Kenya diaries Ctd..
An entirely different ambience awaits me in the spacious beach home of Les and Joe, only a few minutes’ walk from the package holiday Hotel.
Their two dogs, black and brown Labradors – whose behaviour reminds me of boisterous children – understand that they have to behave themselves. They are absolutely devoted to their owners. But it is so hard to be good, and they are full of wiles.
Stanley lies in blissful languor under fondling fingers on the edge of the pool, while Bentley hangs around, forlorn. Not able to bear it any longer, he barks, and rushes with intent down the garden towards the beach. True to instinct, and not wanting to miss anything, Stanley tears himself away and adds to the cacophony. But there is no intruder. Once his rival is committed, Bentley circles quietly back to the pool to claim his turn for loving attention. And the game goes on.
We enjoy a relaxed afternoon, punctuated by barks. Joe is sprawled on the sofa, either engrossed in his laptop, or laid out – sleeping. Les is a good companion, but fearful of Joe’s impending retirement and their move to the UK. What will she do with the dogs?
Sunday, we are up early to take part in a local fundraiser, “Wild Wheels 2018”. About 30 vehicles scramble through the countryside in search of clues embedded in detailed route maps.
Our team, the Wasi wasi wapis (where, oh where are we?), is serious about the tasks. We solve anagrams, collect information, and fill two enormous bags with non-biodegradable rubbish for weighing at the end. One eager competitor nearly comes to grief while scavenging in a particularly odorous dump near a local dive. His stomach can’t take it, and he retires to the car. We decide to call it a day.
It’s a well organised event, which makes me suspect that expertise drawn from the old East African Safari Rally is involved. Competitors are divided into four groups going different ways, so we don’t pass many cars, and the villagers aren’t too disturbed. They’re used to these crazy wazungus (white people), anyway, as a number of them are employed at a nearby mine, which is popular with the community. We stop opposite one fellow competitor to exchange information on a narrow rutted road. An angry horn sounds, and an irate gentleman in a smart saloon car curses us. We should go back where we belong! Joe winds down the window of our air-conditioned 4WD and speaks to him in safi (pure)Swahili, suggesting that Kenya is also his country, and perhaps a little give and take would be in order. The gentleman engages gear and drives off in a more subdued manner.
Four hours after the start we check in, and give in our two overflowing rubbish bags for weighing. We’ve won! No other teams have shown such dedication and enthusiasm. We retire to the derelict Alliance Beach Hotel, and the efficiency ends as we hang around the make-shift bar, waiting… and waiting… for lunch…
See you next week!