Day #173 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A learning experience in Kenya…

Hesborn, our houseman, in Kenya stopped by Wednesday morning, after a full night of rain, showed us this carnivorous, stinging, dangerous creature which actually has less than 100 legs, and yet is still referred to as a centipede.  He warned us not to walk in the grass after rain. A sting from this ugly creature will require a trip to an emergency room. These not only walk but also are known to climb up bedposts. Oh.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

Living in Kenya for three months beginning in September 2013 was the best possible introduction we could have asked for in order to adapt to life in Africa. As many of us are well-aware Africa is an entirely different and unique environment from that we were used to, spending the majority of our lives living in the US. This may well be the case for many citizens of the world who are living in modern-day, developed countries with infrastructure and lifestyle commensurate to that in the US.

Non-venomous. This good-sized lizard came to call as we lounged in our outdoor living room. Thanks for the nice pose, Ms. or Mr. Lizard.

Arriving in Kenya on September 2, 2013, we were in for a rude awakening and culture shock while we riding for an hour, in a well-worn van from the Mombasa Airport to Diani Beach, the location of our holiday home we’d booked for three months. We chose to visit Kenya in order to eventually make our way to the Maasai Mara National Reserve to embark on our first of many wildlife photography safaris.

In the next several days, we’ll share the photos and the stories of how and where we decided to stay for this big adventure, one I’d dreamed of all my life. Of course, the exciting photos of our many safaris in the Maasai Mara, an experience we’ll never forget, will be re-posted soon as we continue to share our past experiences while in lockdown.

Mildly venomous. Hesborn referred to this as a millipede. We didn’t bother to count the number of legs. Apparently, these are harmless, although if walking on a person, they leave a trail of “itchy liquid.”

During that hour-long drive to the holiday home, I was practically hanging out the window of the vehicle in the sheer wonder of what my eyes beheld, scenes of which neither of us had ever witnessed in the past. The people, the cows, the buffalo, the goats, the pigs, and the chickens walking along the crowded pot-hole ridden highway, sent me into an awe-stricken state unlike any other in my life.

Often tourists comment that they felt uncomfortable seeing the poverty, the way of life, the commotion, and the traffic in what was formerly referred to as “third world countries.” Witnessing these scenes sent me into a jaw-dropping state of curiosity and wonder. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s heartbreaking to see the poverty up close and personal.

A millipede in relation to the tip of my shoe. One wouldn’t want to snuff this out with their foot if discovered in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

For me, it represented the strength and resiliency of a people who were making the best of a seemingly impossible situation with many thriving in the best manner possible. Perhaps, that was my overly optimistic viewpoint, but it served me well when over these past eight years, we experienced many similar scenarios, not unlike much of which we’d seen in India during the two-month tour.

On that day, the shutter on the camera was clicking nonstop. I shot hundreds of photos in that first hour and thousands more during the three months we spent in the country along with the precious time spent in the fantastic Maasai Mara National Reserve, one of the most pristine and wildlife-rich places in the world. I’d go there again if we could.

As Alfred, our driver for the three months drove us to the stores, we passed many similar buildings.,

Those challenging days and nights in Diani Beach primed us for the harsh realities of Africa along with its life-changing wonders we beheld in one way or another almost every day. Whether it was the curious facts about a venomous insect as shown in today’s main photo or the exquisite heart-pounding experience of taking a photo of a lion enjoying his zebra-lunch a mere 3 meters from our vehicle. It had it all.

It’s these run-down lean-to type shacks that depict the aspect of a third world country, many without running water and electricity. And there we were in what was considered an upscale resort community of Diani Beach.

Once a person gets Africa in their blood, especially those who are deeply moved by its magic, it’s hard to shake. And now, as we remain in lockdown, just eight days short of six months, the only place I long to be is, back there in Africa, amid the wildlife, the vegetation, and it’s amazing people.

The Nakumatt grocery store is guarded by armed military security who, for security reasons, refused to be photographed. The car was thoroughly examined by armed guards, including using a mirror on the long pole to search for explosives. We were searched and wanded before entering the market. This was the day I tossed my handbag, never to be used again in Kenya. From that day, Tom carried my lipstick and passport in his pockets.

Perhaps, in time, we’ll be able to return to the heat, the bugs, the snakes, the excitement interspersed with a tinge of danger in the wild, and the blissful experience of seeing nature in its finest form, both human and animal.

Stay safe. Stay healthy and have hope…


Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2019:

Blue sky, blue sea, and craggy cliffs in Port Isaac, known as Port Wen in the TV series, Doc Martin. For more photos, please click here.







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