Kicking our heels ……..

Day 62 –

L: We were having our breakfast and coffee out of the back of the bakkie when Christof, the owner of the campsite came over to us. We do not get to see the news on TV very often so we had not heard that there was trouble brewing in Kenya with the potential of a political rally which could turn into unrest in and around Nairobi.

S: So this would mean – no trip to the Ethiopian Embassy for us today to try to get our visas. Christof suggested that we stay away from town and in fact, suggested that we get out of Nairobi for a few days and head for the hills………

L: We chatted about it and prayed about it and both felt that we should stay put. Here at Jungle Junction we have everything that we need and are behind high fences with barbed wire, security men and dogs etc. Also there is a mechanic on site and space for Steve to do the maintenance to the bakkie that he needs to get done.

We went up to the reception and lounge area (really comfortable) and got caught up on our blog and photos and posted the last few days. We also sent out a brief message to our girls about the situation in Nairobi before they heard it for themselves and told them not to worry.

I went for my shower, no, still not warm and Steve got ready to work on the car.

S: That was another marathon repair session, taking most of the day. I replaced both front shocks and while I was at it, swapped the front tyres to the back and visa versa as the back tyres are looking worn after only 30 000kms (normally last for 60 000 kms at least). L: Could be these roads you take us on…….I hear Walter chuckle.

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L: I spent the time enjoying the many different birds in the lovely front garden. There are sunbirds, weavers and flycatchers to name a few. I also saw a black chameleon with 3 horns, seriously.

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S: Now, back on our campsite, I emptied the whole canopy to take out the board that covers all the electrics and water tank etc to get to fix the breather pipe on the water pipe of the tank as it had come adrift when I pulled the wrong side trying to find the end. The water level gauge has stopped working so I use the breather pipe as a guide when filling the tank to know when it is full. If you blow into it and you hear bubbles then you know it is. Also we were losing water through the breather hole driving on the bad roads.

I also re-attached the air-compressor pipe while I was at it. It has an extended pipe and when I was adjusting air pressures after swopping wheels the join parted. Unfortunately I could not get to reconnecting the battery isolator switch as it is inaccessible even with the board removed. So the wires twisted together and taped up will have to do. So now we are up to date with all the things that needed to be done. L: Thank goodness you are able to do all this yourself, Dear ;-))

L: I made a lunch on the gas stove as it was all accessible, while on the road we normally just have a quick snack as so many people gawk at you, no matter where we stop.

Two camper trucks pulled in to the campsite this afternoon and one of the ladies came over to introduce herself and eventually we were chatting to all four of them. Ian and Sue and Clive and Ann are all from the U.K. but the two couples met up and became friends on the road. We got them caught up on current affairs, they had also not heard the news and told them what the campsite had. S: Both trucks, a Mercedes and a Unimog, are ex-German military vehicles that have been converted into campers.

L: Christof eventually joined us and helped them to settle in.

Later, Collings, the receptionist lugged our washing bag and brought us our washed (in a washing machine!!) laundry, dried and folded by the lady who cleans the facilities so well. What a treat. This is the third time we have had our clothes washed in a machine (Swakopmund and Dar Es Salaam) and it makes such a difference to the clothes – and my back!! Yay.

S: Chris has mentioned that due to the unrest in Africa and the Middle East, there are not that many overlanders and these were the first trucks he has seen in a very long time. Fortunately he runs his mechanic business from the premises and there is income from the storage of the vehicles as well as the maintenance contracts attached to some of them.

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We arranged a small portable braai and lit up the charcoal (horrors!, not much wood available) to cook home made kebabs and roast potatoes in the potjie (cast iron pot). For once the meat was nice and tender and tasty due to the marinade, of which we have a huge bottle. Still trying to keep the braaiing tradition alive when we can.

Lesley and Sue swopped blog addresses and Sue gave us her contact details so that we can give them a call when we are in the UK. They stay 8 miles from where one of my sisters, Nicky,
lives in Hitchin.

We went to bed wondering whether we would be able to go into town the next day to apply for our Ethiopian visas. The other problem we had heard about is that the embassy had not been issuing visas for the last six weeks as three other couples staying at Jungle Junction had been unsuccessful. The only other option then is to courier our passports and papers to a visa service in Pretoria and wait for them to apply for us. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Day 63 –

L: We were up fairly early and breakfasted and decided to try to get to the embassy……

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As we left the campsite, it all looked like any normal day with people going to work and university so we were encouraged and travelled to Nairobi city centre to find the embassy.

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S: Long story short – NO!! The Head of the Ethiopian Consul said that they only issue visas to people with a residence permit. No amount of pleading was going to change her mind. However, she was polite and very helpful in that she advised us to send our passports together with one small photo and $20 each directly to the consulate in Pretoria via DHL. She also suggested that we include some proof of monies that we have available and fill in the form that she supplied.

So we drove to the centre where the DHL offices are and sat at a coffee shop and had coffee and a sliver of quiche and filled in the forms. Later, after photocopying everything we had as well as our car papers, yellow-fever injection certificate to add to the pile of papers.

L: I was shocked what DHL charges to sent 2 passports and 10 sheets of paper – a whopping KSH3 960 (R486) and that is only one way. Once it is ready we will be notified to travel back into their offices to pay for the return trip before they will courier it back!!!

S: A visa service company will charge R927 to do the job for each of us. So we hope to save about R1 400.

L: Another drive through the mayhem and we were back on familiar turf at the Galleria Centre near our campsite. What a pleasure, Tuesday lunchtime and everything was quiet and so much easier to concentrate on. We found some more provisions as well as a different cup of instant noodles which work so well when we can’t get anywhere to stop and we just use the flask of boiling water and have some Provitas with it.

Back to the campsite after finding a frozen joghurt for each of us at only R10. I had been feeling a bit queasy on the car ride back from town. Not sure if it is the altitude or what that gets me, but Steve was fine. We had both been a bit anxious about the embassy visit so were glad that that was over and now we wait……….hopefully only a few days and we really hope that our application will be successful.

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So JJ’s, as they call the campsite, is where we will stay.

We have heard that 29 people have been killed in the fight between the political parties. It is tragic. This happened north of Mombasa which is hundreds of kilometers from us in the North east, on the coast. We are staying far away from that area so please don’t worry. We continue to pray for the Lord’s hand over us.

We spent the afternoon catching up with the blog and expense sheets and relaxing in the shade.

The two couples that are here with us are lovely people and we are both enjoying chatting and learning of their experiences throughout Africa and Europe.

There are lots of birds for me to see and the campsite is clean and neat and reasonably priced so things gave worked out well. The only little thing is that the ground is incredibly uneven so I worry about turning an ankle so I am careful where I tread. Steve is enjoying the break, once again, from flipping and zipping the rooftop tent so we will spend our third night here. Our neighbours told us about a botanical garden a little way down the road that they visited this morning so we will give that a visit. Also nearby is the AFEW Giraffe centre for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe so that is a possibility as well. Karen Blixen’s, from Out of Africa fame, house is also around the corner.

S: The sosaties of last night were so good so did a repeat with toasted sammies and some left over potatoes from last night. We then caught up on the news, photos and blog.

All quiet here at the moment so it is off to bed soon. Sleep tight and stay warm in South Africa. XX

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