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Sunday, October 31, 2010

*KENYA

As a country, relative to all of Africa, Kenya is doing well, thank you.  However, it is a country of recent crises:

1.  Early this year, there was a corruption scandal that could have brought down the government.

2.  Last year there was a food crisis.

3.  There are ethnic conflicts, droughts and more...but...

...the country, in general, is doing all right:

1.  Real estate in Nairobi is booming (due to the Somali pirates investing their ransom funds there).

2.  Despite challenges, the economy is doing well.

Kenya ranks #147 in the United Nations Human Development Index, compared to #149 for Haiti and #140 for Yemen.  However, the 2009 report (2010 is published in November) uses data up to 2007, and Haiti has a few new problems.  #1 is Norway, with the USA at #13.

The equator passes right through Kenya and Tanzania, and the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club straddles it.  I fully expected sweltering heat during my safari stops, but to my shock, it was never hot.  Usually, the temperatures are cool, and sometimes cold, for the elevation tends to exceed 4,000 feet, and goes up to 8,000 feet.  This hotel is at 7000 feet, and I'm perpetually cold.  I'm on a Tauck Tour, and here are a few typical photos of real people:

1.  The Masai (or Maasai) entertained:


2.  A Masai school at Ngorongoro:
Yes, five share a desk for two and twenty for each textbook.  But it was a delight, for their attitudes were off the chart:  positive, vibrant and appreciative.  The Masai tend to be taller than other tribes, but, for some reason, they don't care much for basketball.

3.  A picnic in Ngorongoro Crater with Marzie and Babak from Louisiana, Jill Colpack (of Concord), Susan and Eric Taub (Coral Gables):
A hawk of some sort swooped down and took a piece of meat off the plate of a person in our group.

4.  Kathleen Barr and Rebecca Collier of Fort Walton Beach at the Karen Blixen House, with Jacaranda trees in the background:


5.  A dinner with Hugh Powell of Boston:
The food is generally terrific, but like on a cruise, I am eating too much.  I also find that I'm mostly consuming steak.  I cut back today on lunch and sufficed with a salad, soup and pasta, with a large bottle of beer.

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Hurricane Tomas is at 100 MPH, and computer models show this powerful storm actually turning north:


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