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Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The Fairmont Mara Safari Club was this year named by Travel and Leisure to be the third best hotel in the whole wide world.  What a jump:  from #96 in 2009 to #3 in 2010.  Our previous stop, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, was #74 overall, which is a significant honor because no one is quite sure how many hotels there are in this world, and a million would not be too far off.  For the record:

#1  Oberoi Vanyavilas (Ranthambhore, India)
#2  Triple Creek Ranch (Darby, Montana)

Never heard of them?  Who's been to Ranthambhore or Darby?  I guess T&L types must like oddball strange places.

The past twenty-four hours were the most exciting on my trip thus far.  First, yesterday we snuck up on three white rhinoceroses.  Of course, white and black rhinos are all the same brown color, which looks like the dirt roadway, but I was assured that the soil was not why they were so colored.  It is possible that evolution camouflaged them.

If the nervous male charged us, some would not have made it, as our Land Cruisers were a hundred hards away, and there were no trees to climb.

Today, we were awakened at 4:30AM for a hot air balloon ride.  My knowledge of these contraptions is to hop into a small basket, not unlike in Around the world in 80 Days.  Not so! Our rectangular basket with four compartments (each capable of holding up to three) began horizontal (see above), we had to crawl in and hang on for the balloon to inflate, springing us vertical, then, with a discombobulative whoosing sound (the butane burner is deafening) and concern, we suddenly are off the ground exactly at sunrise.  Up we go, but not fast enough, as our basket crashes into the top of a tree, but we do barely clear the area.  After that, if you blocked out the sporadic noise, the ride was serene and spectacular.

There were so many wildebeest that it was impossible to count. We saw several carcasses representing kills during the night.  Our group was split into two balloons, with the other one behind us.

Hank and Flo having their Christmas card photo taken below. Why not Red and Green?  Well, the Masai combo is Red and Purple.  The flying experience is the highlight of this tour, thus far.

I also photographed two African sunbursts.

Here is Pearl with her sunburst:

Finally, sunset at Masai Mara.

Well, the Republicans took over the House, but it could have been worse for the Democrats.  Look for at least two more years of gridlock on legislation dealing with global warming.



Anonymous said...

Aloha, Pat,

Did you vote? No comments about the future of Hawaii?


Patrick Kenji Takahashi said...

Dear Zuojun:

Sorry to say that I missed voting. But, no one missed my vote. Congress will even more be in gridlock now.

Well, I look forward to comments about my message to Xi, as the Huffington Post is allowed in China. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if I get none.