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Published: January 4th 2016
LAKE VICTORIA, EAST AFRICA JOURNAL 1.1.16-20.3.16.
FRIDAY 1.1.16 Departed Brisbane on New Year's Eve, Africa bound. Non stop supposedly to Abu Dhabi, connecting through to Nairobi.The flight was diverted as we approached the WA border, due to an onboard medical emergency. So we flew to Darwin where the seriously ill passenger was offloaded and the plane was refuelled, a 3 hour deviation, sitting on board, resulting in an 18 hour journey. The plane landed as my Nairobi flight departed, an auspicious start. Etihad were very good, they put me up for the night at the Hilton on the Abu Dhabi Corniche ( beachfront), limo transfers and all meals.Impressions of Abu Dhabi were that it is very spread out, wide highways and some futuristic buildings. Mem and i will explore at the end of this trip. The predominant colour was sand tones, thousands of date palms lining the streets, with some bougainvillea to add occasional colour.As it was Friday, the muslim holy day, the city seemed deserted, other than for the tourists using the beach. Visit a shopping mall adjacent to the hotel, no wonder so many Middle Easterners shop OS, as the prices were sky high !
SATURDAY 2.1.16. Boarded my flight to Nairobi the next morning, concerned that my bike and bags were also on the same flight. Was relieved to see them on the luggage carousel in Nairobi airport. First impressions of Nairobi travelling to the Wildebeest Eco lodge were that the city is crowded, 5 million residents, the largest slum in Africa, 1 million people living in 1 square mile, busy roads, old vehicles and large trucks, red dirt, and some rubbish strewn streets. The lodge is appealing, a tented site surrounding attractive grounds and a lake. I have started my Doxycycline pills to ward of Malaria ( hopefully). Will also use 50%+ Deet bug repellent and long clothing in the evenings. The nights are cool, 18c, with the days being about 28c.Sleeping under an elaborate mosquito netting which looks very exotic.
SUNDAY 3.1.16 An average sleep as the body adjusts to the time change, 7 hours later than the GC. It makes communication very difficult I fear. Many other riders have also arrived, a very fit looking bunch, most of whom have undertaken many other Bike Dream rides ( mostly hill climbers) and were known to each other. The largest groups are Dutch and Australians, about 7 each. All seem friendly.A participant had arranged for a local bike club rider to lead a ride around town (supposedly), so I got up early, assembled the bike (relatively straight forward), so I could join the ride. What I thought was to be a 2 hour casual ride around Nairobi, turned out to be a 5 hour off road, dirt road, hill climbing trek in the outlying villages of Nairobi. Wasn't fully prepared for this, but managed to escape unscathed. 3 riders had flats, 2 riders broke spokes, so it was an eventful start! 51kms traversed.Upon return to camp, met up with Brian my Canadian mate from the Silk Route. We are intending to climb Kilimanjaro at the end of the ride. Time will tell!! Had a lot of laughs and a few Tusker and White Cape beers. Will need to keep an eye on my consumption! The evening meals put on by the lodge have been generous and tasty, mostly veg, rice, noodles and a little beef.
MONDAY 4.1.16 Writing this very early, about 5 am, still assimilating time wise. Hopefully can upload this, this morning. WiFi will be problematic on this trip I think. Of the 55 days travel only 1 other night is spent in a hotel, with all other nights camping, so blogs will be intermittent and long, as i will maintain my record daily, so will likely make for boring reading when it is occasionally uploaded. Apologies in advance ! Today I am off with a couple of others to visit the slum. Staying at the lodge is a fellow who has been instrumental in establishing 3 schools within the slum and has also helped establish medical clinics there. Am a little concerned the we will be voyeurs of other people's misery, but he was adamant that the dwellers found such visits up lifting. Time will tell !
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