Friday, 26 September 2008

25th September 08

Date: 25th September 08
Location: Nakuru, Kenya
Weather: Almost a very English day, as the sun cane out then the rain came…but 34°c!
Status: Raring to go and in great spirits ready for the ascent tomorrow

A mixed bag of weather overnight with rumbling thunder and rain showers but we awoke to a sunny day with scattered showers. Got out of the tent just after 7am and had a quick breakfast of cornflakes, missed out on a shower as we wanted to get going asap.

The road into the forth largest city in Kenya, Nakuru, was good and as we came into the outskirts we spotted a cheese factory so pulled into their driveway and had to wait five minutes before the owner arrived. Up until now I haven’t had good cheese since December when I stayed with a friend Si Bryant’s family in France. With the exception of their feta’s, the South Africans have no idea how to make anything like real cheese, just processed flavourless Gouda’s and something barely resembling chedder!

We bought a load of stilton, onion cheese and yes real mature cheddar, YUMMY!

Drove into the town and went briefly to the internet to check for responses from Bre’s family and the climbing company and whilst I was there asked the owner about the best place to find a doctor. My left ear has ballooned over the last week and something’s up so thought it best to check it out before heading up in altitude as it’ll only make it worse at the top of a mountain!

The very kind owner of the cybercafé then walked us all the way to his friend the doctor who had no patients and so saw me straight away! A simple diagnosis of an infected ear so he lanced the swollen area with a syringe and sucked out a good few cl’s of goo and reddy muck which left me in my usual useless state of no-colour-in-face-cold-sweat situation. I’ve had this before when giving blood but this time the doc did make it worse by holding the syringe in front of my face to show me!!!

Job done though just course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory tablets for the next week and every thing should be ok. We left and went to the market to buy nuts and energy foods for the next few days and returned to the truck, only to be mobbed by curios sellers whose stalls were right by the Colonel!!!

Eventually after ten minutes of them trying to sell us everything from 1970’s wildlife postcards to illuminated screwdrivers we’d bought Bre a bandana, a necklace and earrings. African selling tactics are so funny, the Moroccans win hands down on persistence and cheesy lines, these guys just try the thrust in your face method – I think I have an answer for everything they try and offer me now which leaves them speechless, example….phone charger; I show them mine, Leatherman; I point to the sponsor’s logo, big picture; I ask them where the f*@k I’m likely to put it in the truck!

We left the particularly clean town of Nakuru and drove north east towards the edge of the Rift Valley and the town of Nanyuki, the base camp for Mt Kenya, the road passes back and forth over the equator and every time if does some enterprising person has set up a stall selling equator-based curios and a demonstration basin each side of it to show the different ways water drops down the plug hole. Although I’m sure once I disproved this theory to myself in the bath by swirling the water the other way!

We arrived in Nanyuki and drove straight to the Sportsman’s Arms Hotel in the centre of town the location where I have to meet my guide tomorrow thinking it’d be (a) overpriced and (b) not offering camping but were pleasantly surprised to find both untrue! In fact they said we could camp wherever we wanted on the lovely green grassed lawn, we could use one of their cottages as a bathroom and the main room to lay our stuff out in and the swimming pool was also included in the price!!! Awesome.

We checked in then headed into town to buy some last minute essentials from a sweet little helpful Indian lady and returned to the hotel to cook ourselves dinner on the veranda being overlooked by the mountain. An amazing spread of local produce, cabbage, carrots, fresh peas and mashed potato with boerwors! Yum again.

Watched a movie then bed. Big day tomorrow.

End of day location: Nanyuki, Kenya
Distance covered: 230kms

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