Oct 26th ; We were up at 4am and on the road by 5am. It was still dark but we had a long way to go today of we were going to meet Ben this evening.
The roads were hell again. Lots of potholes, lorries driving without any lights on and cyclists all over the road.
We made good time to the border, parked up and went to find Customs and Immigration.
Customs was empty, but there was a slip of papaer wedged into the door frame with a phone number in it. Patrick phoned it. It was the number for the customs Officer who had left the office to go and have a shower but said he would be back in 10 mins.
So off to Immigration to be stamped out, and then back to Customs to wait for the Officer.
Whilst we were waiting, we had a look around and there were lorries from Kenya parked everywhere, none of which seemed to be moving. One of the money changers started talking to us and told us that all of the lorries were waiting for Customs clearance. Some of them had been waiting for 3 days already!!
Great, this did not look too good for us getting through in a hurry!
The Customs Officer arived around 30 mins later and, taking his time, completed the Carnet and we were off in to Kenya.......
or so we thought!!!!!!!!!
As we crossed the border and rounded a corner there was even more lorries waiting to clear customs, but this time they were on BOTH sides of the road, so we were not going anywhere!!
Patrick was off - his blood was boiling and some rather rude words were coming out at a fast rate!
Patrick went for a walk to see what was going on. He came back about 10 mins later to tell me that one of the lorries at the Kenya Customs had broken down and was being towed out of the way, so we should move soon.
We crawled the 500m to the Customs, playing dodgems around all of the lorries and were ushered to the front of the queue at customs.
It took no time for the Customs Officer to complete the carnet then Patrick was sent around to pay a "road tax" at the next window.
Here I witnessed racism of note!! All of the black people were seen and sorted within 1 min of arriving at the window whilst Patrick was pushed further and further out of the way and made to wait 30mins before his forms were taken!!!!
I left him to it and went off to sort out my visa. Because Patrick is travelling on his SA passsport he did not need a vias, but becasue I have got a UK passport I did.
I was given the normal arrival card to fill in, took it back and was then given a Visa application form to fill in. Well the Visa application form required all of the information I had just put on the Arrival card!!
2 forms and $50 later I had my visa and we pilled back into the car.
The whole crossing had taken an hour and a half!! Patrick was not a happy camper!
The roads after the border were good tar roads, but with thousands of speed bumps, UNTIL we were around 100km's out of Nakuru.
Here we discovered something worse that potholed tar - badly filled potholed tar!!!
Instead of cutting the hole square and filling it flush with the road surface they were sweeping out any stones and then piling tar into the hole until there was a nice big hump in the road!!
This turned the road into mess of humps and holes which reduced you to a 20km/h crawl!!
With both of our blood's boiling as we bumped and rattled towards Nairobi.
Ben had given us the GPS co-ordinates of where he and Bre were staying, and still shaking from the roads we arrived at Wildebeest Camp just before 6pm.
After hugs and kisses all around and meeting Ben's mum and dad, Patrick and I when for a shower.
Ben had booked a table for all 6 of us at Carnivores.
We all arrived and were shown to our table by the waiter and the meat feast began!! The waiter told us that when we had had enough lower the flag on the table and the waiters will stop bringing the food to the table.
So we were off, a leek and potatoe soup came out for starters.
This was cleared and replaced by a sizzling hot cast iron plate each and a salad / sauce sellection in the middle of the table. Our surrender flag was placed ontop of the salad selection.
Once the plates had arrived the protein onslaught began!! We were served ;
- jacket potatoes ( a token gester of carbs!)
- pork sausages
- chicken wings
- chicken livers
- chicken gizzards
- lamb chops
- roast pork
- roast beek
- ostrich Meat ball
- ostrich meat
- prok ribs
The livers, gizzards and meat balls were brough to the table on hot plates, but the rest came skewered on Massi Swords and was carved off on to your plate!!
Well we all ate until we though we were going to pop, then lowered the surrender flag.
Just when we thought we could eat no more we were given the dessert menu and offered tea of coffee!!
So we HAD to have pudding, it was rude not to!!!
I liked the sound of the Choc Chip Blondie so went for that. What arrived was a light brown brownie! It look funny but was tasty!
It was an awsome experience, and we all left ready to pop!!!
Me in Massi outfit
Oct 27th ; Today was spent getting the car booked in to try and find out why she was still over heating on long uphills, and to get the oil seal replaced.
The owner of the campsite recommended someone, and Ben had used him aswell, so we went to see him.
Titch, the man who runs the garage, confirmed our worst fears, that it sounds like the Cylinder head gasket is leaking. We thought it was but was ignoring it because it was the most expensive option to fix!!
Oh well, the car is booked in and we are now homeless!
Titch says that it will take about 3 days to do, so we have got everything we will need out of the car, and are stranded in the campsite!!
Oct 28th ; Today was spent trying to keep busy so that we could sit and worry about the car!!! We watched the TV, caught up with the world news (again and again - on the hour, every hour!!!!!), read books, paced around the beautiful gardens here etc.....
Ben's Mum and Dad left today so we said out goodbyes then Ben and Bre drove them to the airport.
Kees and the Watkins family arrived in Nairobi today, it did not take them as long as we thought it would to get here in the big yellow tortoise!!
We had dinner with Alan (the owner of the campsite) and hit the sack.
Oct 29th ; Up early, went for breakfast, then made a plan for the day with Ben and Bre.
All 4 of us pilled into Ben's Landy and went to find the Yellow tortoise, it should not be too hard to find a 12 tonne tortoise in a concrete jungle!!
The tortoise was found in a popular overland campsite (Jungle Junction) as it was the only site that it would fit into!
Everyone needed to go the Ethiopian Embasey, which was a problem because Kees had hurt his neck and did not want to move the truck.
This meant that 7 people had to fit into Ben's Landy with Kees and Savannah on the bike. Let the contortionism begin!!!
Bre and Maggie squashed into the back where the bags normally go.
Ammon was in the front passagener seat with his gangly limbs, Brandon took one of the back seats, whilst Patrick and I wedged ourselves into the other seat!
It was a sight to be seen!! 7 people and 1 years worth of stuff in a Landy!!!
The disembarkation at the Embasey was interesting - people exploded out of every avaliable door onto the road infront of the guards the gate!
Patrick and I stayed with the Landy whilst everyone else went and sorted their visa applications.
Applications done, it was another Landy cram and off to the next stop.
After the group tasks had been done we dropped them back at Jungle Juction and arranged to meet them all at Carnivores for dinner at 7pm.
The Fab Four went off to see Titch at Magma Holding as Ben wanted to get the shocks checked - they were making a horrid noise on every bump and turn!
Whist they were busy with the Landy, Patrick and I had a look at the progress on the car. We wish we had not looked, there was carnage!!!!!!!
The cylinder head was off and on the bench, there were disconnected pipes coming from the vast hole where in engine used to be, and various other parts that should realy be IN the engine pilled up on the bench!!!
Patrick nearly vomitted seeing the car so exposed and naked!!
Whilst we watched they were trying to remove the block, the straps were attached and the winch pushed over to the car. As they started to winch up and get some tension on the straps, the back wheels of the winch began to slowly lift off of the ground!!!!!!!! OMG Patrick really did not need to see that!!!!!!
Titch showed Patrick the head gasket, there had been a small area of black but no other obvious problems!! Great, this was good news and bad news - the cylinder head was not obviously cracked BUT they could not see anyhting that would have caused the problems.
We left with Titch saying that the parts would be arriving shortly, then they would put new gaskets in and start the rebuild today.
From here the Fab Four went off into town to the market where Ben and Bre had arranged for some carvings to be done for their families.
The traffic was something else!!! It took us just over an hour to drive the 10km's into the market!!!!
Whilst Ben and Bre went and collected their cravings, Patrick and I went and had a look around the market and the shopping mall over the road.
Everything collected and all of us back in the Landy we started the 2 hours - 10km - drive back to the campsite to get ready for dinner.
The Fab Four arrived at Carnivores at 6.55pm, thinking that we were late and the other would be waiting, but no, we were the only ones there!
Once 7.30 had come and gone Ben and Patrick were not impressed and their blood started to simmer, so Bre phone to see what was going on. Ammon answered and said that he was not coming (we jumped to the conclusion that this meant the ALL of them were not coming). Well this did not go down too well, Ben and Patrick's blood boiled over!!!
Just as Bre and I were mopping up the blood, the others came around the corner!!
We soon got into the swing of things and had a very good night.
Dinner finished, all of us stuffed to bursting point, we left, rolled into bed and slept off the protein overload!!
30th Oct ; Did not do very much today. Sat around the camp, read books, watched TV and waited to collect the car.
Titch came to the camp for a drink and to give us an update on the car.
After the whole of the engine had been taken out to replace the oil seal, he had noticed that BOTH of the mounting brackets which hold the engine had split in half!!
He had spent most of the day trying to get replacement mountings, whilst the oil seal was changed.
Titch said he hoped that the car would be ready for us to collect tomorrow, if all goes well.
31st Oct ; Ben, Bre and the tortoise were going to leave Nairobi today and carry on north. Patrick and I hoped we would get the car back in time and drive with them.
Around 12ish Ben and Bre left Wildebeest camp and went off to Jungle Junction to collect the Tortoise and then carry on driving.
Patrick and I sat around in Wildebeest camp waiting for "the call".
The phone rang around 5pm, and both Patrick and I got very excited - alas it was Ben.
He had rung to say that he had just left Nairobi because the family had gone shopping and did not get back until late!!!!!
Finally the call we had been waiting for came around 6, we could go and collect the car tonight!!!
A taxi was arranged and we were off to see out car again, hopefully she would not be naked like last time we had seen her!!
Because of the delightful traffic in Nairobi on a friday night it took us nearly an hour to do the 10km's around to Magma Holdings to collect the car!!!
Car collected we went with Titch and his wife to get some dinner - they knew a good Japanese restaurant not too far from the Wildebeest camp.
I have never eaten so much Sushi in my life!! It arrived at the table on a boat, with a wasarbi flower and sliced ginger mountain!
Just before I started to turn into a piece of raw fish, we went outside for coffee!
As we all sat chatting I was getting rather tired. When the yawning could no longer to hidden, Titch said that it was midnight!!
We had sat eating Shusi for 5 hours!! No wonder I was feeling like a raw bloated whale!!!
1st Nov ; Patrick had wanted to leave early today, until he found out that there was rugby on - Australia Vs New Zealand. That was the early start out of the window!
Once the rugby had finished we were finally off again!!!!!!!!!!!
The traffic leaving Nairobi was terrable!! It took an hour to get out of town and on to the main road north!! After sitting in stationary traffic Patrick had had enough and went up the inside of it all on the dirt track next to the road.
All was going well until we approached a roundabout and Patrick notices that there is Traffic Police pulling over everyone on the dirt track!!!! OMG what now, we are a huge green thing, we wont be able to sneek back into the traffic!! Patrick pushes infront of the car next to us and we sit and wait. Slowly the traffic moves towards the Police woman. Both Patrick and I are now feeling sick, if she pulls us over we are in big shit!! Trying not to look too scared we both look at the oncoming traffic and enter the roundabout.
What happened next neither of us could believe - she smiles at us and waves us on!!!!!!!!!
Quick as lightning we were around the roundabout and off out of town! That was soooo close!
There are a few long steady uphills on the road to Nanyuki, where Ben had stayed the night before.
All way going well until the longest uphill and the car started to overheat AGAIN!!!!!! I have never, in the nearly 10 years I have know Patrick, heard such language coming from him!!
With both of us feeling sick we crawled up the hill at 10km/h.
Ben phoned us as we entered Nanyuki to say that they had not left yet because he has been having car trouble today and is just ready to leave now.
We meet them at the camp they had stayed at and then drove with them up to Isiolo. Ben had found out about a campsite there, so after 5 months apart the 3 cars were off together in convoy again.
The campsite was lovely.
Patrick and I cooked a potjie diinner whilst Ben addressed his extreamly hot seized front brakes!
Machanic finished and dinner cooking slowly over a fire, Ben, Patrick and I polished off a bottle of Gin with tonic and lime, whilst the Watkin's family and Kees sat in the Tortoise.
There had been some crossed wires and the Tortoise crew had had dinner in the truck, whilst the 3 of us sipped G'n'T cooking dinner for everyone! Oh well!!
Everyone materilized from the Tortoise when the food was ready and we all had dinner together.
As soon as the food was finished the Tortoise Crew disappeared off to bed whilst Ben, Bre, Patrick and I washed and cleaned up - nothing changes!!!!!