Yes folks, I am back and survived the big cats and charging bull elephants. I have a nice big tan rug with teeth for the front of the fire place and a fantastic little elephants foot to put my umbrellas in at the front door.
But that is not why I am writing today. It seemed that lions, leopards and hippo were the least threatening creatures in the wilds of Kenya.
No, it was a crazy German woman that posed the greatest threat.
Emirates are sneaky fuckers and after the trip from hell on the way out of the country they saved all the nice bits for the return trip to try and woo me into using them next time.
It will never happen.
They slipped a little transit in at Bangkok that was not on any itinerary that I ever saw but it served to empty the plane and give me three blissful seats to stretch out on and sleep in as much comfortas can be had in cattle class.
At this point I have say that I do love the Boeing 777 compared to the nasty little Airbus 340 - as the geeks who know the difference say; "If it's not Boeing, I'm not going..."
Anyhow, the people at Emirates must have known I had been in the bush just a little too long and seated me near what can only be described as a seriously horny old(er) woman. She was in the same row as me with the center four seats to herself.
Before take off she leaned over and started the normal small talk about how she hoped they would close the door soon and won't it be great if all these seats stay empty. I was polite but we very quickly hit my quota for airplane chit chat. I had a good book to read, 100+ movies to choose from and to be frank I just was not interested in wasting all this new found space.
I had not been in the bush that long.
After take off she again leaned over and gushed about all the space and how it was almost lonely where she was. Would I like to join her for dinner in the centre isle?
Que the batting fake eyelids...
With the raised side of my noise cancelling headsets dropping back onto my head, I politely declined. I had three seats which is a luxury that I was not going to forgo at meal time when every inch of elbow room is a blessing.
She attempted a few more intrusions into my personal space but I deftly parried her with a constant stare into the glowing screen in front of me despite the fact it was only telling me how high we were and what speed were doing - all in Arabic of course.
With the meal devoured it was time for a sleep and I curled up in my luxury suite and forgot the world.
When I awoke something had changed. I had a moment of ely*.
Peering over my legs I could see movement in the center isle. There was a second person who had obviously taken up the offer of helping relieve the boredom and lonesomeness on the long haul flight.
I am not normally motivated towards voyeurism but I was curious. I was sure she had been making a pass at me before but not to be deterred she had obviously gone cruising the plane for a snack that was more accommodating.
Curiosity got the better of me and I surreptitiously gawked through the darkness to gauge just how they intended to accomplish the feat and exactly how far it would go.
After a fair amount of furtive shuffling under the blanket by the two I gave up watching and went back to sleep. What ever they were up to, he was sure getting the better end of the deal and I decided there was enough flight ahead of me to have nightmares if I kept watching.
Well, that and I think she noticed my gob smacked stare.
When I awoke the man was gone. She sat there with a grin on her face and smiled at me and shrugged her shoulders, her head cocked slightly as if to say slide on over.
A chill ran down my spine and I carefully returned my eyes to the screen in front of me. Like a child I honestly wanted to believe that what you could not see did not exist.
Here was a predator of the top tier not more than six feet away. She was scared through years of battle and no doubt had a gamy leg where her hip had been put out during some other in-flight entanglement.
My mouth was dry. I was all alone like a babe split from the heard and there was not a Land Rover or Askari in sight to protect me.
It was a rough thing to sleep the rest of that flight. The jet lag is killing me and it should have been cured by a sleep on that last leg home - damn her!
* ely (n). The first, tiniest inkling you get that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.
(From the meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams)
PS: Kenya is an amazing place. It is probably the safest part of Africa despite what the media have been saying of late.
If you have even the tiniest motivation to go then now is a great time. The tourist numbers are so low that camps are closing or reducing staff in the Masai Mara and some amazing deals are there to be had for the trip of a life time.
Sure it is not the migration season and the mind numbing volumes of animals are not there but they are just about all there in smaller numbers to be seen. A visit now could save you a fortune and having done both a trip during migration and one in the off season, I have to say that the smaller numbers of tourists more than makes up for the smaller numbers of wildlife.
The wildebeest are a dumb as sheep anyhow so do you really need to see 1,000,000 of the idiots?
The big 5 cats are there and are doing their thing. Get a good camera and go!
No I am not a travel agent either - I have just fallen in love with the country, it's people and the animals.