Well, I started this post 5 days ago, and then the internet went out. So sorry, the blog has been blah. So, yes Eve Stoughton, it was temporarily the Blag. Hopefully not for long.
We like to just get in the car and drive. We have attempted twice now to reach Ol Danyo National Park…which there is a huge sign for in town (like 10 feet by 10 feet) and it has appeared to be pointing in the direction of town. We have traveled in the way of the arrow both times now, with no luck. We finally looked on the map and have discerned that the arrow on the sign is NOT pointing in the correct direction, or perhaps it is, and the sign just isn’t positioned correctly to indicate where you should drive. In any case, we decided to go this weekend.
After driving right past Karibu Centre on the main road out of town, we drove for about 13 kilometers and turned off for another 6 kilometers or so of dirt road driving. The town of Ol Danyo is down this dirt road. These are some of the things we saw from this dirt road:
We finally arrived at the National Park after a bit of driving and pulled up to the entry gate where an older uniformed gentleman stood watch. He pointed to the entry rate sign and indicated that we were to pay the visitor price (which was pretty outrageous actually, and in US dollars for convenience I am sure). Ian said, “No we are residents here” and proceeded to pull out the copy of his work permit (the official card has yet to arrive, but perhaps soon). The guardsman latched onto a tiny phrase reading, “6 months” in the permit, and insisted that we would not be residents until that time. Ian tried to reason with the man, but he would not budge, and neither would Ian, so……we left. Ian said to the main as we pulled out, “See you in 6 months when we’re residents!”.
We drove back down the long, bumpy dirt road, and decided to turn off at the Fourteen Falls Sanctuary sign. We were quickly greeted by 2 boys who said they would be our “guides”. I had already read on-line from the states about the plentitude of “guides” willing to assist tourists at Fourteen Falls, so despite their assurance that their services were “for free” I knew they were not. We drove in down the road and as we exited the car we were swarmed by about 8 adolescents/early adults positioning themselves to be our guides. We finally ended up walking down along the river to view the falls with 4 guides alongside us…not necessarily of our choosing, but it was ok. They shared little tidbits of information as we walked down the path. One pointed out the parasite tree attached to another tree, another where the water floods too, another described the importance of having a “guide” because others had drowned (they really must have been careless though because it wasn’t a roaring river or anythign)…and so it was as we made our way down. One of our guides took this family photo in front of the falls for us:
We were propositioned several times to take a boat ride (wooden boat piloted by a boy with a stick) across the river so we could walk on the other side, to which I politely refused. Eli was disappointed. I had visions of kids overboard in muddy bug infested water, so there was no convincing this mom that the boat would be “fun”. Thankfully, Ian agreed with me.
We walked around a bit more, then hopped back in the car to head home. Ian gave the guides a little money, although not nearly as much as they were hoping for. But then again, the man at the gate for Fourteen Falls only got the resident rate rather than the tourist rate out of us. Sometimes putting the car in gear and acting like you are going to leave does a lot for motivating someone to sell you something at a fair rate.