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Cindysafari's trip report-Kenya September 2006

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I think going to Africa is like falling off the edge of the world, and landing in an amazing place nothing like where you¡¦ve come from.

Our trip was a wonderful one in so many ways. On our last day there was a terrible tragedy in our camp, and it made us forget, for a while, how good the rest of the trip was. But a little time has helped us to remember how much we loved the trip, up until then. Africa filled our hearts and minds with so many things: The smells, the sights, the sounds we experienced and will never forget¡K¡KWonderful hosts and great conversations, beautiful places to stay, elaborate meals, guides that we loved, time spent with our dear friends, and, of course, the reason we were there¡Kthe animals. This trip will be more memorable than any trip we¡¦ve ever taken, for so many reasons. So here I go¡K.get ready for a LONG report¡Kapologies in advance. ƒº

September 18, and the day is finally here! Two years of planning with 4 other friends and we are off for our first trip to Africa! This is something I have dreamed of since I was a girl, although the reality is when we finally get down to it, making arrangements to leave for any big trip is often such a hassle, we wonder why we¡¦re even going sometimes. We have a demanding business and a 17 year old son we¡¦re leaving behind for 15 days. As we¡¦re heading for the airport, my husband predicts that we will not have a business when we return, and that there will be nothing left of our house after the party our son will no doubt throw in our absence. He also informs me that he will not have the epiphany about Africa that I think he will¡K.

You may have figured out that I am dragging my husband to Africa. His dread about it never lessened¡K although he does try to be a good sport, buying new camera equipment that he spends hours familiarizing himself with before the trip. His reasoning: ¡§If I have to be drug to Africa, I might as well take some good pictures¡¨. He will tell you now, how glad he is that he had his great camera.

My husband¡¦s reluctance to go, though, put a lot of pressure on me, worrying that things along the way would not go smoothly. Thankfully, we used Tim LaPage/Safari Experts out of Utah to arrange our trip. He came highly recommended to us by friends who had used him for their African trip, and as they are world travelers, we figured their recommendation was something we could rely on. Tim was born and raised in Kenya, and still spends about 4 months every year there. Everyone we met on our trip seemed to know him well, and I think we got really good treatment because of it. We did a private safari, for the 6 of us, and it was a beautiful trip, without even a hint of a glitch, so we certainly made a good decision there.

We left on September 18 from LAX at 9:30 pm, and flew BA to London. We were prepared for heavy duty security checks and hassles, and were surprised at how easy it was. We patted ourselves on the back over and over for making the decision to upgrade to World Traveler Plus seats¡Kfor such a long journey (24 hours), it was really nice. Even though it wasn¡¦t Business or First Class, (which our friends flew), it was so worth the extra cost, we thought, to get the upgraded seats. The other important thing-AMBIEN! It truly is our friend. It really got us through our 24 hours of travel time.

We arrived in London for a 5 hour layover, and my husband had reserved a lounge for us to relax in¡Kthat was really great. We could stretch out, have drinks, and read the paper or whatever. Very glad he insisted on that.

The flight was smooth and easy, and we arrived in Nairobi on time, 7:30 Am., September 20. We already had our Visa¡¦s¡Kthat made it easy, because the line to get one went forever. We were able to walk up to the customs counter (no line) and go through quickly. So far, so good¡K.

Now my husband, as I have mentioned, not only had no desire to go to Africa, but also he was looking for disaster at every turn. Accordingly, he started saying ¡§There is no one to meet us¡K.there should have been someone here to meet us¡¨, even though we were only at the baggage carousel, waiting for our duffels. I told him I was sure they would be outside waiting, but I was secretly inside saying to myself ¡§Please be there, Oh God, please let our driver be there!¡¨ ƒº

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