botswana in a remote tented camp.

Looking forward to the saliva segment!

crosscheck Aug 17th, 2010 04:56 PM

OMG - what happened?

The Australian event was a lot worse than the flesh-eating ear infection in Bangkok. After a very unpleasant drive from Alice Springs to Uluru, we went directly to the ER/clinic. The docs there thought my younger son had appendicitis. They were all ready to summon the Flying Doctors to airlift him back to Alice Springs, but finally determined that he had a bacterial infection from water he swallowed at a waterfall at Litchfield NP. The medical care was excellent, and I'm really glad we weren't in Botswana.

Sorry, everyone...I promise to get back to the trip report.

atravelynn Aug 17th, 2010 07:54 PM

We're all celebs here. At least in our own minds.

Looking forward to more report and more chuckles!

ccipups Aug 18th, 2010 09:16 AM

Mrs. C,

So glad you've posted your entertaining trip report! Though DP often refers to me as the "packing nazi", I prefer the term "carry-on enthusiast". I was delighted to direct her to your posts about Mr. C's bag sizer adventures.

I seem to recall a news headline "Reticulated Pythons: The Scourge of Florida's Golf Courses". I'd dismissed it at the time.

Waiting for the saliva exchange installment.

cynstalker Aug 18th, 2010 09:54 AM

"I would have to hide it at the bottom of my duffel in case the tses tses noticed it through the screen in my tent"

Ok, I'm hooked. I want more. I'm especially interested to hear how your boys liked the trip, as next year I'll be taking my nephews (who will be nearly 15/16)to Botswana.

Sb_Travlr/Sandi - I was watching the news one evening in OZ, and saw the guy being interviewed swallow a fly. That was funny too.

crosscheck Aug 18th, 2010 11:18 AM

ccipups, Mr C will enjoy your euphemism. My spies tell me he's reading this report.

cyn, How lucky your nephews are! They're at the perfect ages to have a blast...and have a life-changing vacation. My kids have been sharing their photos with their somewhat-jaded friends and everyone is blown away.

crosscheck Aug 18th, 2010 11:42 AM

Everything went smoothly, luggage-wise and otherwise: An upgrade to first on the LA - Boston leg for Mr. C and me. Our one economy segment was a shortish transatlantic segment (miraculously acquired with 30k miles RT each at the last minute) Then, after a successful terminal transfer at Heathrow, we ran into close friends in the BA lounge – they were returning from the World Cup. We had a loud hugfest because we hadn't shared itineraries and didn’t expect to see each other. Mr. C bragged about our carry-on situation and they were duly impressed. Great company, great noodles at Wagamama - The vacation had begun.

We loved our experience in BA Club World so much that the boys were afraid they wouldn’t enjoy the rest of the holiday as much as the flight. The rear-facing/front-facing seat configuration is perfect for a family of four, but I don’t think I’d like it as much if we had been traveling as a couple – The set up obliges you to converse with tipsy, overly chatty people across the aisle, but you need to talk to your partner through a partition.

After a journey of a mere 28 hours, we landed in Nairobi, not nearly as exhausted as expected. Mr. C and the boys couldn’t believe that I knew a shortcut down a secret hallway to a hidden, uncrowded immigration area. (Thanks, Fodorites, for the recognizance report!) It took about seven minutes to clear customs and immigration because we already had our visas, and, of course, our carry-on luggage. Two Gamewatchers representatives were there to meet us, and soon we were on the road.

We arrived after 10 pm, but the staff was graciously waiting up for us, ready to serve us dinner. This is the ideal place to stay – not too pricey, excellent location near the giraffe center in Karen, cozy patios and rooms with chess sets, lush gardens and inviting local décor. You immediately feel like you’re in Africa. In fact I’d like to go back and stay for a while, maybe to write a more upbeat book than Paul Theroux’s disturbing and provocative “Dark Star Safari”, which I had read on the plane.

We had some curry and some delicious spicy soup (the first of many great soups on the trip) and were in heaven when we saw our cottage, The Fadhili house. It’s a separate structure with a basic-looking exterior, but it's full of masks, statues, sculptures, day beds with fabulous throw pillows, beaded mirrors and other artifacts, ranging from colorful kitsch to serious art. It has two full bathrooms and bedrooms with romantic mosquito nets, a large great room with a full kitchen, plus a private yard and a relaxing porch swing. Can’t recommend it highly enough for families…has to be one of the coolest set-ups in Nairobi.

We basically did everything on the standard Nairobi 101 list. But the list of must-sees sounds pretty wacky compared to standard vacation activities like snorkeling or visiting museums. The boys thought I was high on Malarone when I laid out the day’s schedule - feeding giraffes, watching people paint beads, meeting their new four-legged foster siblings and finally, dining on grilled crocodile.

Our first stop was the Giraffe Center, a short walk from the Macushla House…unless you get lost like we did, then it’s a longish walk. We were introduced to Daisy, the most charismatic and attractive of all the giraffes, and were each given a handful of pellets to feed her. After several nibbles, our guide demonstrated an advanced feeding technique: he put a pellet between his lips, and Daisy grabbed it with her tongue.

Maybe it was jet lag – or just Daisy’s extraordinary charm -- but before I knew it, her 21” blue-black tongue was in my mouth and we were sharing saliva.

Yes, I had succumbed to Daisy’s advances without thinking about the thousands of others she must have French kissed before me. As soon as I recovered from the unexpected caress, I considered rinsing my mouth out with Purell. But I decided to first get the guide’s expert opinion. I told him that Daisy had been a bit fast with me, and that I was afraid she might have deposited some contaminated drool in my mouth.

He assured me that giraffe saliva actually has antibacterial qualities – and it can even be used as a sunscreen. But for those of you who are inclined to worry about viruses, I would recommend that you stick to hand feeding Daisy.

What was I thinking? If you’re traveling with guys, I would recommend giving Kazuri Beads and the Utamaduni Craft Center a pass. But the Elephant Orphanage is worth the trip, even though the ellie and rhino orphans we adopted were ingrates and paid little attention to us. (After all we had done for them, they could care less about our visit and were only interested in drinking formula from a bottle.) We were also a little concerned about their trainers, who live in the hay-filled enclosures 24/7 with the orphans. Should we consider fostering them as well?

This place is truly disgusting, but the guys loved it. They devoured ox balls, ox hearts, camel hump, ostrich patties, and their fave, crocodile kabob, which they said tasted just like chicken. I was so grossed out that I couldn’t even eat the beef or the lamb (but I did enjoy the chicken, which tasted just like crocodile). If I am forced to return, I will choose the vegetarian option.


crosscheck Aug 18th, 2010 11:56 AM

embarrassing spelling corrections: reconnaissance, ele, Imodium

janev Aug 18th, 2010 01:37 PM

Such a great report that no one notices the spelling I'm sure.

I love your writing and have read your asia trip report with siem reap - we are off there in October. Just to mention, we also brought back a toilet seat, ours was from Seoul, and I even claimed back the VAT on it at the airport! In case your DH is surreptitiously reading this report it is good for him to know that we were similarly taken by these all singing (literally with music for modesty) seats, and now have two in our house (only one is musical)!

janev Aug 18th, 2010 01:42 PM

Just looking at the other postings & thinking the asia section should also have "Favourite souvernirs from Asia" -

stamiya Aug 18th, 2010 01:46 PM

Swapping spit with a giraffe! LOL. Totally enjoying your trip report. We'll be in Nairobi in a couple of weeks, visiting our foster eles (btw, I sign in on safarilink as "ellie"). Looking forward to the next installment.

moremiles Aug 18th, 2010 03:28 PM

Love the part about Mr. C bragging about his carry-on and that really was an incredible feat!

I'm ready to try BA Club World and stay at Macushla House but agree about Kazuri Beads and guys.

Great fun reading.

Leely2 Aug 18th, 2010 03:36 PM

<i>Maybe it was jet lag – or just Daisy’s extraordinary charm -- but before I knew it, her 21” blue-black tongue was in my mouth and we were sharing saliva.</i>

But, but, but--you're married! This is turning out to be quite the adventure. Such fun to read. Thanks to you and the rest of the Earth Tone Family.

Kristina Aug 18th, 2010 07:40 PM

Crosscheck-saw your mention of this on the Asia board and had to come read even though I'm not even planning a trip to Africa (yet). Loving it.
We regularly do carry on only, or check our carry-on sized bags, if they are too heavy. It's not hard if there's laundry available.

twaffle Aug 18th, 2010 07:49 PM

Fantastically enjoyable. I'm sure the keepers would love to be adopted! :)
Agree with Macushla being THE place to stay if price and comfort are what you are looking for.

sillysue Aug 19th, 2010 01:44 PM

Kristina- Porini camps are fabulous, but the closest we came to laundry was the small canister of free detergent in the bathroom. I can't imagine how you did it with 4 people,Crosscheck. Love your report.

crosscheck Aug 20th, 2010 09:08 AM

janev - Wow, you really went all out. Mr C declined the musical toilet, and just went for dual drying, spraying, heating version. Do you actually play the music? I bet Toto now has have models that you can hook up to your I-Pod.

stamiya - Lucky you. Wish I were going back in a few weeks. If you're going to see the eles at 5pm on your first day in Nairobi, I would recommend having coffee first because that's prime time for jet lag - maybe our foster children could tell we were fatigued and that's why they ignored us.

Leely - Mr C and I have an open marriage when it comes to non-humans. He exhibits absolutely no jealousy when I make out with our dog.

Kristina - Thanks for coming over from Asia. I always find there is an adjustment period when I switch boards on Fodors, but the people here are very cool (as you would expect from a group that goes on frequent safaris). I think Asia was the one trip when Mr. C amended his carry-on rule - he allowed us to check bags on the way home because of all our purchases.

twaffle - I just went to the safaritalk and read your whole trip report - wow! I am in awe of your talent (and envious of your upbringing).

sillysue - The "normal" Porini itinerary includes a stop at Rhino Porini in Lakipia, where there are not as many water issues, and you can do laundry. But we managed to find a fluff and fold in the Mara - more about that later.

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