Posts Tagged ‘vacations’

How can it compare?

You might notice that the number of blogs posted since our return to the States the first part of  August has been 3.  That’s about one per month.  That’s pretty pathetic.

I guess it’s just really hard to compare our life here with our life in Kenya….it all seems so mundane and usual and NOT blog worthy.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just a REALLY different thing.

I  notice that I can drive for long distances here and be daydreaming the whole time.  None of that knuckle gripping tense driving that is par for the course in Kenya.  No need to constantly scan the environment for dangers.  No need to dodge people, vehicles or animals. 

So, I guess you’ll all just have to adjust your expectation of what this blog is gonna be now, and I will too.

No more amazing tales of African adventures.  Now you’ll be getting disgusting tales of baby, preschool and kindergarten kids, which can be just as entertaining, I’m sure.

I am thankful and adjusting well to regular life again.  Thank goodness we don’t have cockroaches, disgustingly large spiders/locusts/crickets/beetles, or random goats/chickens walking through buildings (or our house).

I am thankful for the wonderful group of family and friends who supported us while we were in Kenya, and that we know get to see some part of the group almost daily.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

And now, for a few pictures that highlight our first few months home from Kenya:

Dubai!

In our hunt to find the cheapest yet safest flight home from Kenya we happened upon a stay over in Dubai.

We as in Erika Lee mentioned it, it sounded like  a fabulous idea that saved thousands even with a 2 night hotel stay over, we booked it!

I didn’t know much about Dubai except that I’d seen it on t.v. on the greatest engineering feats of all time.  You know, where they show them dumping load after load of rocks and sand into the ocean to produce man-made islands shaped like palm trees and other random things.  

Here we are arriving:

The kids waiting patiently at midnight in the glistening Dubai airport

 Our Dubai plan involved arriving just before midnight, staying over a full day, and then flying out on the 2nd morning after leaving Nairobi.  We had booked a hotel within walking distance of a mall (they REALLY take shopping seriously there) in hopes of spending some leisure time in an air-conditioned space.

Why air conditioning?

Uh, because it was the height of summer in Dubai, where temperatures easily were reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  Our plane stewardess talked about her flip-flops melting on the sidewalk there.  I’ve heard of that happening in the US in Arizona and places like that when it gets really hot, but I wasn’t up for trying it out on this trip.

We started out the next morning after sleeping in and taking warm (hot water right from the tap!!!) baths.  We managed to walk across the street and one block down from our hotel before ditching that plan.  We were all melted and luckily there was a cab in sight who was more than happy to stop for our family.  We hopped in and asked him to take us to a mall.

He took us to the largest mall in Dubai.  Actually, it now holds the distinction I believe of being the largest mall in the world. I never thought that I could be overwhelmed by shopping, but I was.  If we had been coming from the consumer mentality of the US, it might have been manageable, but to step from a more rural area of Kenya straight into this….it was a bit much.

We managed to look around in 2 shops total, including the largest candy shop any of us had ever seen.  It was aptly named, Candylicious:

Perhaps this is why Eli now has a cavity

 We also decided to tour the aquarium that was housed in the mall.  We especially enjoyed the glass tunnel that allowed us to walk within a few inches of sharks and sting rays:

 

Checking out the rays

 After the aquarium, we sat down to a ridiculously priced lunch that would have cost half as much in the US and my first Starbucks latte in 15 months.  My latte cost 200 Dirham, which is about $7 here in the US.  It was good, but not that good!

We took pictures outside of the mall in front of the world’s tallest building.  This building has something like 165 stories and is 2717 feet tall:

It’s on the left there behind Ian and I.  It’s so big, you only see a portion of it, even in person because it disappears into the haze.  You can tell though that it dwarfs everything next to it.  Here is a picture of it from the web:

Later that evening, we went up to the roof of a sister hotel and Ian and the kids enjoyed some fun in the pool. It was wonderful to spend time outside after dusk.  This is something we were rarely able to do while in Kenya because of malaria and safety concerns.

A very happy girl!

Sitting by the pool sweating out the humid heat of the Sahara

 

A view of Dubai from our rooftop pool...there was a sandy haze all day

 We had a wonderful time together as a family in Dubai and were very thankful for the rest before our 16 hour flight to the US the next day.

Sleepovers….

….are the best, especially when it’s for your kids at a friend’s house.  Friends from church offered to take the kids this last Friday night and I jumped all over that. 

I got right on the web, and found a weekend special deal at http://www.safaripark-hotel.com/ , a much better deal than I would have found anywhere in town..and this hotel is just a short drive from our friends place where they work at a Children’s Centre run by the Rafiki Foundation. 

Anyhow, Ian and I had a wonderful time, not doing much at all, but enjoying alone time with each other.  We had a wonderful Italian dinner, browsed the 64 acres of lush gardens, a soak in a  bath tub (we don’t have one at our house), and sleeping in til 7:30! 

A wonderful time.  Thank you Doug and Carolyn! 

Our room was spacious and I loved all of the dark wood

 

the view from our patio out onto the Chinese fish pond

 

the landscaping of Safari Park Hotel, an oasis among the chaos of Thika Road

 

a statue without an explanation, but I'm guessing it's fair to say it has to do with fertility? We don't need any of that right about now.....but we thought it was photo worthy

Baby takes a trip

Our good friends the Prins’s gifted Lucy with a Corelle (I think I’m spelling that right, but Nat, you can correct me since I don’t want to go into Lucy’s room while she’s asleep clutching it, to sneak a peak at the baby’s belly) doll.  I specifically remember Nat saying that these were the BEST dolls ever, and that her girls loved them.  Not cheap, but worth every penny.

Lucy didn’t seem so into hers in the beginning.  I was sad to think Nat’s hard earned money might have gone to waste.

Then, somewhere along the line, and I don’t know when, baby worked her way into Lucy’s life and became a staple.

Baby is just “baby”.  No cute nickname.  No real name.  Just.  Baby.

Well, baby went on vacation, and boy did she have a good time:

resting up for a big day at the pool

I think Lucy just discovered that Baby peed her pants

Clean Baby, happy mother

A talk with grandpa about pool safety and not running....

Getting a time out from Lucy for trying to get in the pool with her clothes on and for splashing other kids. Tssk, tssk.

Who let baby lay out in the sun all day every day??

 

baby arrives at the Malindi airport to fly back to Nairobi

Baby looking out of the airport lounge just prior to her fall out the window

Baby on the swing at Utamaduni shop in Nairobi

Baby's 3rd major fall after being dropped down the stairs, and out the airport window....

 

Someone saw Lucy with her baby yesterday at the Centre and asked why she was so dirty.  Lucy explained that she washed her shirt (in her bath), but that it “Was just so dirty!”.  Wonder why???

And the ‘fari continues….

So we did this all more than a week ago, but it is Africa, and we were t.v. and computer free for essentially 2 weeks.  It was a nice break…..learning to just be still and smelling the dampened earth, exhaust free air, plumeria on the warm evening air.  I could go on and on.  Have I ever mentioned that plumeria is one of my favorite scents…could it be because I am always in Hawaii when I smell it?  I loved it here too.

Our safari was fantastic.  I don’t think that I would have changed a moment of it.  It allowed us to have wonderful quality time with Ian’s parents, and also much needed time together as our own little family.  Ian loved the spontaneous loves he got to give and receive from the kids while out on the game drives and walking around our tented camp.  So did I.

On our last evening, we enjoyed hanging out outside of the tented camp open air dining hall chatting with the hotel manager.  He is a medical doctor who later went into tourism after many years of frustrated work at Kenyan district hospitals.  What a wonderful, intellectual discussion we had with him ranging from spinal tuberculosis to how the American economy trickles down to reduced Kenyan tourism dollars.  Here Kapur is identifying animals with Eli and Lucy and chatting with our family:

A few fun other photos from the safari:

And we got a rare photo of us all together!