Sights and sounds of our neighborhood…Photos…

The Indian Ocean from the rooftop of Hans’ house next door.  Soon we’ll make the walk to the beach, further than we’d originally anticipated.
Mornings are noisy. The melodic sounds of birds chirping in unison as the sun rises, the goats in the walled area in the rear yard of this two home property, bantering amongst one another with their sheep-like “baaaa,” the roosters in the neighborhood welcoming the day with their familiar “cock-a-doodle-do” are all music to our ears.
The goats in the rear yard of this property posed for us when Hans‘ two small dogs, Gucci and Jessie, chased them into their goat house.

The muffler challenged rickety trucks roaring along the nearby two lane road as local workers begin the rush to work at 6:00 am, the voices of security staff winding down from the night watch, the wind wafting through the palms and massive fronds of the tropical trees and bushes, only add to the magic of a Kenya morning.

The kingpin goat nuzzled up to Hans when we entered the gate remembering his early days when Hans fed him with a baby bottle.

By 5:55 this morning, after a totally undisturbed night of sleep, I awoke ready to tackle the day.  Not wanting to disturb Tom, I pulled my phone from under my pillow to read a few more chapters of my book. I knew I could lay quietly for an hour but no more.

To entertain us, two of the goats jumped up on the stone wall.

At 7:00 am, I pulled aside the thick mosquito netting, gingerly stepping into my awaiting shoes to quickly pad to the entryway to flick on the switch for the hot water. In 15 minutes, the water would be hot for my shower as I was anxious to wash off the sand, the soot and the repellent from another day and night in Africa.

The colors are so pleasing to the senses.

No sooner than I’d dried off and dressed, I lathered on another layer of the repellent, in the hopes that I’d have another mosquito bite free day. Other than a few nips at my ankles, I’ve skated free so far.

As we lounged in the thick cushioned chaises yesterday for a scorching 45 minutes, we positioned our Africa BugsAway pants under our towels. The Permethrin embedded into the fabric deterring any flying (or walking) insects from bothering us. 

In 2009 a fire destroyed 18 homes in this neighborhood, this property next door, yet to be renovated after a new owner took over a few years ago. Hans, a builder, wasted no time in rebuilding these two houses.

It was the heat that drew us back to our outdoor living room that without screens welcomes birds and bugs inside. Although we’re getting used to living outdoors, Tom was startled yesterday when a large bird swooped his head while sitting on the sofa. 

Yesterday, I reminded Tom, that every time we put a foot into a shoe that we must flip it upside down, bang it fiercely several times on the stone floor, looking inside to ensure that no creature is living therein. “Good point,” Tom muttered as he vigorously shook his head in agreement.

Overlooking the stone wall from the goat’s yard.  To avoid cutting grass, Hans preferred to go the natural way…having goats eat the grass.  Much to our delight, he doesn’t slaughter the goats, as is the practice of many local residents.

Yesterday, we received an email from XCOM Global that our data usage had exceeded the “fair use policy” to which they must strictly adhere  If we exceed the allowable amount of 150 mg per day, their providers could possible cut us off entirely. No fault of theirs. Scary for us. 

A private water tower for the house next door.  Water is at a premium in this part of the world.  We take special care with our usage.

This morning, I downloaded an app (more data used to download it) that provides an ongoing data counter, visible throughout the day. No more videos to watch on Facebook or email. No more YouTube. No more Skype video calls although voice only is fine. No more downloading TV shows and movies on Graboid. No TV at our house in Kenya. Oh.

No more madly researching the web reviewing hundreds of possible safaris, comparing prices, freely checking reviews, airfares, browsing photos and more. Tom will no longer be able to watch the Vikings Games using the MiFi. We’re looking into additional options which we’ll report on as we learn. 

Our house from Hans’ rooftop.

Kenya doesn’t have basic broadband service to residences or we’d gladly purchase it for our 3 months period. When booking this house, we’d thought when Internet service was provided, it would be the same type of broadband service we’d used in all the other countries we’ve lived in thus far. Nope. Not here.  As I said, we’ll let you know tomorrow as we madly search for a solution.

Fortunately, this doesn’t effect our ability to post the blog and photos which actually won’t use more than 25% of our daily allotment. For now, we’ll manage until we find a solution. Hans, the helpful owner of the house, will assist us later today.

View of our house as we basked in the chaise lounges in the hot sun, lasting only 45 minutes due to the close proximity to the equator.

Next time we grocery shop, most likely on Monday, not Tuesday since we’re running out of bottled water, we’ll visit the safari booking agency Hans recommended down the road from the grocery store. It will most likely save us considerable data usage, giving us an opportunity to talk to a knowledgeable live person, at this point a inviting concept. 

So far, we’ve discovered that the airfare alone to go to the Massai Mara is over $1000 for the two of us with the more deluxe safaris running from US $400 to US $600 per person per day. Ouch. Most likely, we won’t stay for more than three or four days. 

The blending of colors in the yard creates an enticing backdrop.

Yes, there are budget safaris, sleeping in rough tents on the plains. That’s not us. The food alone would be a problem for me and let’s face it, we never claimed to be “backpacking,” “living in hostels,” or “roughing it” travelers. 

The more deluxe safaris are able to accommodate my diet, have comfortable tents with regular beds, private baths, and overall more conveniences.  We’ll gladly pay for those luxuries. 

Spending most of our data yesterday researching many possible scenarios allowed us to discover the differences between “budget” and “deluxe,” easily making up our minds.

Each time we move to a new location, we experience a period of adapting and learning as we strive to settle into a comfortable and familiar pattern.  ts no different now as we find “workarounds” for any challenges we stumble upon in the process.

This, my friends, is all a part of the decision, none of which we regret for a moment, that we made over 18 months ago to leave everyone we love, everything we owned and our familiar surroundings in order to stretch ourselves to the limit while exploring the world when we can, before old age creeps around the edges, anymore than it already has.

Spring is in the air, here in Kenya, seasons being opposite from the US and Europe.  With the close proximity to the equator, the weather is tropical year round.