Emerald Isle …….

Day 117 –

L: I was awake at 3 am with two guys sitting under the umbrella in the rain having a full meeting for an hour until I got up and asked them to go up on the deck. So I was tired at breakfast already. We thought that since we were leaving late tonight that we would go back for an afternoon nap, but that was not to be as we discovered that we would have to pay for another day if we used the tent after 11 am.

S: After breakfast, we had a late shower before packing all our things and putting the cases in the store room so that the tent could be emptied in time.

L: We have been chatting to so many people in camp and they have all wished us well for the next leg of the journey.

We have met Jenny and Alex from Australia and a young guy, Sean from down under too. Another Sean and Lucija who live in the U.K. though Lucija is originally from Slovenia. They are also doing a blog on their trip and we have swopped addresses. We have learnt a lot from them regarding shops, products and flights, etc that we will come across in the U.K and Ireland.

So now, Ryan from S.A. Is getting ready to leave and ship his car to Hamburg so we might get to see him again when we collect our car, if it ever leaves Mombasa………

I keep teasing the owners two little boys, Oliver and Joel that I need a cuddle before I leave tomorrow, but they are still a bit shy. Such cuties, we will miss their happy sounds. We have spent a total of 23 nights here at Wildebeest (in 3 separate visits), so feel like family. Rick, one of the waiters has just been to give me a hug, goodbye. They are sure that we will be back!

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A young couple came up to eat their lunch and I could hear that they were German – when they said they were flying out tonight, I just knew, it was to Hamburg. We got chatting to Ivo and Caroline and offered them a ride to the airport in our taxi. They were very grateful as they did not have enough KSH left for the trip.

Supper time and Joel has fallen asleep in Alan’s arms, so I stole a cuddle. We did not have supper as I knew Steve would be anxious to get to the airport and not want to eat at camp still. We said goodbye to everyone and little Oliver gave me a nice cuddle to send me off. Lynita walked us to reception.
We set out at 8pm to get there by 8.50pm for our 10.50pm flight. Steve sat in front with Ivo and Caroline and I sharing the back, comfortably, but the boot (trunk) was bulging with all of our luggage, but Charlie the driver made it happen.

S: We were stopped just outside the airport for a boot search and Charlie was asked for a bribe. Smart boy, he turned them down and they waved us on anyway with Lesley chatting to the official and watching out the back window for any “sticky fingers”…….

So we went to check in with Ivo and Caroline at the Emirates desk and they were sorted, but the lady at the desk took a while with our tickets and then said that even though we were going through to Dublin, Ireland – the stop in Glasgow, Scotland was now a problem as they do not allow anyone on a South African passport to transit through the U.K. without a transit visa which you need to apply for at the British Embassy. Oh my word…….They are quick enough to take your money for the ticket, but do not say that you need the visa. Does everyone get caught like this? – it is essentially our first overseas trip though Steve has been through the U.K.

Long story short…….because Lesley was not allowed in to transit through the U.K. we had to change our ticket to go from Dubai directly to Dublin at an extra cost of $90 for each of us. Oh, and just, by the way, the tickets we bought from Glasgow to Dublin are non-refundable!! Go figure. This was not feeling good, but it was already late at night so we pretty much didn’t have a choice. L: I find it interesting that the U.K. did a 4-hour security check on our credit card, but couldn’t mention that they couldn’t book the ticket without a visa.

S: So now we missed having supper with Caroline and Ivo (who wanted to buy us a coffee for helping them) and after being held up for so long, were the last ones on the flight. We were exhausted. (We never saw sight or sound of our German friends again, even though they were on the same plane). L: Do you think they avoided us after me being turned down for a U.K. permit and being thrown off the flight to Scotland, ha ha.

Day 118 –

S: Supper finally came at 12.30am. Little plates with 3 courses, but enough to sustain us. Lesley still managed to get excited when we crossed the Aden Sea as it was her first time “overseas”, but I was still stressing. We each watched our own movie on our little TV scenes and I dozed.

L: I may have closed my eyes for 10 minutes, but I could not sleep with the lights and constant back-and-forwarding as we were next to all the bathrooms on the plane.

Finally, we arrived in Dubai and so began our 12 hour wait as the new ticket was for a much later flight…….We were offered to go on standby, but we would have to pay another $50 each if we got on to an earlier flight. That is crazy so I persuaded Steve to wait as we were just throwing money away and making the airlines rich. We were told that we could get a free meal ticket though. We first went in search of coffee as it was 4am and one cuppa, 2 bottles of water and one cheese croissant was the princely sum of $11. Ouch.

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We both slept fitfully for an hour or so on the padded loungers in a quiet alcove. I then went for a shower and felt so much better after that. Good job I had packed my clean outfit and shower kit and travel towel, yes!

We did not consider going into town as it was over 40 degrees out of the airport.

S: We later walked and took the really fast train to the other end of the station for our free meal. Lesley had Indian food and I had a huge Texas chicken meal which even had an apple pie for dessert. That will do ’til supper.
We finally managed to get an e-mail through to the girls from the airport computers which are really slow. Also, I sent off a mail to advise the guest house that we would arrive much later tonight and so stay another night so we don’t have to be up and out early tomorrow. We hope to take the bus from the airport in Dublin tonight.

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L: On our way through the airport in Dubai, we had a good giggle – there is a shop called The Sleep Cube which offers you a little room with a padded bed for $21 (R220) for an hour’s sleep………As tempting as that is, never. And now a young couple have told us that you have to take it for a minimum of 2 hours.

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S: I went to try to get us seats together as they have put us behind each other on the plane, but they said to try at check-in time. We tried to get to sit in a nice comfortable chair in a restaurant, for a while in the afternoon, but when you look at the prices for coffee or a drink, the plastic chairs in the passages start feeling a whole lot better. We looked at the duty-free chocolates too, but R100 a slab is just not in our budget.

L: Finally it was time to be checked in and they eventually organised us seats next to each other. We sat next to a young Afrikaans girl from Stellenbosh, Annatjie who was really sweet. We also got chatting to an off-duty air-hostess with Emirates and we were all appalled at some of the children’s behavior on the flight. That makes for a long trip and then there is the numb bum syndrome, it seems no matter how you sit it is still uncomfortable. We do love having movies to play though.

Sitting on the wing, again, but this time I was a bit creeped out as the wing on our side had leaking oil and just looked a bit shabby. It is great to be able to see the map of where you are flying the whole time with the little picture of the plane showing speed, direction etc. I was so excited flying over Europe and the U.K.

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We were extremely tired and once again, Steve managed to doze, but I didn’t have much success so it was a huge relief to see Dublin and touch down after going through a massive bank of clouds, now 9pm in Ireland.

The baggage collection took so long and they really don’t treat the luggage well, but all our bags are here with us so that is great.

We followed all the signs showing where to take the bus and asked someone where to find No. 16 bus and paid for the tickets and we were off, on the way to Avalon house. We haven’t been able to use a bus forever in Cape Town and it was amazing how many girls feel safe enough to take the bus so late at night. We passed a lot of brown stone buildings which all looked so drab, but other than that there was not much to see except for the mad crowd running in the streets after their soccer team won, or lost and the mounted policemen for crowd control,

The bus driver deposited us right outside the hostel and we lugged our bags in to reception. We were shown to our room which has 2 single beds put at right angles to each other as there is not enough space to put them together. There is a hand basin in the room, but we have to us the communal bathrooms, they are unisex too. The room is really basic, but clean for €50, so that is R750 which is a lot for us. As we came in so late, we have booked a 4-bed dorm room (this room is allocated to someone else) with en suite to share tomorrow night, that costs €40 for the two of us.

We let the girls know where we were though our signal was not good. Steve showered and we were both fast asleep within minutes. So this is what the emerald island feels like……..

Day 119 –

S: Wow, it was great to be refreshed. We slept well even though I found the noise a bit disturbing. We had to be out of the room by 10am so we went down to breakfast before showering and packing. The breakfast (which is included) is served in the coffee shop of the hostel. You can help yourself to cereal, coffee (or tea) and toast with jam or chocolate spread. I bet you cannot guess which one we chose……

This place is busy and so are the showers and toilets, but we got done and then put down a deposit of €10 for a locker which held all of our belongings. We pay €2 a day besides the refundable deposit so that is great not to have to worry about things.

L: We walked outside and got a sensory overload in the hustling, bustling city of Dublin. Steve had picked up a free SIM card at the hostel (yes, they are free) and now decided to go back to the hostel to use the laptop and purchase airtime and a data bundle. We did that in the recreation room and then continued on our way. We have been communicating with Nicky, Steve’s sister in the U.K. and she hopes to be able to help us successfully fill in the forms to permit us to the U.K. Steve also sent a free assessment application to an online agency to get the advice we need.

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So we trundled along the streets, keeping an eye out for the shops and facilities that we needed. A bank does not always look like a bank, but after asking several people, we were able to exchange our remaining dollars for Euros. We passed so many of the leading name brands in fashion e.g. Abercrombie and Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger and Louis Vuitton (I thought of you, Sherilyn) to name a few. Sorry Girls, you will have to wait for those things until we find work, ha ha.

We had asked a lady in the bank where to have lunch, but O’Neals Pub luckily displayed the prices outside and those did not look inviting. We eventually settled for another little pub in one of the side streets. It was really a bar with a couple of tables and chairs and seems to serve mainly breakfast, I had a very nice Irish Guinness stew which was lovely. Steve had his Guinness in a glass (which was not to his taste) and a club sandwich. The bill with tip was €25 (R375 which would be a sushi evening for us at home), yikes. We met and chatted to a USA couple, Verna and Doug who were very interested in our travels.

There are so many buskers and entertainers on the city streets with a crowd of 5 dressed from head to toe in black with charcoal black painted faces. It was amusing to see them just sitting around like statues and changing position once in a while.

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Nicole had told us to “go and find a Leprechaun” and we laughed when we did!!! A man had a little booth rigged up with all the right togs and the space for your head cut-out so you could have a photo taken in true Irish style. Steve did not want to play the game so I sneaked a shot of some other unsuspecting tourist.

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S: Something was up with the cellphone package so we popped in to a mobile phone shop and got that sorted. Ok, so now that we won’t manage to eat in these expensive restaurants, it is off to find a Dunns supermarket………
Dunns has a lot of great products and since Lesley knows her beans we were able to choose some reasonable products to cook in our communal kitchen at the hostel. We found rice, mince, tuna, instant noodles and sauces to be fairly cheap. The bread and fruit are pricier, but we only spent €16 for about 3 days provisions.

L: How Steve realised that it is a self-service check-out, I am yet to grasp, as I just stood and wondered why all the cashiers were “out to lunch”. Ok the internationally travel-wise people, we don’t have this at home. So, you scan your own carrier bag and put it on a counter (which is a scale too) and then, using the bar-code on every item, pass those over the scanner and Bob’s your uncle, oh wow, our mouths hung open. Then, the best is that you feed in your cash or card and everything is sorted. It is amazing.

S: By now we had done quite a bit of walking and had to carry our shopping so we went back and checked in to Avalon again to stay in the dorm. We dropped our groceries off, marked with our name and room number and saw our little dorm for the first time. Lesley and I have the double bunk and there is a spiral staircase to an upstairs alcove for the other two people. A little wooden shelf area and two chairs complete the picture. The en suite is minute, but all we need. L: We were not given towels so we will have to ask for those, I did not bring as I had no space, I only have a travel/camping towel. The bedding is new and spotless, but I made the mistake of looking at the duvet inner and felt a bit disgusted.

I have been blogging while Steve has caught up on the e-mails and followed up on a few queries regarding jobs and the permit application, but now I hear the gentle sounds of snoring coming from the top bunk and it is only 4pm local time. It will take a few days for us to feel rested again.

We will go down to fetch our bags later and cook something for ourselves in the kitchen which is something we were not able to do at Wildebeest so it is a few weeks since I made as much as a sandwich.

Thank you all for your messages and e-mails with all the lovely things that you always say, we are so enjoying all of them. We will answer soon now that we have signal and data etc, love and miss you all. Mwa.

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Out of Africa ……..

Day 114 –

L: Brrrrr, I was really cold this morning. We got up fairly early and came to have breakfast.
There was no power in camp so no toast, only bread and everything that could be done on the gas. The water in camp is also still a problem so now there are great buckets of water in all the bathrooms to fill up the toilets so that they can flush. The owners are really being put to the test and have a wedding of over 100 people for Saturday, let’s hope everything is working properly by then.

S: We are still using battery power to do all the researching that we need.
Lesley went to shower and there was no cold water so it was scalding hot. I waited for later instead.

We have still not had any correspondence from the visa place……..and we need to pay for the tickets tomorrow.

L: There are 3 ladies from P.E. In S.A. And they are really into birds so I don’t feel so alone. Debbie, Judy and Sandy are really friendly.

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Lunch was a bit of a challenge as only certain things are made on the gas so we booked for the buffet for tonight.

4pm and still no power…….I opened my I-pad and yay!!! there is an e-mail from the embassy saying that I can collect my passport. We presume that the permit is in it and that we are good to go. The 2 – 5 day for the priority is up tomorrow so they just made it.

S: I will take a bus and a taxi to town to fetch it for Lesley and make sure it is in order and then try to get the tickets paid for so that we can take advantage of the cheaper flight. We are really hoping and praying that this all works out.

L: We are really keen to have a night or so in Edinburgh, if we can find somewhere reasonable to stay and then will take a train, we think, to visit Steve’s sister, Nicky in Hitchin. This is all so exciting, especially for me as I have never been out of Africa.

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S: We were enjoying the buffet with only the solar lights on when finally all the power came back on. Now, the race to make sure that everything is fully charged in case it happens again.

We will have an early night as I need to get to the bus early in the morning.

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Day 115 – Happy Birthday, Kevin. God bless XX

S: I got up really early, emptied my backpack of anything not needed and set off to town to fetch Lesley’s passport. The total bus cost into town and back was only KSH 200 instead of the taxi at KSH 3600.

I arrived at the visa place and went to collect the passport, all in a sealed plastic envelope. I was flabbergasted to learn that they had rejected the permit for Lesley!!! I sent Lesley an e-mail with the bad news and now we would have to miss out on the flight that we had booked.

I felt shattered and came home by bus again.

When I got back, we went through the document with Lynita (who studied law) and found that this application does not seem to apply to us, or we have not supplied all the relevant information or supporting documentation required.
The form has so many spelling mistakes and is so vague too. One of the objections seems to be that there is no proof that Lesley is my wife even though they had the original Unabridged Marriage and Birth certificates.

L: We had an early lunch, as Steve had missed breakfast and went through the forms again. Lynita suggested that we should try for a tourist permit and send my passport away again…….

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Steve went for an afternoon sleep as by now he was feeling exhausted. I went to shower as once again we are battling with water issues.

I chatted to Sandy, Debbie and Judy and they tried to cheer me up.

When Steve woke, we had tea and Lynita brought us a huge brownie that she had bought in town to make up for our bad day. That was so sweet of her.

The P.E. ladies had booked for the buffet for tonight and said that we should all sit together, a whole South African crowd.

We spent the rest of the day back on the computer and informing the girls of the latest detour…….

Day 116 – Happy Birthday to Candy. Xxxx

L: I woke up today and decided that we should move on. I really don’t want to send my passport away from here, again. I suggested to Steve that we fly to Dublin, Ireland as soon as possible. Steve has his Irish passport and I can go in with my South Africa passport. I have never been off the African continent and Steve has been in London for a day on the way to the States, long ago…… so it will be really new for us. We can also start the permit application appeal from there once we have made sense of all the requirements.

S: We went up for breakfast and after that, started researching for tickets to Ireland. We have booked and paid for one flying out of Nairobi late tomorrow night.

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L: We were so surprised to see Rod, who we met here long ago…….He was even more surprised to see that we are still here. We met his wife, Susie and their two little ones and had a catch up. Rod works in Kenya.

I really want to have a shower, but the water is off and on again so I will have to time it correctly.

Finally, we both had water for our showers. Now this afternoon it is pouring again. Luckily all our washing is done and dried so we can pack our suitcases ready for the next leg of our journey.

Steve spent a lot of time looking for a place for the first night in Dublin so now that is organised too. We will be able to go by bus.

Rod and Susie offered to take us for pizza at Galleria, but we have booked for the buffet, pity.

Our last night in Nairobi, yay……..

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The countdown ……

Day 111 – Happy Birthday, Garron :-))

S: We had breakfast and sat up on the deck waiting for the sun to shine. Our mattresses in the dome tent are a bit damp after so much rain so we will have to take them out to dry.

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I phoned to speak to Simon re the ship and got no answer. After calling the Maritime Shipping Company, I was told that the ship has been in Mombasa for a few days, but has not docked yet, it will go in soon and probably only sail in 4 days time. All this time, the car has sat on the dockside in the container. We are really grateful that we did not wait there.
Simon finally returned my call and told me the same thing.

We have now had an e-mail with the Lading Bill which we had to check, luckily, as the Vin numbers were all wrong. Now they can apply for the car insurance while it travels on the ship.

L: I started taking out the mattresses and Ian who organises the safaris came and sorted everything out. We now have a new tent, 2 thick mattresses each, lots of blankets and pillows. It is now so plush that we have a separate tent for all our bags.

I have really wanted to get out of camp and go for a walk, but each time I get ready, it pours with rain, so I just have to walk around the lovely gardens at Wildebeest campsite instead.

S: We are spending time researching employment opportunities – I have had a few leads, and then the air flights etc again.

Two o’clock in the afternoon and the frogs in the huge pond below the restaurant are making a lot of noise!!

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L: This was clearly as they knew what was coming……..The rain is bucketing down and just does not stop. We are all huddled up on the deck for the late afternoon and evening. Steve has sent a recording of the frogs to the girls on What’s App – Heather says it sounds like a zoo and it is getting louder as the rain drums on the tin roof.

S: We are dreading going back to the tent as the mattresses are so high now that they are against the canvas sides of the tent, past the plastic protection part which is only a few cms up from the groundsheet.

We had ordered the buffet and it was great to have a warm meal in the cold. We met up with Del and Hazel again, back from their safari and have now met Jade and Hayley also from the UK. We have quite a lively bunch here and everyone is so friendly which helps to pass the time.

Off to see if we can find a dry spot to lay our heads. FUN!!

Day 112 –

L: We stayed dry, more or less, and warm, so that was lucky. I think that we will have to lessen the mattresses to make sure we do not get wet though.

The sun is bright already at 7 am so it looks promising. We see that Cape Town is expecting a big freeze again……..! brrrrrr.

S: We had a call from our shipping agent, now wanting us to settle our account – it has taken him a week to confirm the outstanding balance.  So after breakfast, we walked the 3 kms to the mall. I took pics of 2 little children getting water out of a muddy hole next to the road. The boy was 9, the little girl only 3 – left alone next to the water. It is so sad to see that they don’t have access to clean water, even in the suburbs of Nairobi.

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We went on to do the banking at the centre. Lesley needed another pair of Capri trousers so we did that too and then had a really nice lunch and browsed the Nakumatt supermarket for some treats.

L: We did not need too much, which was just as well, as we were walking back the 3 kms. It was pretty warm, but a nice walk.

We read and did our researching up on the deck afterwards. We had bought croissants in town so I just had soup and Steve, a drink. After all that rain, it was a beautiful evening and there are not too many people left in camp, so it was nice and quiet.

Day 113 –

L: What a lovely warm day, today. Yes, able to enjoy the African sun again………

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S: Still waiting for the permit and the site to track it is not updated at all…….I found a really cheap flight on Qatar airways to Edinburgh, which leaves after midnight on Sunday so we took a chance and booked it as it is a savings of about R8 000 for us. We have to pay it by Friday morning, so we are really praying that we will be sorted in time.

There has been a major problem with the water pump from the water tank in camp so it has been a day of trying to get the water to shower etc, but hopefully everything will be working again by tonight.

L: We had a light lunch as we booked for the buffet for tonight. I played a few games of pool and we sat on the deck working on the computer and I-pad and watching the news and a few programmes. It is really chilled, but we are still not used to sitting in one place for so long.

The buffet was lovely and it is so nice to sit in t-shirts until late in the evening though we are thinking of everyone back home in the chilly weather. Remember, it will soon be spring for you and we will be going into the cold……..

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Please permit ….

Day 108 –

L: So, now I realise that I am clearly not as young as I thought. The thin mattress that we were supplied with (Steve’s was thicker, though he offered to swop with me), was too flat on the hard floor. I tossed and turned all night and it was a bit chilly too. Old campers that we are, we only realised later that when the tent was set up for us, the back flaps were left unzipped.

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Our little house under the trees

I thought I was hearing things as I heard lions. We discovered that you can hear them from the national park in certain conditions.

We took our time at breakfast and it was a little overcast so we stayed in the lounge and on the deck for most of the morning.

It is pretty frustrating that the Embassy offers an App to follow the progress of your visa application yet it has not been updated once.

We had a really nice hamburger for lunch as we decided not to go for the buffet tonight.
We have had a lot of rain this afternoon and saw a full double rainbow over the whole campsite. Steve is making use of this time to research air-tickets and job opportunities for when we manage to get to the U.K.

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I felt tired all day and eventually we went and relaxed in the tent during the rain. I have now been supplied with a thicker mattress and another pillow, luxury!!

The campsite sure is filling up and will be at capacity for Saturday night. We hear that a family that was going from Nairobi to Mombasa by train was told that the train was cancelled and would now have to fly there. No explanation was given for why the train was cancelled, but they will refund the money. It was interesting chatting to Sarah (here with her family) who works for a charity educating Kenyans and trying to get the mothers here to stand up against their daughters being circumcised as is their custom.

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We met Alice from the U.K. And some of the other girls and chatted over supper. The girls are all from universities in the U.K that organise funding and then come and spend a few weeks in Kenya to see where the money goes, paying for their own trips.

S: Off to bed……..
Day 109 – Congratulations on your engagement, Neil and Elana (my niece that does all the postings and maps for us on FB). So excited for you guys.
Happy Birthday, Daphne. God bless.

S: I was really cold last night, but Lesley said that she was warm enough. L: That is because I don’t sleep with my whole wardrobe on me and my cases were next to me blocking the draught.

S: After breakfast we sat in the lounge watching the news and surfing the net.

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L: What “funny weather”. It was overcast, then sunny and now we are having torrential rain and thunder. There are so many people here and we are all crowded on the deck for shelter.
There is a big group of Dutch people working with children in Kenya and we are told that there will be another 40 students from the U.K. tonight.

There are Spanish, Israelies, Germans, Australians and English so a real collection of us.

Day 110 – Happy Birthday, Molly. XX

L: Up and about now and the weather has cleared. We ate breakfast, showered and spent time enjoying the sunshine.

We are still researching flights etc and a young chap named Michael suggested that we use the train if we fly to Edinburgh first. That would be nice as we could spend a couple of days in Scotland too and explore.

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S: Our days at the moment are following the same pattern as we wait for news of Lesley’s permit application. We cannot book anything until we have it so the challenge we have set ourselves is to get to London in the cheapest way possible. So far the best option is to fly from Nairobi via Qatar to Edinburgh, Scotland and then catch a train to London. Only downside is the 9 hour layover in Qatar. But we still have some people working on it for us as well so maybe that will change.

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The ship with our container was supposed to leave today, but we have not heard anything yet so tomorrow, being Monday, we have to contact our agent and find out what the progress is.

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The car contained …….

Day 105 –

L: And everything worked, what a pleasure. We slept well with the air-con working, the fan on and the mozzie net around the bed as there are a lot of mosquitos here at the moment as it is so humid. The Insta-hot shower was ok, but not very hot, but the sun is shining already.
Last night I washed the things that we want to take with overseas and they dried overnight in the shower cubicle. Steve was even motivated (with a lot of encouragement from wifey) to shave :-))

S: Breakfast was identifiable and that says a lot. Not bad at all, except the waitress asked why we did not touch the shriveled sausage that the Kenyans seem to love so much, ha ha.

L: We chatted to the manager Engar, he was very interested in our trip, he has not been elsewhere in Africa. He was really kind saying that we can wait out here for a while, using the pool, our room and grounds until we find out if we will still be staying in Mombasa tonight. However, they have a whole group of students here for Wednesday night so if we are here that long, we will have to find another place to stay.

S: I have sent out an e-mail for employment using a contact from South Africa as we hope to arrive in the U.K. in a week or two. We will also apply at the recruitment agencies in the U.K. so will start researching those. L: Just a mere continent away…….

S: Now we wait….. We have sorted out our things and expect a call from Simon.

Yay, Simon has called us to come into town to meet with him as he now needs our original Carnet de Passage papers for the car, oh and the address of someone living in Hamburg where the car needs to end up. Interesting, this is a new regulation. Luckily Lesley’s brother lives there.

L: We paid the bill at Leinmach and told them that we may be back, but are not sure.

He told us to drive in to Moi Road where the huge tusks are (like a bridge over the entire road). Now, in Mombasa, those 9 kms took nearly an hour and every time you see a traffic cop you know that you will be delayed further.

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We parked on the side of the busy street and called Simon. When Steve put the phone down, I said that he didn’t tell him where or what to look for us. S: Yeah, but we stick out like a sore thumb!! L: And there he is, he found us.

S: Ok, now Simon has our original papers and apparently a Loading Order and he said that we should wait for twenty minutes. We parked at a coffee shop next door and went in for fruit salad and ice-cream. It was supposed to have nuts and chocolate sauce, but no matter how hard we looked, we could not find that. We told the waiter that we would pay the bill with a tip, but we needed a free cup of coffee to justify the price. Cool, done.

As we sat for 3 hours, we eventually ordered lunch too. 3 o’clock, another day, gone?

This is like waiting for a child to cut a tooth…… you know it is in there, somewhere, but all the hassle until it shows itself!!

Steve has called Simon again, he is on his way here……(I am a bit worried that he did not say which day).

S: I have researched a few hotels, here in town, in case we hand the car in today L: Ever hopeful. S: They range from $40 to $135 per night, including breakfast so we will have to see which is clean enough at the lowest possible price.

L: The girls have both sent messages to us saying that we should be on the beach enjoying the last of the African sun, yeah, that would be good.

S: We finally saw Simon and his colleague and they have the Loading Document so things could still happen tonight…….In the meantime we can go and settle ourselves somewhere in town.

L: We went to see the New Palm Tree Hotel and let’s just say, there is a lot growing there, but nothing that resembles a palm tree inside or out. KSH 3 100 for the night, but I was fearful of the roof coming down on the bed as it is so damp and mouldy and saggy, no please no, Steve. Funny how men become blind when looking at bathrooms and scruffy rooms.

S: The next one on the list was chalk and cheese, but now they were stuck on the KSH 6 000 for the night, but I must admit it did look a whole lot better. We booked in and took everything from the car that we want to keep with us if we hand the car in tonight. We had 2 porters and the receptionist, Steve and I carry everything in, but we usually carry all that ourselves.

L: There are 2 old armchairs, and a table, TV and comfortable bed with air-con and Wi-Fi. At about 7pm I suggested to Steve that we do not go out even if Simon calls us as it is not safe at night. We went to the dining room and just had a bowl of soup and toast.

Finally Simon called and said that he would call us before 8am tomorrow morning. We were both so hot so I went to shower first and came out and told Steve that it was like using a dropper to feed a baby bird. When he went, he was livid and went straight down to reception. They sent a guy to show us how to work it, oh gee, can’t work out why the water is not running. We finally got the key for next door’s shower – sounds familiar.

The TV was snowy and not even a news broadcast.

As soon as Steve got into bed, I realised that the air-con was off. Seriously, they turn it off at 10pm…….? We were just too tired to go back down to reception so sleeping hot was what it was to be……

I woke up at 2am and I was so hot, I felt like I could not breathe. Even opening the window, did nothing. The humidity in Mombasa is really high.

I went down to the pitch dark reception and eventually found the night watchman who informed me that the air-con switch is the one with the red light next to the front door – seems that got switched off while Steve and the maintenance man were testing the shower, grrrrrrr.
Day 106 – Happy Birthday Leon. Have a super time, :-)). Wishing little Abigail all the best for her 4th birthday. Xxxx

L: It felt like I had only just gone to sleep and Steve was waking me up at 7am as Simon was calling us before 8……. And it was hot. The air-con is set at its lowest temperature 18 degrees, which is still too warm.

S: The shower next door was like a child’s watering can, but a whole lot better than the one in our room. Really, at this price, you expect a bit better.

We packed up and went down to breakfast which was pretty good.

Back up to the room and we are still waiting to hear from Simon. Now at 10am you are expected to be out or pay for another day so we hurriedly carried everything to the car – no porters in sight this time, packed the car and waited in reception.
The manager discussed the shower problem and promised that the next time we visit, it will be soooo much better, right.

S: I phoned Simon, again, as still no word and he hung up on me and then never answered. It starts feeling a bit creepy. Lesley had taken a letterhead from his file yesterday so I called and explained that I was looking for Simon. The phone went dead, but shortly after that, wow, Simon called, saying he would be there in 3 minutes. Half an hour later, we were following him away from the hotel to the shipping yard. We stopped for them to buy lashing straps where they told us to stay in the car so that they were not charged “mazunga” (white man) prices.

Just before the river crossing there was a container lying on its side, the truck had taken the bend too fast. Delayed.

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L: It seemed like forever, but we finally got close to where all the containers are stacked up. Can you believe it, it is finally happening.

How many men does it take to stuff a car into a container, I counted 8. Simon had driven off without a word while we had to take everything that we wanted to keep out and put it on the dusty floor. I asked if they had blocks to use as a ramp for Steve to drive the car up the 4 inches to the container floor, but no. It was quite scary directing him as the car slid badly on metal floor once inside and nearly clipped the door. The guys were directing Steve to stay in the middle of the container, but I wondered how he would get out. He battled to squeeze out of the car and wearing a white t-shirt had been a mistake.

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S: Now we wait, once more, for Simon to return. He had gone to fetch the customs official. Noon and it was sweltering with no shade in the yard and nowhere to sit. I had to disconnect the two car batteries and tie them up so as not to cause a short.

Ok, now we are ready with Simon and the customs guy confirming the Vin number corresponds to the Carnet De Passage certificate. They sealed up the container. L: I felt really sad as our little car had brought us over 16 000 kms and now we were leaving it to continue without it. It is really hard not to have all our clobber with us too. We had messaged the girls to say that things were moving.

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We piled all of our luggage into Simon’s car and he stopped at a garage and left us at the little cafe as we were not allowed in the port nor our luggage in his boot, which we wouldn’t have wanted to leave with anyone.

L: I got brave and bought pre-made hamburgers for us and a coldrink. I was very amused when Steve’s coldrink spilled all over his pants because of a gust of wind. Luckily, he could change as he had all his clothes with him. Steve saw our container (with the car) drive by.

Another hour later and Simon fetched us and then confusion reigned as he thought that we wanted to visit his office and we thought he was taking us to the bank to make the payment for the car. In the end he only wanted to be reimbursed for the money he had used from his account for port charges etc. we paid him in dollars.

Ok, now Simon agreed to drop us at the airport. We were stopped by police and they thought we would have them search the car. I did my usual helloooooo how are you and they let us through.

We arrived at the airport at 3pm and the strain of the last few days made me feel exhausted. I had been so carefree and cheerful as Steve had been stressed, but now here, I wanted to sit in a heap.

We compared all three airway fares and chose to Fly Five Forty airways.

S: we have not travelled by air for a few years, but now we are not allowed to take water with us, what??

L: They let me sneak a bottle in and when Steve said that he was diabetic they said that we could take another bottle with us.

It must have looked really strange when we had a muffin and an ice-cream, but after all the stress your sugar can drop so it is safe.

We let the girls know that we would be flying soon and then heard that we were delayed an hour. Oh well, we are so used to African time……..

And another hour later, now we can board.

What a small little plane Five Forty has, only 50 seats, two on each side and really narrow seats and no leg room. The flight was a mere 45 minutes at KSH15000. (R1 875 for the two of us).

We landed and the driver organised by Wildebeest Campsite called to say that he was waiting for us, such service.

It is a long drive and there was a lot of traffic on the way from the airport. Simon called to say that the car has been scanned and will be ready to be loaded tonight or tomorrow.

Steve is sorting out everything in the reception while I am warm on the deck with a cup of tea and writing the blog. We had pre-ordered soup and a sandwich too. It is cold here and such a change from Mombasa.

Wildebeest is so full that we checked in to one of the dormitories. Male and female share the dorm tents with 2 double bunks and 2 single beds. It was an interesting experience. Someone came in while we were sleeping and the receptionist put on both overhead lights, I’m awake!!
At 4.30 am one of the girls had to get up, get ready and leave to catch a plane and then we were awake at 6am again with everything starting at camp. Other than that, it was comfortable, but a bit chilly.

Day 107 –

S: I woke Lesley again and we went off to breakfast, a very familiar routine here at Wildebeest after spending so much time here. We greeted all the faces that we knew too, but no sign of the owners or Ryan today yet.

Charlie, the taxi driver came to drive us to the U.K. Visa application centre and it was long and rather hair-raising, but we got there. It was a major issue, security-wise to get in, but eventually we were both in.

L: While I stood in the queue, I noticed that to apply for the EEA permit would take up to 15 working days, but Priority applications only 2 to 5 working days, oh and Monday 25th August is a bank holiday.

We waiting in the line, and were called to hand in all our forms. I asked if we could have the application speeded up and the man at the desk said that it would cost £100 (R1 800), but that the Priority option does not apply for a permit. I asked if he could try to make that happen and after several minutes, he came back to say that we would have to go back out and add that to our online application. Ok, done and now we are back in the queue. Eventually after doing the biometrics (finger prints, photograph and signing), we were done. That took 2 hours and now we wait for an e-mail with the answer. We really hope and pray that we will not be held up here too long as this is not where we are wanting to spend our hard earned money……

Charlie was still waiting, happily snoring in the shade and we asked him to take us back to the shopping centre near the campsite. Done, but first, he stopped to check on the car that he was buying, while we waited for him, only in Africa……..

We had Chinese for lunch and then went to draw cash to deposit some of the money owed for the shipping costs. Simon says that the ship is not in yet and so the container is on the dockside.

After we were done, we decided to take a walk back to the campside, so we enjoyed the fresh air for the 3 km hike.

We have now been given a little dome tent set up with mattresses and bedding for the few nights while we wait. We saw Lynita and chatted to her and then met Ryan in the lounge to chat about our trip to Mombasa and back.

We are now catching up with our admin, blog and the news for all the current events.

We will have the buffet for supper tonight again and relax on the deck as our wait starts again.

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Beach break ….

Day 103 –

S: I fell asleep, fully clothed, as soon as I lay on the bed. L: That was 8pm, but I woke him up to get him to get unchanged, but the rest of the night we were disturbed. The hotel is big with no lifts so the stairwells are noisy with talking and laughter and footfalls until 1.30 am.
S: Besides that, we slept, off and on, but this morning before 7am two guys arrived on motorcycles at the church next door and proceeded to set up the most raucous sets of speakers. L: We love to hear praise songs, but this was really over the top.

On the way to breakfast, we noticed that our car was parked in so we asked the receptionist if she would please ask them to move it as we were leaving straight after breakfast.
Breakfast was ok, but nothing fancy.

S: We went up to get all our things from the room, started the car and waited……… After asking the receptionist repeatedly to please call the driver of the car, Lesley went back in to the breakfast room to find out whose car it was and only then did the receptionist “catch a wake-up”. So we had, patiently, waited for 20 minutes.

L: We finally managed to get going at 8.20 am and set off with clear skies above. We only had 165 kms to go to get to Mombasa so thought it would be a good drive. Wow, the amount of trucks on the road was incredible and this was a Sunday. We met the “blitz-vinnig”, really fast busses coming from Mombasa, they must leave at 6am.

The weather turned to cloudy and damp and then it really poured about 40 kms from Mombasa. The visibility was so bad, but luckily, most of the drivers were sensible and even used headlights!! The rain made us decide that we would rather stay in an hotel as we didn’t want to have to pack up a wet tent for the ship trip etc.

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We got into Mombasa at lunch time. Town is scruffy and dirty so we drove through, past the river, towards the beachfront. We drove through a beautiful suburb and arrived at the Nyali Beach Resort. Steve went in and was very disappointed when he heard that it was KSH 8 000 ($90) so he climbed back into the car. I felt at that price the bathrooms should be good so I went in to find them. Yep and so the restaurant should be good too. I looked at the menu and went to call Steve. Once we ordered our food at the Mandap Restaurant (for them to bring outside), we went down towards the shore to see the sea!!!! It has been nearly two months so it felt lovely to feel the salty breeze. It is really hot and humid here too now that the clouds have cleared. We had some cool drinks and lunch and it was lovely on the patio.

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I heard 2 guys speaking Afrikaans so on our way out, I stopped to ask if they knew of any affordable places to stay (this hotel was fully booked too). They were so friendly and then told us that they were leaving really early in the morning so they could move in to one suite (2 single beds) and we could use their other room. How nice of them. We chatted for a while, saying that we did not want to inconvenience them, but they insisted. We said that we would meet them at reception when they finished eating to check with management. The receptionist would not go for it and by then we felt that we should find something else so we said goodbye to Wimpie and Pierre and thanked them for their kind gesture.

During our conversation, we mentioned that we were hoping to stop off in Cairo for a few days on the way to the U.K. They work all over the world, in shipping security and said that Egypt is not a place to holiday at the moment as there is a lot of unrest and uncertainty with police and army checkpoints and roadblocks everywhere. We had been unsure whether to go so that seems like a red flag too.

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S: Finding accommodation was a mission!!!! We went in to about 8 places, all way too expensive, but luckily, got the number for the Sun-Sweet Resort. It does not have the word “beach” in it so it does not have the view nor the prices that the others do. After trying various rooms, one without a toilet-seat, we now have one though the air-con has not yet been fixed nor the sound on the TV, hmmm. Other than that, it is clean and ok for the price of KSH 3 500 per night including breakfast.

We have still not heard from the shipping agent so I will call him first thing in the morning and hopefully start the ball rolling. I feel a bit anxious as nothing is decided, but Lesley tries to point out that from the time we left home, 16 314 kms!!! ago, nothing was planned and we have just followed where the road leads. L: What fun. Can you believe that we have done more than16 000 kms in Africa in just over 3 months, what a ride.

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And, on that note, I persuaded Steve to take me to see the sea or even the river and to get out of the room for a while as they were supposed to send a technician for the air-con and the TV, both not working,

We left and saw a patch of blue at the end of the road, but you cannot really get to the beachfront as all the sites are privately owned, mostly by the hotels and resorts.

I love the signposts that are dotted around saying “Plot Not For Sale”.

We got to the bridge over the river and drove over it and saw a sign for a restaurant called Moorings. Following the signs through all the dark alleys and down to the riverfront, but what a great find. It is a floating restaurant (the only one in Kenya) and you walk down a gangplank and sit on the deck which rises and falls with the motion of the water. I loved it.

There was a boat sailing back down to the bridge, taking the passengers on a booze cruise with the music pumping. We watched the sun go down with our drinks and delicious burgers and not a mozzie in sight, how special.

Back at the hotel and it should be called Sun Sweat as it is still 30 degrees and the air-con technician will only be here tomorrow. We have asked to be moved as we took the place thinking that there was air-con in the rooms……. Ok, so now we have a working air-con, but no toilet seat (and it doesn’t flush) so I suggested that they give us the key for the next door suite for when we need the bathroom? Done. I tell you, things are peculiar in Africa………

Day 104 – Happy Birthday, Liz. Bless you xxxx

L: It has been so quiet here so I nearly fell out of bed when the racket started at midnight. I opened our door and told the kids that had just arrived in their suite to please quieten down, where the parents are, nobody knows.

A few hours later and it sounds like rocks being thrown, oh that is driving rain on the metal air-con box outside and the rattling window as it shakes in its frame. I sure hope that this building stands as it is badly made and never fully finished. It has open-ended passages and the stair-cases are skew with the top floor staircase made of rough cement, no tiles.

S: We are fully awake and really hot as the air-con seems to be at the lowest allowed temp of 18 degrees. So, we have been running between the two rooms to use the toilet each time and now to try. the shower – again, no hot water. Even in this heat, putting cold water on your head is never pleasant.

I phoned to speak to Simon and seems he was waiting before doing the Loading Order, for the paperwork from Ryan. I told him to go ahead, please, as it seems that Ryan is not going to be ready in time. We really hope that this will not delay us now…….

L: We had decided that since so little works in this hotel that we would have to find another place for tonight, but breakfast first.
How do you like your eggs? Both of us said, fried, over easy.
Half an hour later and we thought that we had someone else’s breakfast, but there was no-one else. Can you imagine a pancake, scrambled eggs, omelette and fried eggs in one – that was what we got, a pale yellow glob with a strip of bacon and the obligatory fried sausage of some description. Ugh. The juice was greenish so we skipped it and had coffee and tea and cornflakes with hot milk.

We handed in the keys and heard that you have to ask for a kettle of hot water to shower with as there is no piped hot water. Nice of you to tell us.
Once again, we tried to find the person who had parked us in. After 15 minutes seems the owner of the vehicle has left for the day. I told Steve that I could direct him out, just.
After a lot of back and forwarding, we were out, much to the surprise of the hotel staff.

S: We drove closer to where we would need to drop the car eventually and after finding places ranging from KSH 14 800 (R1 800) for a night we finally stumbled on the Leinmach Guesthouse with a special for August at only KSH 4 000 (R500) per night including air-con and breakfast. They showed us the room and I bumped my head on the top of the stairs, it is a place for midgets with smaller pockets – that will have to do.
We are amazed that there is no building-code in Kenya and clearly no-one uses a spirit-level to get their buildings straight.

Now to find that beach………

This is so weird. You see the big blue strip on the GPS, but when you get close there is a house or a huge double gate and fence blocking the access. Once, we managed to park the car and a guy came running down the road to tell us that if we walked from there, the car would not be safe. Sounds worse than home.

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L: Finally, we drove back down to Nyali Beach Resort, I love it there and went down through the grounds to get to the beach. The security guard asked us for our access pass. Nooooooo. You have to get a receipt from the restaurant or show the access to get to the sand, but it is a public beach. We gave up and went to the restaurant and had a lovely Beer Shandy. We ordered lunch as it takes a long time to come. So now I am typing the blog and jealously watching the crowd of ladies who have been in the water for the last half hour………..I will make a plan, soooooon.

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Lunch was good and while we ate our waiter went to tell the security that we were his friends now. How super to have our feet in the sand with the sun on our faces and then, that swim, YAY. With all our bags on the beach, we dunked separately, even with the security guard standing on the patio above us. There were so many people trying to sell us souvenirs and a lot of fishermen on the beach, so rather safe than sorry.

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We spent a couple of hours there and left back to Leinmach Guest House and it was so hot again that we put our things in the room, left the air-con on and went to swim in the 14 metre long pool, which is just stunning. We tried to order some ice-cream, but no, only fruit salad here, like most of Kenya.

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S: Simon called about the ship, some more red tape, so we really hope to have a date and time by tomorrow.

After sorting out the things in the car that we are leaving to go by ship and packing our bags that we will take with us when we fly to the U.K, we went into the lounge to catch up on the news. We do not have a TV in our room. I did not feel like anything to eat so Lesley ordered soup and bread for herself.

L: A quick dip on the way back to the room and we will post the blog and some photos. We hope that tonight will be a bit more comfortable and that everything in the room, works.

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Mombasa bound ……

Day 101 –

L: Oh no, what happened, the blow-up mattress is flat – not the best way to wake up, tee hee.

We had breakfast and chatted to Phil from Germany and Cotra from Estonia, both of whom are traveling alone, we could not imagine that.

S: Today we had to start sorting out which clothes to keep and which to ship with the car, not an easy task. Lesley washed down the ground tent and dusted all the boxes while I pottered around.

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L: Yesterday we managed to talk to Nicole too so at least the girls have some idea of our next step.

I made chicken stir fry and noodles for Steve’s lunch and cooked up the mince for mine so that we have now emptied our freezer section of the camper fridge in preparation for the move.

We spent the afternoon surrounded by boxes and suitcases. It is really not easy to decide what to take and what we can do without when we have lived out of the entire car for over 100 days.

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We booked to have the buffet for the last time and it was really nice. We spent the evening chatting to 2 Australians, Bobby and Jade. Jade has done a lot of Africa, by herself all the way down to South Africa, using mostly public transport.

We also met Jack who is working for a company in the U.K. and travels mainly to Africa teaching them science and practical skills. They are all very interesting young people.

We have also met a couple from Spain – Maria and he is Francesca – we are surprised that they are going to Lamu, up from Mombasa where the recent fighting was.

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S: We also saw Ryan, Alan and Lynita, but Alan is not well so as we prepare to leave, we hope he will be healthy again, soon.

Bed could not come soon enough as we had done all that sorting after relaxing for a week.

Day 102 – Happy Birthday, Jill. God bless.

L: Not a good night’s sleep…….we woke at 3 am and were just about on the ground as that blow-up mattress seems to have given up the ghost. We did not want to use the compressor to pump it as Ryan is camped really close to us and it would disturb him. It was also cold so close to the ground. Oh well, the joys of camping.

We tried to find the owners, Alan and Lynita to say goodbye, but did not find them or the kids.

We were on the road just before 9 am, after our last breakfast at Wildebeest Eco camp.

Getting out of Nairobi was slow…….with an accident having to be cleared again and the police seeming to make more drama than headway. It took over an hour to clear the city, but once we were out on the open road, it was those masses of trucks and busses. The strange thing is that we are so used to pulling off into the white lane (here, the edge of the road) to make space for car after car, trucks and busses that misjudge their speed and need us to make a gap. We do not even get that nervous as we are so used to it, it becomes predictable. Don’t get me wrong, it is still really taxing for Steve.

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S: At one of the Stop-and-Go systems on the road with new tar being laid, we were told that we could proceed and ended up dodging all the on-coming traffic, often having to use the new road surface. There was a lot of chips of stone sprayed onto our windscreen too. It was pointless to moan at the flag guys as they probably don’t drive so don’t understand the danger.

We stopped for a tea break and it was amazing not to be bothered by curious onlookers all the while while boiling the kettle and enjoying our tea.

L: Finally, after a long 7 hours of driving, we reached Voi which was 337 kms from Nairobi. We turned off the road and drove out to see Lion’s Hill, a resort up a steep twisted road, but alas, they were full. They called to find out about other places, but they were way too expensive for us, KSH 10 000

The great thing was, that we saw a whole herd of elephants. We had also seen monkeys, baboons, zebras and a few buck, so a good day of nature.

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We turned back and drove to see about Desert Rose and after walking up 2 flights of stairs and again when we brought our things in, booked in at only KSH 2 000 (R 2 44)for bed and breakfast. It is basic, but clean with a tiny TV with 2 channels, but a comfortable bed, we think. As long as it does not deflate in the night, lol.

So now we are sitting in the restaurant with the very limited choices as half of the dishes are not available.

S: The food was pretty good, I had Chicken Tikka and chips and Lesley tried the Beef Stew with vegetables.

Back up to the room to capture the blog and sort out the few photos from today – oh, and no birds…….

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100 days …..

Day 99 –

L: Each day seems a bit colder and pretty damp too and we are feeling it in the ground tent, ha ha. Breakfast was nice with a big crowd on the deck and we now know quite a few of them so it is fun chatting. Last night we spent some time with three girls studying in the U.K., originally from Singapore. We also met Ritica, who has just finished her studies in the U.K and chatted late into the evening.

Once again, we are waiting for the quotes from the shipping agents. Steve called a few people again……

We were back and forward between the deck and the campsite as it is nice to stay in the lounge when it is cold and watch the news as well as use the computer comfortably under the shelter.

We had an early lunch, Steve with his usual sandwich and chips and I had the amazing Cream of Pumpkin soup. We have taken out some steak to force us to use it so we will braai tonight and hope that the rain stays away for that time.

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Finally, Simon, one of the shipping guys called Steve and then put the offer in writing so now we have a quote and amazingly, the cheapest option is to the Port of Hamburg in Germany (where my brother lives!!). I was so confused as he does not live at the sea and then we worked out that the ship goes up the Elbe river to Hamburg. It is almost $200 cheaper than shipping to Greece or Turkey. It is still an unexpected expense and after wasting a lot of time in Africa which also cost a lot of money we have had a long look at our options and decided to cut our Europe leg quite drastically. So now, we are thinking, that since it takes nearly a month to get there, that we might just fly to the U.K. As the flights are cheaper than to anywhere else in Europe and put in applications for jobs and fetch the car in Germany when it arrives. It gives Steve a little longer to try and look for work while we wait. We are not sure if we will be able to pop in to Cairo for a few days too.

As you can see, there are many plans to make and we are just trusting the Lord to lead us in the right direction as north was not it………

Later, we went back to the lounge and started filling in the application for the E.E.A. Permit for myself (European Economic Area) as Steve has an Irish passport and I need this to enter with him. It is a long online application now, where you fill in so much history plus all the places you have been over the last ten years, which takes up a lot of space on the form. All that to get an appointment. In the mean time, it seems that we can ship the car in a week and will now have to ensure that our forms are done in time.

Later we chatted to Ryan as he might put his car in with ours. We had invited Ritica to join us for a South African “braai” (BBQ) and so invited Ryan, who is our neighbour in the campsite, too. We started our fire with the gas-poker and used the last of our charcoal. Ryan added his wood to the fire. We had a lovely time and braaied our steak and made some couscous with mushrooms and peas. We don’t have any more fresh veg and are trying to use our stocks as we are not sure what we are allowed to leave in the car when we ship.

Ritica is flying out in the early hours of tomorrow morning so will leave by taxi at midnight. Luckily the Singaporean girls offered to host her until then so she would not be alone in reception.

We said goodbye and chatted to Heather (Nicole was busy) on Zello now that our signal was ok. It was great to catch up and tell her what we knew of our plans for the next while……….

Off to bed to stay warm.

Day 100 –

L: Can you believe it – 100 days on the road – and still sane!!!!!! Well some of us…….

We have done well and still living out of a suitcase.

S: We had breakfast and got on with all the various applications and having to scan the car documents to the shipping agents. We now have an interview at the British Embassy for next week so it seems as if we will be driving down to Mombasa on the weekend to get the car sorted and ready to pack into the container as the ship arrives on the 20th.

There was a lot of time spent on the documentation for everything and still more to come.

L: I have been nagging for sushi after not having since leaving home and we have heard about a Japanese restaurant here so we went at 6pm which was lucky as they only opened at 6. There were two chaps speaking Afrikaans, they were from Johannesburg.

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Well, we were treated to a big platter of sushi and it was amazing. I had green tea, Steve stuck to juice and a cappuccino afterwards while I had a scoop of chocolate ice-cream. I think the last ice-cream was many moons ago in Zanzibar. Wow.

Back to the campsite to catch up with the blog and posting. Tomorrow we will have to start cleaning and sorting the car and documenting all the contents.

We have warmed up a bit today and it has stayed dry so that is a nice change. Night, night all. Zzzzzzzz

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Waiting for our ship to come in ……

Day 97 – Happy Birthday, Nidia and little Maia. God bless. Xxxx

S: We slept in the ground tent last night. I said to Lesley not to worry with the thick duvet as it was sure to be warm, luckily she never listened as it was quite nippy in the early hours of this morning and lovely to have a nice warm duvet.

L: Breakfast here is so nice and freshly made to your order compared to so many places where the food is served from the buffet, all cold and congealed. We sat for ages on the deck enjoying coffee and tea and chatting to everyone. There are three young Koreans who we met last night as well as a German guy and a lot of really nice Americans especially Rob and Eric. One of the Korean girls came back after breakfast to give me a pen with a little figurine in the Korean national dress to say goodbye, though we explained that we will be here still another day at least.

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S: Ryan, the other South African, who has been here for 4 months and is also shipping out, gave me the details of the shipping agent he used, in case we need it.

We caught up on the expense sheets and blog and pics and Lesley watched TV and crocheted while I tried to get the shipping agent on the phone.

L: Last night, we were saying to Alan and Lynita (the owners) that after so many days on the road, Wildebeest still rates as one of the best places to stay. Lynita asked why not the best?? Lapa Lange near Mariental, Namibia is the other contender for top spot.

Oh, and the showers, so nice and warm especially with it being overcast, what a treat.

We stayed in the shelter on the deck for so long that we decided to order lunch instead of doing it ourselves. Steve had his first toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwich in forever and a plate of perfect hot chips, so he was smiling. On a day like today, soup for me…….carrot and ginger to warm the cockles.

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Later we sat at our campsite and enjoyed some more tea and after a few e-mails Steve managed to speak to one of the shipping agents. Fantastic, now we wait for prices and dates. We also had to measure the bakkie to see if it would fit the 20 foot container – which it will.

S: We enjoyed the buffet for supper once again and huddled under the shelter of the deck as it was still drafty and wet.

We have been messaging our girls with our intentions, but nothing is sure as yet…….

Day 98 –

L: I cannot believe how I slept. Steve woke me up when he got up and I realised that I had not even heard the rain the entire night. We went off for breakfast and stayed up on the deck for quite a while as it was still cold.

We chatted to Ryan and said goodbye to Dave and Heather.
We met John and Jill and spent some time with Jill while we had lunch, soup again for me and a sammie for Steve.

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Steve called our shipping agent again to remind him that we are still waiting for a quote, but still no e-mail.

So, all in all, today was really laid-back as we wait, once again. We caught up on watching all the news on current affairs and a few other programs.

Tonight, we will be having their lovely buffet again even though we really need to cook the rest of our meat from our freezer in preparation for unpacking and switching off the fridge and freezer when we put the car on the ship – whenever that will be.

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It is only about 500 kms to Mombasa so we can get there in a couple of days when we know dates, but it is nice to stay here when it is so comfortable. The ground tent was a bit wet this morning as the Australian design is not suited for rain, but with the blow-up mattress at least we stayed dry.

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Great Gazelle …..

Day 95 – Women’s Day in South Africa and a very Happy Birthday to my cousin, Yvonne and to my old pal, Ann, now in Australia – God bless you all, Ladies xx.

S: We got up fairly early, I had slept for 8 hours straight. I made coffee and I knocked over the little gas stove on my way out of the room as I had put it on the floor behind the door. Lesley got a bit of a fright and jumped up and down like Rumpelstiltskin telling me that she knew it would happen eventually. I got to wipe up the kettle water.

L: We left at 7h40 this morning and got onto the terrible rocky road almost immediately. It was a teeth-shattering drive for 120km into the town of Merille. There was not too many vehicles, but those that we did see were packed to the gunnels, as usual, now even with people clinging to the very top of the trucks. Luckily there were no bridges to go under. The people wrap up warmly against the early morning chill in this desert region.

Some of the trucks and smaller cars drive so fast that we saw two separate vehicles, having just rolled, where we were only managing to do about 30km/hour.

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Oops!

And so began our day of climbing up hills and down dales ranging from about 700 metres above sea-level and back up to 2 566m at the highest point that we noticed. It feels so strange, but luckily the Colt takes it all in her stride. We know that everything is getting shaken up and found the evidence of what we heard rolling down the roof yesterday when we set up camp tonight. 3 of the nuts holding the bracket of the rooftop tent were missing. Steve borrowed one or two from elsewhere on the tent and we hope that will hold us.

We find our little Tyre Pressure Gauge, which we call Tamagotchi – you may remember about 20 years ago when this little handheld computer game used to beep incessantly until you reset it, saying that it had been fed, or had it’s nappy changed etc. Every time that we inflate or deflate the tyre-pressures, the thing squeaks and when the battery starts to go flat, it really squeals……!!! I say to Steve – doesn’t Tama need recharging and a few hours later, it starts. As you can imagine, it is really a bonus having one as you are alerted to any tyre problems.

S: Talking of tyre problems, we are back in Kenya and today alone have gone through about 12 Police Check-Points with those lethal spikes to stop anyone from driving through without being checked. They are never clearly marked and if you are lucky enough to be at 60, have to slow down really quickly so as not to get spiked, oh and then the policeman or woman saunters over and talks nonsense for 5 minutes before dragging the spikes away, annoying………

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L: We digress – after the awful 120 kms, the roads were tarred, thanks to the Chinese and traveling was a breeze. The Chinese must have had a special on the white paint and a lack of yellow as here, bizarrely the middle line is yellow and the outside ones are white, strange. Steve said that he noticed it on the way up. I knew something was wrong, but it took me a while to work out what. We decided, now that we are used to driving far each day, that we would push on and have a shorter distance to drive into Nairobi tomorrow.

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We had seen various birds of prey, dik-diks (buck) and camels as well as cows, sheep and goats, but suddenly I asked Steve to stop – there was the most amazing Gazelle standing on two legs and reaching up to munch the top branches, it looked as tall as a man. It stood like that for a good ten minutes, yes, I got Steve to wait patiently while I took a dozen pics. Wow, it made my day.

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It felt so surreal to be crossing the equator again when we are mainly heading north, but cross it we did. We stopped quickly to take a photo with us heading south this time.

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We were looking for a place to have a good rest and a meal so that we wouldn’t need to worry much for supper when I remembered seeing the Elephant Corridor Resort on the way up. We stopped there and ordered beef and chips and coffee. What an unusual place – the tables and chairs are constructed from cement and then painted dark green to blend in with all the foliage and ornamental animals. Cushions are provided for a comfortable seat. The coffee came in 2 flasks and was enough for 2 cups each. The food was a massive plate of hot chips (so much better than Ethiopia) and beef done over a fire. It was really different and we enjoyed it. The only problem is that you are supposed to pre-order so the food took over an hour to be ready.

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Yes!

S: We felt ok to carry on so we continued on the mostly good road, with a few lousy drivers, and got as far as Savage Camp in Sagana. It is along a twisty road, 1 km from town and you can park above the campsite as it is a really steep driveway. The setting is beautiful and we were told that we could camp using one of their tents or flip our tent in the car park as they didn’t want us to drive on the grass.

I asked to see the rooms and after crossing the huge Tana River, where they do white-water rafting and kayaking, on a rickety old wooden bridge and puffing up all the stairs at 2 000m above sea-level, it was a real let-down. For KSH 4 650 (R570) you get 4 old single beds, all different styles and an old damp shower and toilet, but walk a mile with all your stuff, no thanks.

So now we are up in their car park with the tent zipped and flipped for only KSH 1 000 per person. We have had a couple of drinks, but are so full from lunch that we decided to skip supper altogether even though there is leftover pasta from last night.

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We still have no way of posting, but continue to update while everything is fresh in our minds.

Day 96 – Congratulations to Ian and Trish on your marriage. God bless you for all your years together.

S: So we had slept well in the rooftop tent even with a few bolts missing from the structure and in the car park. I made coffee while Lesley went down to take a few pics of the campsite.

L: We decided to make sweet corn fritters since we did not have far to go to Nairobi today. After that we went to shower and we both had cold showers and was so disgusted with the state of the bathrooms. Last night they were filthy and now they were merely hosed down so the entire ablution block was soaking wet. I spoke to Ann, the manager and told her that for KSH 1 000 per person, Wildebeest, Nairobi has stunning ablutions with warm water, beautiful camps and even includes breakfast. Here we paid the same to camp in a car park with filthy bathrooms and cold showers, ugh.

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S: The drive in to Nairobi was only 108 kms, but the traffic was bad and fast with everyone taking chances. In the actual city, it was chaos and extremely stressful for Lesley.
One of the things we find really dangerous is that due to various settlements springing up close to the city, the council here has you going from 100 km/hour down to 50 with hardly any warning with 3 little strips of bumps to slow you down and a raised “sleeping policeman” with a zebra-crossing for you to screech to a halt for the pedestrians and hope and pray that everyone behind you does the same. Can you understand the stress?

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L: I needed a minute to collect myself when we got back to the Galleria Nakumatt shopping centre in Nairobi, but it was lovely to see a decent shop again. Steve went off to get the SIM card, yay, connected to the world again and then we browsed the aisles of the shops and bought chocolate, that we have missed, some pastries for lunch and a few other essentials, including make-up base which Ethiopia has never heard of.

Back along that familiar road to the Wildebeest camp where everyone knows our names and speaks and understands English. We parked in the same site and went straight up to the deck restaurant to sort photos and catch up on the blog and get all the news. We could hand in our washing too. We had messaged the girls and Elana to say that we were back in civilization.
It is so good to be back here for a day or two until we hear news of a ship. Ryan, who we met before is still here also waiting to ship out. We also chatted to the owners, Alan and Lynita.

S: After a decent cup of coffee we are starting to feel normal again. We have also booked for the buffet tonight for supper so some decent food as well. Tomorrow we will start making enquiries for shipping. Ryan has already got a lot of contacts so between our source and his we should be able to arrange something soon.

Watch this space.

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