Part 2…Internet solutions…Photos of our neighborhood…Monkeys came to call…

This is a mother Colobus monkey and baby, a photo we borrowed from this link.  How we’d love to find a Colobus Monkey to photograph!
This is a young Colobus Monkey, the endangered species that ran through our yard this morning.  They ran so quickly that we were unable to get our own photo and borrowed this photo from this site.

OMG! OMG! Two monkeys just ran through our yard!!! With the camera several steps away, we missed the opportunity to get a shot! From now on, it will be at my side. 

Researching online, we both found the species of the monkeys as shown above, the endangered Colobus Monkey.  This site is quite interesting, if you have a moment to read it.

Now, on to the rest of our story…

Yesterday, as we exited the main gate to our area, we were on the main road, on a mission to locate the vegetable stand we’d heard was nearby.

Upon awakening this morning, the humidity hangs as a heavy drape over the horizon along with the smoke of fires burning around us. With no ban on burning in Kenya, the acrid smell of toxic smoke frequently wafts through the air.

Cloudy today, the mosquitoes seek refuse by nibbling on our flesh. I killed 3 of them this morning, buzzing around my head as I quickly lathered on the foamy insect repellent after taking a shower. I never feel clean. The bottoms of our feet become black again after a short time causing me to wonder, if perhaps, the black on the floors is actually the soot from the nearby fires.

Our new vegetable stand is a short walk from our home.  Notice the motorcycle.  The produce is delivered by motorcycle each day!

Any of our family and friends reading this may scratch their heads wondering how, Mr. & Mrs. Comfort Freaks, are possibly surviving the hardships of the last several months; the flies, the bees, the scary road, the remote existence in Boveglio, Italy and now…the challenges of Africa, living in the first of three countries on the continent.

Somehow, we are OK, more than OK. Tom particularly surprises me, less than myself. After all, it was my idea to come to Africa. I’d better not complain. In reality, I don’t feel a desire to complain. The annoyances only flutter through my mind momentarily from time to time. 

This is Gabriel, our new vegetable guy, who runs the vegetable stand, a mere two minute walk after exiting the main gate to our complex.  He said he will order produce for us at any time, arriving the next day, fresh from the fields.

Then again, living in extreme comforts in our old lives prompted me to be annoyed from time to time. It’s the human element. We always want better, different or more.

As I sit here in our outdoor living room at 9:00 am on a Sunday morning, when in the past we may have been watching CBS’s show Sunday Morning, with no TV here and little ability to stream videos any longer, we find ourselves somehow at peace.

At the moment, the hoot of morning doves, myriad birds, the occasional howl of a monkey, this mornings two monkeys running past us, the frequent baa of the goats in our yard and the crow of the nearby roosters brings us comfort. 

The anticipated rain has begun to fall creating a pleasing sound of the raindrops on the palms and fronds of the many trees and over sized plants in our yard as they welcome the much needed water. After all, its almost spring here. The full bloom of the flowers is yet to come.

A bee just swarmed my coffee mug. Tom laughed and said “Humm…in the US we worry about the African killer bees. Now we’re in Africa.” I laughed, moving my mug to another spot as the bee flew back out of our screen free outdoor living room.

Without pesticides and chemicals, the produce can wilt quickly and maybe infested with bugs.  These tomatoes had just arrived, actually looking quite good. Notice the molding cauliflower and the brown lettuce.  Gabriel told us his fresh deliveries arrive in each day around 11 am by the guy on the motorcycle in this photo.

As I replaced my coffee for hot tea, I decided to clean a few of the green beans  we’d purchased yesterday as shown in the photo below.  Wrapped around two separate beans were the most outrageous worms I’ve ever seen, black, hairy.  I didn’t scream.  I tossed those beans into the trash. Guess they don’t use pesticides on the veggies from the neighboring produce stand. That’s comforting.

Tom brought up the point to mention the raw cabbage and carrots we enjoy in our daily dose of coleslaw being exposed to the non-purified water when washing.  We’re using bottled water for all of our beverages and cooking.  As for cleaning the cabbage, I tear off the first several leaves leaving the interior leaves for slicing, unwashed.  If I see a bug, toss it out.  We’ve done this everywhere we’ve lived outside the US.

The carrots on the other hand, are more challenging. Without washing them, I peel the carrots after removing the stems. Then, I place the raw peeled carrots in a bowl of purified water to rinse them thoroughly. Then, I wipe them dry with a clean paper towel, promptly storing them in the refrigerator. 

This batch of vegetables was KES (Kenya Shillings) $150, US $1.72.  The more we travel, the more we are amazed by the lower cost of food in other countries as compared to the US.

So far, so good, no illness.  Of course, we brush our teeth using a fresh glass of purified water kept in the bathroom, rinsing our mouths and the toothbrush using our water. Washing dishes is another matter, with no dishwasher (no microwave, either), we used the hottest local water, leaving the dishes to completely dry overnight. No problem doing this either.

Hans, our landlord, explained that the water is safe to drink here in Diani Beach and that many past guests have not used bottled water, without incident. For us, we choose the conservative side, to do the very best we can to protect ourselves. 

The local restaurants use purified water, enabling me to have a salad last night when we dined out.  We’ll write and post photos from our amazing dining out experience on Saturday night in Monday’s post. Too much to tell all at once!

Still reveling in the excitement of seeing the monkeys this morning, the sights and the sounds, the wonderful local people we’ve met thus far further affirms why we don’t complain and…why, our friends, we are in Africa.

Comments and responses Part 2…Internet solutions…Photos of our neighborhood…Monkeys came to call…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    I am curious about medical care there – God forbid anything should happen – but it sounds like there are many risks, poisonous insects, bees, the spiral staircase, etc (lol)…how close is a hospital? And if not close, what is the contingency plan in case of medical emergency?

    And are you really getting rid of all your vitamins? How will that affect your health?

  2. Anonymous Reply

    Even though I have not commented in a few days, I am still following your blogs. We were not home the last 2 days so I am doing catch up. Again, we love your stories and the pictures.
    Your last comment about not complaining because you are, after all, in Africa, was so right on. As a matter of fact, I was planning on mentioning that to you because of our first trip to Mexico in 1983. We could not drink the water either, at that time, nor use the ice. And there was only the local foods, no American restaurants as there are in Mexico today. For the first 3 days I was miserable and just wanted to go home. Then I finally told myself how silly I was because we are in Mexico, after all. I started to look around and enjoy the differences and the people and cultural. The remaining 5 days were actually fun. So that is what you and Tom have apparently known from the beginning.
    We are all so glad that you and Tom are adapting to your surroundings and learning to conquer whatever difficulties come your way.
    Can't wait for the safari adventure and pictures.
    Your Epic friends,
    Pat and Dan

  3. Jessica Reply

    Great questions! There is a full service hospital right here in Diani Beach about 5 minutes from us. Also, we have Emergency Evacuation insurance that will pay to fly us a highly reputable major medical facility in necessary. Hopefully, we never need it!

    As for the vitamins, there are a few we must keep but many we am willing to try to go without. If we notice any ill effects we will order smaller amounts and have them shipped to us.

    In any case, in 14 months we'll be in Hawaii for several months and we can purchase whatever we need at at GNC in Honolulu where we'll stay for the first week or two.

    For now, I will begin weaning us off them, one at a time, to see if there are any changes before dropping the next one.

    Gee…thanks for writing. We love hearing from you.
    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

  4. Jessica Reply

    Pat and Dan,
    I know what you mean about Mexico back in the 80's. I, too, have visited there finding the conditions less than ideal. Now, here is Kenya, it is more challenging but we're managing.

    Yesterday, when the humidity was unbearable and I got no less than 10 mosquito bites even covered with repellent, I got a little frustrated.

    But today, the sun is shining, the humidity is less and the bites are finally settling down. Going out to dinner Saturday night really was a refreshing experience which I am writing about with photos today.

    Thanks again for writing, our Epic friends. We look forward to hearing from you again and again.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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