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

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Sep 15th, 2010, 10:56 AM
  #101
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Xanax?
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Sep 15th, 2010, 11:37 AM
  #102
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Seriously, you will have the time of your life. I will work on my pitch to the BBC while you are gone, although I suspect my humor is not subtle enough for the Brits and I am not blase enough about our sightings. I could, however, do something with Real Housewives of Amboseli - sort of Big Love meets Anthony Bordain.

Extra cash is a good idea because we could never get the ATM's to work. I would include a bandanna in case you are in the middle of a stampede. We loved having a tiny laptop to upload photos, but it was a crummy one that we didn't care about - I would not go out and buy a new one. Finally, there is an abundance of repellent and shampoo in Kenya, but no conditioner.

Safe travels!
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Sep 15th, 2010, 11:48 AM
  #103
 
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Real Housewives of Amboseli. Spewed out my mouthful of coffee on that one!! You crack me up crosscheck!

Where do you get all those cute emoticons? I have only found the

In Canada we have a new, well new to me, channel called Oasis which carries the Big Cat Diaries, Shamwara, Africa Opera and several others. It's in HD and awesome!
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Sep 16th, 2010, 09:40 AM
  #104
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The housewives could all be married to the same warrior. Lots of drama as he goes from hut to hut, drinking goat blood for energy.
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Sep 19th, 2010, 11:57 AM
  #105
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A DAY WITHOUT A CHEETAH KILL:
After breakfast we left Lion Porini to relocate to the Mara Intrepids Club for one night. (More about that decision later). We sadly bid farewell to Olare Orok, looking forward to our last two days of adventures. We especially anticipated a reunion with our laundry, which we had sent ahead to Intrepids.

TALEK SCHOOL:
The other LP guests had raved about their school visit, and we asked our guides if we could make a stop. The Talek school is a boarding/day, primary/secondary school with about 150 enthusiastic, well-behaved students in the outskirts of a dusty town, where you could shoot the Kenyan version of a old cowboy movie.

The facilities are basic and the classes are huge. Each teacher goes back and forth between two classes of 65 students each - she gives one class a worksheet to complete while she teaches the other class. Not the best learning environment, but the teachers are clearly in love with the children, and the kids seemed eager to learn. I thought about volunteering there for a year once my boys are both in college (especially if I could live at Lion Porini). One of our guides had gone to school there, and he had moved on to guide school and achieved silver level status. He was very proud of his alma mater....and hopeful about what the school could become. We left a donation (how could you not?), but did not feel at all obligated.

SILLY BANDZ:
I know many of you will not approve, but we introduced the top plastic American fad of the century to both the villagers in Amboseli and the the school children at Talek. We gave the primary teacher many packets and told her she could use them for learning activities or rewards. She "got" them immediately and LOVED them, particularly the rock instruments, the alphabet and the sparkly princessy ones...I didn't mention the celeb appeal because I thought that would be crossing over into the Gods Must Be Crazy territory, and Silly Bandz are much more benign, in my opinion, than Coca Cola. The irony: they are SO popular with kids here that they have been banned in schools.

NEXT: MARA INTREPIDS/BALLOON DISCORD HEATS UP
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Sep 20th, 2010, 08:04 AM
  #106
 
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I must be living under a rock, but what are Silly Bandz?
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Sep 20th, 2010, 08:27 AM
  #107
 
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i too was living under a rock, so i used wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silly_Bandz
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Sep 20th, 2010, 07:24 PM
  #108
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sandi and ross, Now that you have heard about them, you will see them everywhere.

Here is a photo of the villagers near Amboseli Porini discovering Silly Bandz for the first time.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/crossch...7625000317812/
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Sep 21st, 2010, 03:17 AM
  #109
 
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i'll be in amboseli on 10 Oct, i'll look out for them
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Sep 21st, 2010, 04:08 AM
  #110
 
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I "don't have permission to see this photo". Is it just me?
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Sep 21st, 2010, 08:13 AM
  #111
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Help! I need a flickr tutorial. Do I have to call tech support in Bangalore?
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Sep 21st, 2010, 11:22 AM
  #112
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I spent all morning neglecting my real jog and I think I got it to work. Try this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/crossch...7812/lightbox/
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Sep 21st, 2010, 11:23 AM
  #113
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That would be "neglecting my real job," though I neglected my jog as well.
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Sep 21st, 2010, 01:43 PM
  #114
 
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What a coincidence. Last night's Nightline was doing a segment on these bands. Unfortunately, I met the sandman before I could watch. Got the idea, but have never seen them on anyone anywhere, regardless their ages!
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Sep 21st, 2010, 02:08 PM
  #115
 
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Got in. Thanks crosscheck.
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Sep 21st, 2010, 04:42 PM
  #116
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Sandi, told you you'd see them all over.
cyn, I am now gathering up the nerve to post more photos.
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Sep 21st, 2010, 05:16 PM
  #117
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MARA INTREPIDS:
When we booked the trip I thought we would need four nights in the Mara to maximize our chances of seeing a crossing. And only three nights at Lion Porini were available. We entertained all sorts of possibilities for our fourth night, including flycamping at Kicheche, a detour to Sala's camp, and even a day at Giraffe Manor back in Nairobi.

But Gamewatchers had felt that Intrepids was the best bet for us financially and logistically, because:
- its location on the Talek river puts it in the center of the migration activity
- it's right next to the airstrip we'd be using for Lion Porini
- assuming there was availability, we would be provided with a day room for our final day at no extra cost

Everything I read about Intrepids made me think it would be too commercial for us – there’s am electric fence, buffet, gift shop, massages, pool, front desk and, according to one guidebook, even "replica furniture."

But in fact, Intrepids felt less resort-y than we expected - It had a jungle lodge vibe with a thatched hut bar, an observation tower, cool swing bridge and stylish renovated tents (more upscale than common areas) with gorgeous mahogany floors and romantic lighting. The owner is, in fact, very African - the son of Jomo Kenyatta. Food was good, with spicy options – our preference.

At the end of the day, Gamewatchers was right: I wouldn't have traded our authentic remote Porini experience, but Intrepids worked as an economical spot for re-entry and relaxation. And although we were no longer in eco-friendly territory, we did appreciate the un-rationed hot water, the walking paths, and most of all, the stellar laundry service.

I would also recommend Intrepids in a heartbeat to a family with "single" teens or younger children who'd like the kids' camp (But don’t go in the cooler weather expecting a pool scene…the pool was neither heated nor cleaned.)

EVENING GAME DRIVE:
Our vehicle was fabulous – brand new and open. Our lone guide Andrew had to be everything at once: spotter, driver, plus silver-level guide, but he pulled it off brilliantly. Thanks to Intrepids' gold-level laundry skills, he was dressed in a crisp khaki uniform rather than the Masai outfits we were used to. He wasn’t as warm and fuzzy as the Porini guides, but he provided all sorts of cool facts about the animals for us. And as a veteran guide, he found us a pride of sleeping lions, an huge giraffe family, many elephants, more lions, a group of out-of-control fighting hippos, even more lions, and of course, herds and herds of those wacky wildebeest. All that were missing was a leopard.

UP, UP OR STAY DOWN?
Sadly, I was somewhat distracted and anxiety-ridden during our game drive. Even as I photographed hundreds of my beloved zebras lined up surreally in the high grasses, my mind kept pondering the pros and cons of a fast-approaching critical life decision - whether or not to go up in a hot air balloon. This potential ascension had been the elephant in the room (as it were) for the entire trip. Mr. C thought it was insanely priced for a tourist activity, especially because he hates both heights and spending money (The cost was a ridiculous $450pp). But it seemed like the kind of thing you should do with your teenage sons in Africa. And, just maybe, I could get one last aerial view of the greatest show on earth - priceless.

So now, as we took in the last rays of the glorious Mara sunset, time had run out and we needed to choose: Should we use our last morning for a very pricey balloon ride that could turn out to be a complete rip-off and create discord and disharmony in our family for weeks to come? Should I risk the possibility of Mr. C outlawing exotic trips entirely and forcing us to rent timeshares in Orlando for our vacations? Or should we save $1850 and devote the time to finding a leopard on our last day in the Mara? What would YOU do?

NEXT: LEOPARD VS. BALLOON
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Sep 21st, 2010, 07:07 PM
  #118
 
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Have been meaning to add my kudos to the long list above for many days now. This is easily among the most entertaining and captivating trip reports I've ever read! Can't wait to hear which one you chose - leopard or balloon.
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Sep 21st, 2010, 07:30 PM
  #119
 
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What will they decide? Stay tuned.
See, Mrs. C, this is why you're not permitted to go traipsing off on another safari in mid trip report.
This has been a thoroughly enjoyable tale!
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Sep 21st, 2010, 09:02 PM
  #120
 
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Wonderful reading. I wouldn't even consider a noisy balloon over a possible leopard but will wait with baited breath to your decision. Pity you didn't consider a longer safari, so that we could have a longer report.

Time share in Orlando!
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