Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Do you also see the resemblance between Herb Ritts' photo and mine?

Wednesday Morning Safari

My dad is visiting from Denmark this week, and seeing we were unable to fly to the Masai Mara for the customary safari, we settled for the next best thing: A trip to Nairobi National Park.

We set out at 5.30 am, the morning fog still lingering in the air as we headed into the park, driving around the fringes of the open grass plains with hundreds of animals dazing and grazing on them. Now, looking at animals in the wild is nothing short of amazing, but the fact that you can do it less than a 30-minute drive from your house, with the city's skyscrapers as a backdrop, is pretty mind blowing. (At least to a Scandinavian like myself, whose safaris tend to include a blackbird and a hare at best.)

Supposedly, the park has more than 80 wildlife species, and although we didn't see as many, I felt more than content with the 10-15 varieties that we got to gawk at. And as our grand finale, we got to see a male lion strutting around on the plains, while his sunbathing ladies kept an acute eye on him.

This rhino posed so professionally for the camera, I felt tempted to give it a big tip. Also, did you know that rhinos hang out with little white birds, who eat insects of their backs? Such peculiar traveling companions, but they seemed to get along really, really well.
Buffaloes. I think they're buffaloes, at least. What I know for sure, however, is that while grazing, they find it soothing to listen to podcasts with David Attenborough.  

Lions, for some reason, steal all the other animals' thunder. I don't know if it's that fact that it could so easily kill you, that's the big draw, but even our safari-seasoned driver was all: "LOOK! LOOK! SIMBA!

You have watched The Lion King one too many times, I thought to myself at first, but later I learned that simba is swahili for lion. So there's that.
They say buffaloes are really dangerous, but for the life of me, I cannot take them seriously. To me, this looks like a slightly kooky lady wearing curlers
I saturated the colors in this photo too much, I realize, but it's just because impalas otherwise blend in a little too well with the scenery. 

Wildebeest and a single impala, shying away from the rain.

Elusive alpha male. So typical.  It looks like it's dry humping the air. Also typical. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I may or may not have taken 500 pictures in one single weekend

In less than a weekend, actually. In fact, we spent only 26 hours at Olerai House by Lake Naivasha, but those 26 hours presented themselves like pretty much the best photo-op ever.

This was the view from the breakfast table.  And the lunch table. And the afternoon drinks table.
Gratuitous, aerial view of my breakfast. The owners had sourced the tableware from all over the world, I think, which we can all agree adds a terribly nice touch. 

Upon arrival, they offered that a staff warrior take us for a walk on the grounds, not least to protect us from the water buffaloes who were supposedly feeling a little antsy that morning. One of the females had given birth that very night, and if I had given birth to a baby buffalo, I too would be a little extra on my marks - I mean, look.
Just as we sat down to breakfast on Sunday morning, there was this whole clan of giraffes parading by. Along with zebras. And wild hogs. And water bucks. And impalas :) 
They even had a pet pig that enjoyed belly rubs. Johan was a little awkward in mentioning how you could make a really neat brush out of its hair, and the owner was all: "But it's our pet...?"
Our room. Enough said.

Our room as seen from outside. Monkeys jumped from the trees on to the tin roof every once in a while just to shake things up a bit

A view over Lake Naivasha. Or perhaps it's a smaller lake right next to Lake Naivasha. Anyhow, a lake and a view it is.
The main house.

Zebras hanging out with guests. 
Going to bed without flowers strewn on it, just feels unbearable now.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

LeRoy Grannis. The Grandfather of Surfphotography.

I get the feeling I'm far from the only one who's enjoying a fascination with all things west coast these days. The beach, the dessert, the cacti. That sun-hazed and worry-free aesthetic. The architecture and the swimming pools.

Apart from the fact that I guess it's very much in fashion, I attribute it partly to the fact that I'm currently living in an apartment reminiscent of an L.A. bungalow.  Or my idea of an L.A. bungalow, anyway. "Doesn't this just remind you of L.A.?" I regularly ask Johan while gesturing towards our surroundings. Which is a bit cocky, I guess, coming from someone who last visited L.A. 20 years ago.

Anyhow, for some reason or another I looked up surfphotography this morning, which in turn turned me on to LeRoy Grannis, the grandfather of surfphotography according to The New York Times. These photos, if I'm not mistaken, are all from the 1960's, most of them taken in Grannis' hometown of Hermosa Beach. And they just make me want to get a tan, go blond and drink coca-colas all day long while I lie on a towel on the beach and admire my own surfer abs.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A day at the races

On Sunday, Johan and I put on our best derby-gear and, as you do, spent a day at the Ngong Racecourse.

I think I've only attended a horse race once or twice in my life before - in suburban Denmark to be exact - and then as now the whole scenery struck me as so bizarre, a peculiar mix of down-and-out gamblers, old-money, people with old-money airs, shrimp cocktails and hotdogs. A nostalgic carnival, if you will, which you might as well embrace full on once you've decided to go.

And so we did. Drank beer, ate fish and chips and bet on two horses - the first one handpicked by my female intuition, and when that turned out not to be worth a damn, Johan went off on his own and bet on a winning horse, thus settling our total winnings at -150 Kenyan shillings.

Not bad, I think, for first timers like us, and I'm actually not altogether opposed to going back - particularly not if they start hosting Ostrich races, which I wouldn't miss for the world.

These are Johan's derby pants. At first he had his shirt tucked into his pants, but upon arrival, we felt that was a little too dainty. So he went with "casual derby" instead, which is a mix of 90s grunge, petty bourgeois and a floral tote.

The winning ticket! You have no idea how many things you need to consider before betting on a horse. Right from the weight of the jockey to whether or not the horse is wearing a tongue strap (what is that anyway?).
There's one thing I've noticed about Kenyans, which I really admire, namely their ability to kind of feel at home and chillax anywhere. You actually see this all over - in parks, by the high way, at the roadside :O)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

a walk in the park

There's a nice little park that sits about a stone's throw and a traffic jam from our house, and on days when Johan comes home from work early, he sometimes takes me there for a walk.

Now apart for the fact that public parks don't come aplenty in Nairobi (at least I don't think they do, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), the thing that's special about this park is that it has real live monkeys in it. Yup! A whole bunch of them, sitting around on the ground and in trees, doing their monkey-business and whatever, which is just so effing funny because, well, as that guy Darwin pointed out, they really pull off those anthropomorphic skits so well!

Of course, Johan and I are all, oh my god, it's like the thumb sucking monkey except it's real!!!!, while the locals are kind of "whaaat? You excited about these 'pigeons'?"

But whatever. Different strokes, right ;O)