Another comfy baboon free sleep although I could hear them in the trees during the night, and the increasingly annoying Tomek and his girlfriend Moni from Germany (haha only kidding Tomek you were my favourite really…..or were you?! 😜😎) supposedly had to ward one off from entering our other group mate Chris’ tent the evening prior, so they were happy enough to enter the proximity of humans without fear, cheeky blighters but regardless of this my night remained monkey free.
Breakfast was enjoyed once again and I had entered a sausage eating competition with my German counterpart and was keen on beating his record of 10 from the previous morning. I had, in true british fashion, been sparing and considerate of the other guests yesterday and dared only three sausages onto my plate and even then felt naughty, but when Tomek joined the party only minutes later I saw him shovelling up a huge pile onto his plate leaving hardly any room for anything else and I was amused by the audacity of the man, screw you guys I’m having what I want was his attitude, oh sausage master Mr Tomek I’m in awe of your bravery! In actuality they just kept coming so there were still plenty to go around but he wasn’t to know that when he pilfered the remaining 10 from the tray now was he?! 😅
So today I approached the sausage depot and confidently dished myself out 11 of the tasty morsels and proudly found myself a seat at the long table. My fellow Masai Mara safari goers looked in wonder and dared not comment on the meat feast that sat before me it was just a shame that Tomek hadn’t arrived yet to see that I had toppled him from his throne and had now become the master of the breakfast table! He arrived a little while later with the lovely Moni as I was just finishing up and I was fortunate enough to see that a new tray was yet to be brought out so he was only limited to 5 or 6 and I knew then that I would remain the champion of this unmentioned challenge that I had created purely for my own amusement, kiss my Geopard balls my German friend! (Sorry Gaypod or Geopard as the Cheetah is known in German was a little joke we had the previous day, apologies for the in-joke reference).
After I was awarded my trophy for being the best and favourite breakfast eater of the tour we walked to the Masai Village guided by our very own protectors Augustus and Oli. I knew this was all very touristified and I had heard that they expected 15 dollars from each of us for the privilege and had decided on the previous evening that I wouldn’t join the few of our group that had decided to go. I hate being exploited as the “rich” tourist and these guys received a host of people daily so I wasn’t totally buying the poverty stricken sob story as most of them wore western clothes under the shufas (traditional material blanket that are worn to keep them warm and distinguish from which tribe they belong).
That morning however I had a change of heart and although I knew what we were entering into I was happy to play the game and go with the flow of life (sorry another in-joke just for you Mr T) even if it was to cost me an extra dollar or two.
It was a short visit but actually quite interesting, first we learnt how to make a fire in the wild with only basic tools and although I already knew the concept of starting a fire with two bits of wood and some kindling the practical version was slightly different. I have to admit if I was left alone it would have taken me a long while to get any sort of ember going but now I understand about the downforce you need to apply on the wood I’m sure I would be much more successful if left to my own devices. Tomek I have to admit was better than me….bastard! It must have been his chunky and evidently more powerful arms compared to my dainty but elegant limbs.
Next was the dance and jumping competition that I’m convinced I was better at but the chief seemed to think the damn German had the edge yet again so he was declared the better jumper and could marry with a dowry of only five cows rather than ten but I still think he was blinded by the success he had with the fire starting. I surmised that it must have been the extra four sausages weighing me down that just tipped the balance?! Can you tell I’m quite competitive and used to being on top so I was quietly disappointed but if anyone deserves a wife for only 5 cows I’m glad it was you Tomek. I would still like to see the replay though…
After my epic failings as a Masai Warrior we were allowed to enter the houses of the tribe and although I had only been the runner up of the initiations I was obviously the favoured personality (😆) as the son of the chief and most esteemed amongst all that had welcomed us allowed me access into his home and the others joined the remaining tribe members to see where they resided. It was cosy in there with very limited space, only a small room with a fire in the centre enough to seat maybe 4 people around it but I was surprised at the warmth that was generated especially considering the chill that was about outside. Off of this main compartment there were two alcoves for sleeping one for the adults and one for the children, and just enough space for a thin mattress in each. The house was made of wood and packed with mud to create a relatively thick wall with a smooth finish and supposedly took 2 months to build, this one however was slightly posher than the others as the bedrooms, if you can call them that, were equipped with mosquito nets and there was even a solar light in the adults sleeping compartment that had been a gift from a tourist and was certainly unique to the other houses. It seems I had the privilege of inspecting the best house on the block and you should probably look out for it on the Masai version of “MTV Cribs” that should be viewing next month!
After we were done viewing the houses the inevitable sales pitch came and we were bombarded with overpriced trinkets of which I decided to refrain from buying, especially the Lions tooth as I had not been the one to hunt and kill the poor fella as was required by the children that are sent out into the savannah for 4-5 years to survive and on their return to the tribe those that have succeeded in the trials of becoming a man are permitted to kill one Lion to prove they are true Masai Warriors. They strip the hide and remove the teeth and claws leaving the remainder of the carcass to the fate of the animals and return home. I am however starting to pick holes in this story as surely such trophies would be held in high regard by the warriors each of whom must have faced certain death or at least risk of being severely wounded and yet they are eager to sell them to any old tourist who comes on a safari? Hmmmmm not convinced, are they even Lions teeth? I know there were a fair few Lions out there but surely they aren’t killing them for the benefit of pawning them off to the tourists, are they?
There was a small market formed in a circle selling more trinkets made by the Masai and we were told that the profit is shared amongst the tribe equally although the way in which each woman is beckoning me to buy “their” wares I’m not so sure? Sorry to be sceptical but I can see a tourist trap from a mile off and it saddens me slightly, authenticity levels drop off rather rapidly with things such as forced entry fee, fake or farmed lions teeth, and the clear ‘every woman for herself’ at the market, all of which came at a premium. Fortunately however I knew that this was the way of things here before I had agreed to come so I was happy to play along regardless. Re-joining the group once more we ambled over to the market and with a playful grin and song on my lips I perused what was on offer. I actually wanted a little trinket to remind myself of what an amazing experience I’d had here in the Masai Mara but unfortunately and to confirm my suspicions the first woman I approached spouted flatly “No singing just buying!” so I poked my tongue out at her and swiftly moved on to the next lady trying not to dwell on the cold reality that only our hard earned shillings were what they really wanted and not to enjoy a human encounter in addition to making a sale. It’s a shame but I kind of understand I mean I’m probably being harsh here seeing as I have resided, for the most part, in a bricked and insulated building with running hot and cold water, high speed internet, and a fridge full of food available for consumption on a whim so I suppose I need to gather some perspective here, sorry Masai people and thank you for a lovely experience here in your native lands.
Once we were done we boarded the van which was waiting not far away from the market and joined the remaining members of our party who did not accompany us this morning and off we went back to Nairobi. What an amazing side trip and so worth it!
The journey seemed shorter than before probably because I was chatting with Tomek for the most part and when we arrived back in the city we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Nairobi was bustling as ever the sun was blazing overhead and cars, buses and people filled the streets. For some reason it seemed much more amenable than my first impressions some days before (probably because it wasn’t lashing it down) and I felt happy as I walked back to the glorious Sunrise Hotel. I was so happy to be reunited with my bike and before checking in I immediately rushed to where she had been stored to greeted her. After showering her with kisses and embracing one another for a long moment (much to the amusement of the lady at reception and doorman) I was finally ready to gather my belongings and wash off the dust of the Masai Mara.
I had returned to the hotel at about 4pm and for the remainder of the day I relaxed, ate lots, and not much more. Tomorrow I ride! Oh when I was arranging my bags that evening I noticed that I had lost a clip on one of my pannier bags. Not the main hooks thank goodness but the clip at the bottom that slips around part of the rack and prevents the bag from flapping about. Annoying!! It must have come loose in the van as the bags were shuffled around a lot but it can’t be helped and it’s not a real problem anyway more annoying than anything else. Had I ensured it was tight of course it could have been avoided but “James The Maintenance King” strikes again!