We skipped breakfast (we get nearly no exercise but eat as if we were on a cruise) and gave tips out to various staff (yes, it is true that tipping is not required, but Kenyans DO EXPECT to be tipped!). We were on the road early in the morning. We saw the usual animals on the way out of the park. We stopped to observe a pair of male lions eating a freshly killed buffalo. We stopped again to see a herd of about eight giraffe eating acacia leaves in the middle of a vast, dry desert. We drove the same bumpy dirt road along the Tanzanian border until we arrived at a village where the asphalt road began. We headed north stopping once for a Coke and to look through a shop selling African wood carvings. Our driver must have been conscientious of our first impression of Nairobi, as he took us via a different route, avoiding the slums. We arrived back at the Safari Park hotel in the early afternoon. The sky was a brilliant blue and the air temp in the mid-70s. We walked around the hotel with little to do. We could have driven directly from Amboseli to Lake Nakuru (our next Safari stop), but our Maasai friend from Southern California had suggested to Vintage Africa to give visitors a break from the roads by having an overnight in Nairobi between the two destinations. Frankly, I think skipping Nairobi is a better idea if short on safari time. In our case, we are on an unusually long safari, so we can afford to take the time out.
In the evening, our driver and an escort from Vintage Africa arrived to take us to the famous Carnivore restaurant near the Wilson airport. The trip took about 45 minutes because of rush-hour traffic. We, again, passed some absolutely horrific traffic accidents, truck smashed into a telephone pole at a high rate of speed and a truck and a Matatu that had a head-on collision. We sat in traffic sucking on the exhaust-filled tailpipes of every passing bus, observing lots of people waiting for their buses, people searching through piles and piles of garbage and filth, several women’s futile efforts cleaning the side of the roadway with makeshift brooms, and children playing in stagnant pools of mud. Along the way our escort, Sheila, talked about the latest Oprah Winfrey show with my wife. She was also well informed about the Michael Jackson court case. Her impression was that Americans get their entertainment trying to bring down big stars. I suppose that in this age of satellite TV and radio, I should not have been surprised that an English-speaking country would be tuned into English-language programming from so far away. I queried her more on her knowledge of world news and was saddened to hear how much they know about the world’s impression of Africa. These people seem to be trying hard to build a country in the corner of a troubled continent and must also endure very bad publicity.
We arrived at a heavily guarded gate leading into a very chic-looking restaurant entrance. The restaurant was large and partially indoors and partially outdoors under an awning. It was very festive. The waiters all wore aprons with Zebra prints. We passed a large BBQ area with all kinds of cooking meats. The smell was out of this world (in a good way). The restaurant was clean and modern, decorated in something of an African-European-BBQ fusion. The picnic-like tables all sported a small "Carnivor" flag. While the flag is up it means, the guest wants more meat. The waiters continuously make the rounds of the tables with skewers of all kinds of meat, serving as much as the guests want. Well, the disappointment is that game is no longer served! It seems the Kenyan government now outlaws all game. The guests are left with beef, chicken, pork, ostrich, camel, and crocodile. I was actually looking forward to trying game, but I certainly understand the concerns of the government and begrudgingly acknowledge that they probably made the right decision. After dinner, we went next door to an African craft shop. The selection was almost museum-quality, but unfortunately, so were the prices.