Easter weekend in Kenya is invariably a wet one. Where ever you go - beach or bush, it is basically going to rain. Rain and various additional contributing factors such as available funds, a recent expensive holiday already taken, a planned trip away this coming weekend and one daughter saddled with piles of revision, meant that, shock horror - we decided to stay home.
I'm not very good at this. For weeks now, people have been exchanging news of the upcoming Easter plans. "Where are you going? What are you doing?"
My inbox has been flooded by Easter weekend away offers from safari camps trying to drum up low season 'local' trade, while international tourists shy away from rain and politics.
If I was at home in England, we might be lucky enough to visit family for a big meal at some point over the weekend. There would be some chocolate and that would be enough. My impression is that the weight of expectation would not be so high as it is when living overseas. When expats hit a national holiday, at every opportunity (and in the absence of extended family members to visit), they tend to travel, take a safari; go to the beach.
Buckling under peer pressure, I have subjected my family to some pretty poor, knee-jerk Easter weekend trips away. Once we went to Malindi. Two entire days of the 4 day holiday were spent in the car. The 3 nights we spent in the hotel were a purgatory of mosquitoes, extreme heat, 100% humidity and muggy, overcast days. Needless to say, any chocolate we had, melted. Last year we forked out a fortune, only to find that the lodge was taking advantage of their 'low season' to renovate (and therefore close) the swimming pool and some of the tents - but still insisted on charging top 'national holiday' dollar for the privilege. (Funny how the travel agent never mentioned this...). The year before that we plumped for a last minute cancellation at a KWS banda in Meru. (see previous post on our trip to Meru)
This year, I was sorely tempted to join good friends who were heading to a lodge in Tsavo West. In the event, they ended up spending one night in their car hounded by tsetse flies, after being stuck in mud by an overflowing river for 24 hours - so, in retrospect, giving that one a miss was a good decision. (They may not have been thinking the same thing - if we had been with them, we could have pulled them out!).
So, how did the staycation go?
Friday - I nearly go mad. What have we done? This is a four day holiday... what am I going to feed everyone? It's raining. The electricity has gone off. The dogs are bringing mud into the house. I miss Gladys and Florence! The revision is going badly. Helping our 12 year old revise is a thankless task. the other two kids are stir crazy. I'm stir crazy. I think of where we could go - just for one night, then when the power comes back, send a frantic 'last minute Easter booking request' out to a lodge. Perhaps we could still go somewhere! My husband says "look, it was your decision to stay. We're staying."
Saturday. - I have got hold of myself. I started reading a book (first time in ages) - exhale. We are making headway with the revision. Normality returns when Gladys and Florence arrive for a morning's clean up. Heaven. I take my eldest down to the local shops and we choose a whole lot of rental dvds. The two kids go on a bike ride with Dad, we all meet up have a family coffee together. I make a cake for tomorrow.
Sunday - we go to lunch with friends. It's absolutely lovely. The kids spend the afternoon on a sugar high and are thrilled to be let out of the house and seeing their mates. It's still raining though, and the power/electricity is off all night and all day. The day ends with another enormous thunderstorm.
Monday - A trip to Nairobi National Park is planned for the afternoon. No power so we go out for breakfast at our local cafe. I recognise a few people. It's reassuring to see people out and about on a national holiday. Perhaps we're not the only ones who decided to stay in Nairobi. The park was fun. The sun came out (briefly). A few cars were stuck in mud here and there and my husband waded into an overflowing river in order to add to the debate between 3 cars to see if it was passable (all good fun). Had a lovely sundowner picnic. Saw a giraffe on the road, a rhino next to the road and two adult lions with two cubs sitting right on the grassy verge on our game drive out.
On balance, we had a lovely time and saved ourselves a packet.
Why I hate Facebook?
As you may have surmised, I am an absolute sucker for being swayed by peer pressure that I have vow never to join, the horribly unhealthy Facebook because it's all about showing off and telling people about the marvellous things you are up to (okay, it's a bit like a blog). If I was on Facebook, my face would be perpetually green. I don't see myself as a particularly jealous person, but put it this way, it's bad enough hearing about everyone else's holidays on the school playground or supermarket check-out queue - without having their holiday snaps staring back at you every time you go oline!
Admittedly, I am having a pretty tricky time convincing my eldest daughter that it's not a good idea to join the evil networking site....