Critters...some scary...some not. Plus, photos all the way to the end of the post...

Hesborn, our houseman, stopped by Wednesday morning, after a full night of rain,  to
show us this carnivorous, stinging, dangerous creature which actually has less than 100 legs, and yet is still referred to as a centipede.  He warned us not to walkin the grass after a rain.  A sting from this ugly creature will require a trip to an emergency room.  These not only walk but also climb up bedposts.  Oh.
The past few days have been interesting. On Tuesday morning our XCom Global MiFi wasn't working, leaving us unable to post.  Normally posting in the morning, the planned 10 am cab ride to grocery shop gave me no choice but to write in the early afternoon when we returned only at that point to have no connection.
Frustrated, we decided to stop at the Safari Com cellphone store, conveniently located above the grocery store, to see what options were available to purchase a global GSM unlocked HotSpot, comparable to that which Hans loaned to us.  Although less powerful than the MiFi, a portable hotspot requiring SIM cards, can at least provide us with connectivity.
Once past the armed guards (as mentioned in Wednesday's post), the response to our question,  "Do you have a Global GSM Hotspot that will work for us after we leave Africa?"

This good-sized lizard came to call as we lounged in our outdoor living room.  Thanks for the nice pose, Ms. or Mr. Lizard.

The emphatic answer from the representative was a resounding "Yes!" as he pointed to a device, similar to that which we'd borrowed from Hans which we'd brought along with us in the event of a language barrier.  He turned us over to a sales woman, who spoke very softly with a thick accent, difficult to hear and understand.  Attentive and determined to be helpful we appreciated her efforts, continually thanking her for her efforts.

An hour later, Hans' Hotspot no longer worked after the rep had removed the SIM card, disabling the device until Hans could late re-enter his PIN # which we didn't have with us.  Oh, good grief.

Hesborn referred to this as a millipede.  We didn't bother to count the number of legs. Apparently, these are harmless, although if walking on a person, they leave a trail of "itchy liquid."

Then, as we're ready to pay after "being approved" by their system, once again I asked, "Are you sure this is a worldwide device?"

A millipede in relation to the tip of my shoe.  One wouldn't want to snuff this out with their foot if discovered in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

"Wait, let me ask," the rep helping us stated, moments later to return with an emphatic, "No, it works only in Kenya."
As Alfred drove us to the stores, we passed many similar buildings.
That does us no good whatsoever.  We'll use Hans' device while in Kenya which he so kindly offered to us, for which we ended up purchasing additional gigabytes, most likely to last for a month.
We left the store with only the extra "scratch offs," used to reload the gigs on a phone or hotspot.  We purchased US $72 of SIM cards, hoping they'd last long enough for us to continue recording our favorite shows on Graboid and, for Tom watching the Minnesota Vikings game.  
Wednesday, we ordered a new device online as we're gathering supplies for a box to be shipped to us via DHL hopefully within a month. (We'll share details of our inclusions once the box arrives).
Its these run down lean-to type shacks that depict the aspect of a third world country, many without running water and electricity.  And here we are,in the upscale resort community of Diani Beach.
Next, we attempted to visit the recommended travel agency in the same two story mall as the grocery store to determine which safari options were available during our three month stay.  They'd gone out of business. 
Next, we grocery shopped, spending yet another US $300, after shopping only a week ago, spending slightly more at that time. 
However, included in our grocery bill was a case of beer for Tom; US $4.85 for the 24 empty bottles, US $34.33 for the liquid in the bottles and US $3.83 for the crate holding the bottles with the liquid in it, for a grand total for the beer of $43.03.  Of course, we'll eventually return the empties for a refund of US $8.68.
Few of us can relate to the hardships of daily life in these sparse habitat.
Next, we purchased two 18.9 liters of bottled water, the liquid at US $8.24, the empty returnable bottles at a total of US $23.79.  All is all, we spent US $75.06 for beer and water out of the total bill US $301.12.
In a prior post I mistakenly stated that the VAT tax on groceries was 21% when in fact its 16%, the 21% applying to dining in a restaurant. Please excuse the misquote. Thus, the tax for our groceries according to the receipt was Kenya Shillings $3062 for US $35.04.
The Nakumatt grocery store is guarded with armed security who, for security reasons refused to be photographed.
Individually, no single food item was outrageously priced except for my medium sized bags of unshelled pistachio nuts for US $16.25.  Add the tax for a total of US $18.85, not worth the price.  There are other less expensive nuts I'm happy to munch on such as Macadamia nuts at US $3.94 for a large bag.  Many items in the grocery store weren't clearly marked, making buying decisions difficult.
A good sized container  of "natural" insect repellent lotion was US $1.66.  You get the drift.  Most products are inexpensive. Taxes and "extras" are high.  Going forward, our goal is to be more mindful of the cost of items as we become more aware of the pricing while finding a comfort level with the exchange rate as we shop.

The parking lot as we waited the few minutes for Alfred to return to pick us up with our groceries.
In almost every grocery aisle is an employee, friendly and anxious to assist with purchases and, as mentioned last week, good little salespeople, pushing certain products.  With their warmth and attentiveness, it's difficult although at times necessary, to turn down their often pricier suggestions.
Our cab driver, was on the spot when we called to say we were ready to leave.  He insisted on loading and later unloading all of our heavy groceries.  Once they were inside on the garage floor, Hesborn jumped in to help bring the boxes and bottles inside (no grocery bags here, only used cardboard boxes).  Tom, with nary a lazy bone in his body, insisted on helping.
This mother baboon was carefully watching us with her babies in the background as we stopped for a photo. Tom quickly shut the window when she approached the car to peer inside.
Putting away the groceries was once again challenging in the small galley kitchen.  I threw Tom out to tackle this on my own, having found a place for everything a short time later.
The kitchen door must be shut in order to open the refrigerator door.  In essence, this is probably a good thing since monkeys have been known to race into a kitchen to begin grabbing food out of an open refrigerator door.  Having a habit of leaving the door wide open while unloading perishable groceries, this reality is especially motivating for me to remember to shut the door.
Baby baboon searching for morsels of food in the grass.
With our shopping completed and put away, we had to begin figuring out why the MiFi wasn't working and to find Hans to help us with his hotspot.  A few hours later, now close to dinnertime, Hans arrived, easily getting the hotspot up and running. 
As for the MiFi,  I sent XCom Global a request to give the device a "hit" after listing multiple codes, serial numbers and device information into a lengthy email.  With the time difference, we never heard back.  
The second baby baboon we excitedly observed as we stopped along the road on the return drive from shopping on Tuesday.
Wednesday morning, it was working again.  Apparently, the hit worked enabling us to switch back and forth between the two devices based on the amount of data we'll be using for larger downloads. 
Technology issues in a primarily third world country can be frustrating, as we've so well experienced. The more we're able to figure out solutions for our technology, the more time we'll have to experience the reasons we choose to visit countries such as Kenya, as illustrated in these and other photos we've included here.
Mama baboon as she lost interest in us and returned to her children.  Oh.
We chose to experience Africa to witness its people, its wildlife and its vegetation, all of which we've already richly enjoyed with a modicum of effort while staying relatively close to home.  Soon, we'll expand our horizons for the life changing thrills of a safari.  If we get excited over seeing an unfamiliar insect, can you imagine our reaction to an elephant?  A zebra?  A lion?
Gucci, one of Hans' two small dogs, came by for a few scratches this morning which we're delighted to provide.  We love dogs.


Anonymous said...

Your pictures are always so fantastic. The different insects are amazing, but I would not want to come upon one in the house. It must have been really exciting to have seen the baboons up close. I bet the locals laugh when they see tourists get so excited over a monkey or an insect.
Too bad about the frustrations of the technology, but I know how much you depend upon it with being so far away from family. Can you imagine what it must have been like before there was this much technology? Hans sounds really nice to have around.
The price of beer and water, I suppose, is understandable, since water is precious there. But I was wondering how the groceries could have been so reasonable in Italy with you living in such a remote area and up in the mountains. In Africa they appear to be as expensive as the US.
It sure is sad to see the huts and how some people have to live.
I always miss the posts when your internet is down.
Best wishes,
Epic friends, Pat and Dan

Jessica said...

It means so much to us that you and our other readers have commented about our photos. Learning to take decent photos is an ongoing process. I doubt we'll ever be great at it but at least we've learned enough to be able to share them here.

In the time we got down the mountain on the scary roads, the grocery store was actually in a fairly populated city of Pescia, lower in the mountains, attracting shoppers from all over the area. I miss that store but we'll make do here, although much more limited, comparable to when we lived in Belize.

We attempt to write every single day. Now we have a better chance of staying connected switching back and forth with the two MiFis during the day.

If service in the area goes down, we will also. So if you don't hear from us for a few days, that is most likely the reason.

Thanks again for you kind and inspiring comments.

Warmest regards,

Jess & Tom

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