Coming to an End

All vacations need to come to an end and thus ours has done so. This is our last full day in Kenya. Our flight leaves at 3:30am tomorrow morning, so we need to leave by midnight to get to the airport. With that in mind, we booked the hotel for tonight also, even if we were would not be here overnight, just to have a place to keep our bags while having a place to rest and or nap before the early morning airport experience.
The room is paid for on a daily basis, so Ron went to pay for tonight, but explained we would be leaving at midnight. The receptionist at first said something he understood as they would not allow us to do that. Offering grandiose explanations, we finally came to terms. They would not charge us for using the room. What the young woman said was “You have been here so long, how can we charge you?” We were there two days. Does that tell you something of their star rating? 
John was on time and ready to take us to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. It was of utmost importance that we get there by 11am for visiting hour. From 11am to noon is the only time you are allowed to visit the shelter because they want to limit the outsider contact to make it easier for the elephants and rhinos to be reintroduced into the wild. 
We were there in plenty of time to wait with all of the other anxious visitors who had heard of their work. The only reason I had any knowledge of them was because my friend Daphnee had adopted an elephant for me for my birthday last year. When the rope gate is dropped, you are escorted first to the donation table, where they request an entrance of 300 shillings, but we gave 1,000 each. Then it is on to the visiting area. Beyond the roped off area, there are oversized baby bottles waiting for the little ones to come suckle by groups depending on their ages. When the first group came out, I almost had to be held back from jumping the rope to go hug these babies. Some of these little orphans were so small, I immediately thought of Gulliver’s Travels and the Lilliputs. Good grief, I could carry one of these creatures in carry-on. So for the next hour, we watched as this group was fed, played with each other, interacted with the keepers, and were lectured about the foundation. Most of the orphans’ are there because the mother was hunted down by poachers. One was found in a hole in the road and presumably the mother was would not be able to rescue it. 
They also rescue rhinos, but only have three at this time. One is blind, so they don’t allow him to visit. One has been set loose, but returns daily for a visit and then leaves again. The third one has stopped being allowed out since September when we started becoming “naughty”. He was charging people and not a cash producing charging proposition either. The hour went by so quickly, I did not have time to plan any elephant-napping attempts. 
Our next stop was the Kenyan Wildlife Center for Endangered Animals. This particular center was for giraffes. The entrance is 7oo shillings. They have an elevated viewing area so that you are face to face with the giraffes, at least the adult ones. A keeper hands out feed and tells you to give one pellet at a time to maintain their attention. Giraffes are head butters, so if you are not careful and keep the feeding on a regular basis, they will butt you with their head to get more. What awesome creatures they are. Every time I went to pet the face or nose of the female I was feeding, she kept pulling away. I had to be canny with the food to get a pet in. The creatures on this earth are so magnificent. It just makes me loathsome when I think about poaching for greedy people.
We had John take us pack to the hotel to decide on a plan for the rest of our day. We shelled over another 3,000 shillings (30 euros) to him. No wonder he has a nice new car with a/c and always dresses in fine clothing.  
After a mini-rest, we took another taxi from the hotel downtown. I had noticed this coffee shop called the Mug Culture and I was more than ready for a good coffee. The hotel only had instant. We were going to get dinner and then go to a movie. Mug Culture tuned out to be a full service restaurant and Starbucks combo, making it perfect. When I ordered a latte, what arrived was a beer mug full of coffee. Not only was it the size I love, but it was an excellent latte besides and piping hot. There is nothing worse than a lukewarm latte. We had dinner there also; the portions were Hungarian sized and the food was great. If we were staying in Nairobi longer, this would be my hangout. When we left, I had left behind a copy of the book Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, because we had both read it and it was not a keeper. We went for a walk around the block waiting to go to the movie, but I had to return to the restaurant’s bathroom. When the waitress saw me, she nodded her head. I knew she thought I was there for the book. When she tried returning it to me, I said I was only back for the WC, but the book was to find a new home. She was totally uncomprehending. I explained that I wanted to share the book with others, so I hoped it would find a good home. She hugged the book like it was a South African Krugerrand.

At Foxy Cinemas, there were two screens, each playing one movie. In one was The Time Traveler’s Wife. We had both read and loved The Time Traveler’s Wife novel, by Audrey Niffenegger. More than unfortunately, only the second one was showing at any times we could attend. It was Avatar. Ticket prices were listed as stall, love seats, balcony, and one other I cannot remember. What choices, but when we asked about them, all seats are created equal. Inside was a regular theater just like Anywhere, USA or Budapest, Hungary. Viva la lack of difference. 

Now, neither of us knew a thing about this movie. I am not hot on sci-fi movies or books, but did like Star Wars. It was the longest waste of time I have spent in a theater since I cannot remember when. In retospect, reading some of the reviews, I don’t know what these people are thinking. But let’s think about this for a moment. The year is 2154, putting it 154 years ahead in the future. Same old themes: war, corporate greed, colonization, genocide, but on a different planet. Wow, what a difference a galaxy makes. The main character is a paraplegic soldier. Right! Now that is even beyond fantasy and sci-fi, but it gets better. He is promised his legs back..IF…he does the commander’s bidding. Question here, if they have the ability to return the use of his legs, why didn’t they do it to begin with rather than have a disabled soldier? 

Now lets move on to the aliens. Remember the year is 2154. They are still gendered, male and female. They marry, mate, and are still in patriarchal tribes. The tribal chief’s son is the jealous protector of his sister, one of the main characters. Of course, she and the soldier fall in love. The director made the Titanic, how could we avoid a love story? Same old story, the soldier infiltrates the tribe to gain their trust, falls in love, girl finds she was initially being used, guy has to swear that was only the beginning, but real love did evolve. All of the themes have been played out since talkie movies first appeared. To prove himself and his love, he has to show his new adopted tribe how to beat their enemies. Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong, Corporate Greed vs Bulldozing over anyone in your path. Isn’t it interesting the way the corporation always comes tumbling down in the movies, but it never happens in real life. To make the movies more realistic, after they collapse, someone should rush in with a rescue plan to help them be corrupt once again. It is like a financial eco-system.   

My next question is does anyone who nominates these movies or even reviews them, listen to the dialogue? Some of it was a direct rip from a Doris Day and Rock Hudson movie; it could have been Pillow Talk. Other parts could have come from Saving Private Ryan or the Simpsons, but much of it made as much sense as Seinfeld. The army commander of 2154 should not be using 2001 teenager slang. There is something wrong when they have to resort to this type of dialogue. 

Yes, the special effects were interesting, but I didn’t consider them exceptional. The flying dragons reminded me of the Dragon Riders of Pern. At attempt at futuristic elephants looked more like creatures I remember seeing when watching Saturday morning cartoons with my nephews. If I watched this movie again, I could really do a job on it. This is just from one viewing with expectation of enjoyment.

After the movie, we went back to Mug Culture for a piece of cake. We needed to treat ourselves after the torture we had endured. A taxi back to the hotel where we repacked our bags to go, tried taking a nap, and that is the end of the story for Nairobi.

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