The rising sun saw us tuck into a heavy breakfast – We wondered how we even managed to consume as much as we did that early in the day… Oh well! we had a 6 hour drive ahead of us.. not to mention we already wondered about what we could do for 6 hours other than catch up on sleep???
Little did we know– the I-Touch and stick cricket! Where Mr. R is- technology follows! Battery died out– now what? Voila- Someone has a pack of cards!! The guys start playing just before we realised we need a rest stop! Fred stopped at a souvenir place where we went crazy! I saw a malachite necklace which I fell in love with. Oh wait!! let me ask the sales guy how much it costs before I even decide to look for it! Before we set out on our Kenyan holiday, I was told that I need to bargain to one fourth the price! Coming from a city like Bombay, bargaining should be in my blood- but it is not and i get extremely hyper whilst bargaining! My friends especially those on this trip can vouch for that! Coming back to the price.. well he refused to tell me the price saying that I could pick up whatever I wanted and then he would name a collective price! Since I disagreed and argued with him he gave me a whopping figure of 9000 Kenyan shillings which amounts to 96 USD- atrocious- I know! A few minutes later I asked another guy and he said 5000 shillings.. Well maybe the price is actually just 500 shillings if they themselves are uncertain about it!
Nevertheless, 4 of us picked us stuff which according to the sales guys amounted to a whopping 81,000 Shillings! Now for the bargaining and my being hyper! After much bargaining, going back to the car and almost setting off, they came back to us and continued bargaining. We refused to budge and they refused to reduce it to less than 40,000 Shillings! Finally thanks to Mr. Sales with us (being in sales for a long time definitely does pay off- especially when you have climbed up every rung of the ladder at a young age!) we managed to buy everything for a fraction of the asking price.
I must mention that most retailers in Kenya are out to cheat you! The store guys selling refreshments are a great example! We couldn’t help it though- picked up stuff to keep everyone in high spirits and conserve energy… (weird I didn’t see red bull at any place and that is what we needed the most). As the game of cards progressed and now escalated to the famous Mehndi Court- the road turned bumpy making it impossible for the rest to play or for me to read a new title by one of my favourite authors -Mary Higgins Clark’!.
2 hours more and we reached the entrance to the Mara reserve! Oh the tribal women that surrounded us and literally thrust their trinkets at us- 400 shillings for 10 bracelets- she came down to a 100 shillings! OCD’ed that I am all I could think of was- “Can’t they go take a shower”? (yes I know it is Africa and water is scarce- go take a dip in one of the many lakes or I’ll give you perfume but stop stinking!) They finally got on to our nerves! One of us took a picture of them and the Mara woman started demanding money! Poor thing just deleted the pic and ignored! And then started the private jokes!!!
Now for the last thread of our journey- another hour more until we reach Ashnil Mara Camp! The reviews of the Camp were amazing and I for one was definitely looking forward to it!
Until then we enjoyed the scenic route and our first view of the Gnu’s at Mara as well as giraffes! The pictures say it all!
I don’t want to make this post too long and will hence continue with our Kenyan adventures by means of other posts that will follow soon!