Apologies good people for not posting last Friday. I thought I could slide away quietly without being noticed. That bubble was burst when I met one of my readers who asked me animatedly, “wapi article ya last week?” That demand for a story made me feel good. I was affirmed that there are folks out there who look forward to my writing every Friday like a fix of coffee. I also felt a ka positive pressure to keep writing. Thank you again guys for your readership.
The reason I didn’t post was that my boys and I took a road trip to Watamu last week. Two of them had milestone birthdays a few months ago but we couldn’t celebrate them as they deserved. Chris turned 40 in June and Bob turned 50 in August. Now that we are allowed to travel (with our masks on) we decided to take our long-awaited trip to celebrate these fine gentlemen. It’s paramount that we show appreciation to the folks in our lives. Especially those we hold dear when we still can. And that’s what we were doing on this trip.
These chaps have offered me heavy-duty support over the last many years. I hope I do the same for them. That made every part of planning this trip worth it. Life is easier when you go through it with your gang. Consider giving a few close people meddling rights and see the difference it makes. I must admit though that part of my motivation was selfish. I couldn’t wait to cross to Watamu via Malindi through Tsavo West National Park. Going through Tsavo is a photographer’s paradise.
Traveling after many months at home makes one appreciate life and the world we live in much more. It felt like those days when we would leave boarding school to visit the Nairobi Agricultural show at the Jamuhuri show grounds. The farmers’ choice hotdogs were to die for.
The excitement was palpable. We set out from Nairobi early Sunday morning and enjoyed a smooth 300 plus kilometers ride to the Manyani gate of the park. Once in the park what stood out was the redness of the place. The soil is extra red and the elephants looked dyed in that red stuff Masai Morans color their hair with. They even looked like they had lipstick on their trumpets he he. It was Sunday. Maybe they were headed to church.
Our exit was the Sala gate about 100 kilometers from Manyani gate. Almost the entire road snaked along the Sabaki River. The water levels were low enough to show the full width of the river and its jagged-edged floor. The rough rock formation protruded like daggers sharpened by the current. The dark reddish brownish banks of the river had been chiseled over time from erosion by the river. They resembled stone artwork like carvings from ancient times.
We met our first herd of elephants about 20 kilometers into the park and that was the beginning of our tribulations, which we took as one big adventure. We had gone in two cars. After stopping to watch the elephants moving and eating in slow motion we decided to move on. I was in the car ahead and after a few kilometers, we couldn’t see our pals behind us. We decided to wait for them at a junction but they took abnormally long to appear. So, we decided to turn back and go check on them.
We met our friend’s car at a bend limping forward slowly. They had shredded a tire and replaced it with the small spare doughnut. To their chagrin, the doughnut was low on pressure and that’s what made them drive so slowly like a procession at a wedding ceremony. We agreed they drive ahead of us just in case the doughnut gave way. Less than ten kilometers later it did give way. Here we were in the middle of the wilderness without a phone network. As we pondered our situation it started raining. It was an apt moment for the description, “when it rains it pours”.
We tried my spare tire hoping it could fit in the other car but it didn’t. I then remembered I had this gadget in my car used to inflate a flat which I’ve never used. We tried it and it started inflating the doughnut. Our goal was to have it hold for the next seventy kilometers on the park roads until we hit the tarmac. Our relief rose as the tire swelled with pressure from my gadget. Then our bubble was burst soon after when we heard a hissing sound. I was in denial so I decided it was a snake nearby warning us of its presence. The doughnut we were trying to revive had a bent rim so the air was escaping through it.
We all stood blank for a minute having chewed mind lock. I even imagined how we’d spend the night in our cars surrounded by lions sniffing at imported canned (in our cars) meat from Nairobi. Strangely all this time we felt no regret or fear. There was an overriding sense of adventure and positive vibes. Like all these happenings were part of the trip.
Our youngest brother in the group Chris suggested we straighten the rim of the doughnut and attempt inflating it again. That’s what we did and it worked. It was now about 4 pm. We drove slowly, our fingers crossed that the tire holds. We enjoyed the views and animals along the way. It was a limping game drive that I will not forget in a long time. We made it to the Sala gate after 7 pm. It was both a huge relief and a sense of achievement for us. Once we exited the park, we got onto a new tarmac road to Malindi for another 100 kilometers. Not too long ago that road was just like the park roads. I’m not sure if our small tire would have held for another hundred kilometers.
We got to Granchio Villas in Watamu at about 10 pm knackered. Thankfully it felt like a home away from home. If you guys need a clean, private and homely environment to chillax with friends and family this holiday season, Granchio is the place. Contact Chebet on +254750247977. The rest of our holiday was fantastic. We even extended it by a day.
Folks the lesson for me from that trip was that life will throw obstacles (some seem insurmountable) our way but it’s our attitude that matters. If we remain positive and make lemonade from the bitter lemons then life gets smoother, like the new tarmac road to Malindi that felt like it was made just for us on that night. That episode made us bond in a special way and laugh at our dilemma. In the process, solutions appeared sooner. Even nature cooperated and kept the animals away from us all that time when fixing tires in the park.
I now agree that the obstacle can be the way. Embrace it.