My husband and I have recently returned from Kenya. After 21 brutal hours in transit we suffered bumper to bumper traffic from the airport to our hotel (another hour at turtle speed). President Kenyatta had just returned to the country from his trial at The Hague for helping to rig the 2007 election. Remnants of the red carpet covering the entire airfield were still in evidence when we left the parking lot.
Once at our beautiful hotel, the Safari Sands, though, we were blissful. Beautiful grounds, great pool, many restaurants and a bedroom with terrace overlooking the beautiful grounds contributed to our bliss.
After a day of sightseeing in Nairobi, we loaded 12 fellow travelers into 3 vans for our safari. Our first stop, other than potty breaks and tchotchkes, was Maasai Mara Park, the extension of the famous Serengeti which crosses the Kenyan border into Tanzania. Here we saw our first lions, thousands of wildebeest and zebra (pronounced zeh'bra by the British influenced natives). The most breathtaking sight for me was a mama and her two baby cheetah.
Even though our animal and bird sightings were spectacular, the people we traveled with were even more so. A goddess from a sheep farm in New Zealand taught me more about joy than I have learned over a lifetime. A young "married with children" couple from Lisbon, Portugal hugged and kissed and laughed their way through the three days they were with us, spreading that love wherever they went. Stories of other adventures and misadventures filled our evenings together. Only one woman did her best to ruin the splendor of the trip by demanding to see something she believed she had been promised (as if our wonderful driver Evans could produce hippos from a hat), endlessly criticizing her husband, and telling my husband "don't interfere!" when he gently suggested that she could skip that morning's game drive.
So, it was our greatest trip because of ALL the animals, human and not. Even our resident terror reminded me to be good to Murray and to treasure him. In her own way, she spread joy by being an example for the rest of us. An example of how we don't want to be with each other.