Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Way to Nairobi!

And there were 36 of us making our way to Kenya!

Ever since I was a teen – My heart has been focused on Africa. 

My Grannie and Grandpa John (Dad’s mom and step-dad) made a journey to Africa in the 1970s. Grannie LOVED photography, and was pretty good at it even with cameras before the computerized era – when technology dictated that you look for the right conditions, reset all the settings, set up the shot, take it – and cross your fingers until you could have the film developed never knowing if you caught what you hoped you caught.

Slides were the viewing of choice back then, and oh the evenings we spent with Grandpa John going into long winded stories with each and every frame – the click of advancing slides on the carousel interrupting his speech as he’d announce “Next!”

The giraffes.  Grannie loved the giraffes so much. And every time I see something with a giraffe, I think to myself how Grannie would love this one, or that one – or what would she think of her Bonnie Belle being here now?

14 hours in a white metal tube.

We arrived morning time in Nairobi, but most of us agreed – little sleep on the plane made it still feel like the middle of the night, and we pushed forward and onward like zombies.

My first view of Africa from my aisle seat – fresh with rain.

Luggage accounted for!

Well, except one.

One traveler’s bag was still somehow sitting in JFK.  It never made the flight.  It should arrive today – which meant there was nothing we could do to solve the situation except -


Town is so crazy busy that our big bus wouldn’t be able to find parking so we loaded up on to two small busses and tag teamed each other to the shopping district.  Destination?


And African garments, handmade and ready to wear.

Oh my stars – we are in NAIROBI!!

And the shops are so happy to see us!

Much of the fabric is sold in 6 meter lengths and you have to take the whole piece.  If you are lucky, you can find a couple of other quilters willing to jump in and split the big piece between you.  Prices?  For me it averaged out to about $8.00 a meter.

So many colors and patterns!

Quilters MUST pet the fabric!

My prize.

Hand painted batik – still crunchy with wax and smelling like crayons.  Not sure what I am going to do with it – but it embodies everything that I hoped I would find to bring home – an art piece that I can add to and make my own.

A few of the other goodies -

I don’t like to haggle.  Seriously.  It stresses me out.  So I could have, would have bought more IF – they would have been honest with a fair price and just told me what the best price was so both parties were happy.  But this is a haggling country.  And I left knot knowing whether I had been schnookered or not.  Were people doing the happy dance of joy because they pulled one over the very na├»ve American?

(I hate buying cars for this same reason – I hate the haggle!  Some love it, but not me.)

Last night’s welcome dinner!

last night’s night sounds:

And MY biggest surprise of all – we were met at the hotel by Craftours owner, Jim West!  I had no idea he was joining us on this adventure . He had just finished a group tour in Uzbekistan, and I had NO idea he was planning on surprising our group.  So much exciting.  If we can only wrap our body clocks around this time zone thing.

For me- it’s 7 hours difference from the East Coast, but we’ve got folks from as far away as Alaska, so I can’t imagine how they are feeling it.

As it was last night I went to bed SO frustrated that I couldn’t get the new camera to connect to my phone so I could transfer the photos over for editing, uploading to Google Photos, etc.  NOTHING I tried seemed to work.

This morning I woke up at about 4:15. (I had been up a couple of other times as well…yeah, this day is going to require a nap!) and it hit me – It was the VPN on my phone keeping me from connecting.  I tried it – and sure enough. Bingo.  And I had wasted about 1 1/2 hours last night trying to get it to work before going to bed.  Sheesh.

This fun group of girls!!

This is a posse to be reckoned with – and so much fun to travel with as well!  A group of 8 – 7 from Iowa and one from Illinois!  I can hardly wait to see the shenanigans unfold.

Truly, the best part of this travel thing is having enough time to just spend the time together getting to know one another.  We are all in this together.  And it’s going to be a ball.

One more night here!

We are spending 2 nights at the Nairboi Serena Hotel before heading out to the Nanyuki region and our next adventure.

This morning breakfast is early – 6:30, which is in about 20 minutes so I better wrap this up and get a move on. 

our itinerary includes the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Nairobi Giraffe Center,  Kanen Bixen Musem (from out of Africa!) and the Kazuri Bead Factory.

I don’t think there is going to be much time for that nap after all!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

How determined are you? Today is the day to encourage yourself forward!

It’s Friday here – time to make it happen!


  1. So exciting... for those of us who will never be able to afford to have these kinds of adventures in our lifetime... we do so appreciate you telling us all about yours... we can only experience these things through your eyes. Thank you so much for sharing all the sights and details with us!

  2. What a great experience.....thank you for sharing the fun...your pictures are a treasure !

  3. I'm almost as excited as if I were there! Have a wonderful trip--take lots and lots of photos! :)

  4. your room looks beautiful. I am going to have to look up how long a meter is so I can tell if $8 is good or not. Looks like a busy shopping district. How is the food, what do they have on the menu.

  5. So excited for you all, let the memory making begin. Can’t wait to see Kenya through your eyes!

  6. OMG, I’m so excited to travel with you vicariously. I spent a couple weeks in Kenya last year and went to many of the places you’ll be going. The Sheldrick Wildlife Center is amazing. I adopted two elephants last year and one this year (give Larro a hug for me!) Enjoy this beautiful country and people.

  7. I loved Out of Africa and it was my dream to travel there one day. June 2001 to South Africa and with a new camera like you. Zoom lens and 25 rolls of film back then. Glad you are able pull the pictures off the camera. Enjoy the trip - you deserve it.

  8. Hi Bonnie, welcome to my Africa!!! The most beautiful continent, just wish you came to South Africa, maybe next time. Hope you all enjoy your wonderful trip. Very envious of you all. Much love!!

  9. So glad everyone arrived safely in Africa! Thanks for keeping us posted on your adventures!

  10. Fantastic! Love your Giraffes just so darned cute. Hope you all have an amazing adventure
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  11. For the first time, we are on the same date line. I normally get your Monday blog on our Tuesday!! :)

  12. Someone once told me when traveling to a less developed country to not fret over prices. We are so blessed in the US that the price difference is just a donation that helps many people. Haggling is for those with the time to do it and the ability to walk away for another day. I am so jealous that you get to go to the Elephant Orphanage. Ana USA

  13. what joy to share some of your excitement travelling and experiencing a dream coming true

  14. I was in Nairobi, just last December, and enjoyed visiting the places that you mentioned for your trip today! You will have a great time... kissing giraffes, touching baby elephants, going to “Out of Africa”, and the beads...and the women.... I hope you have room to pack a few items... and do watch the movie again and read some of the biographies of the Blixen Story People... What a day. It brings back so many memories! Keep the photos coming..

  15. I am so excited for you all! I don't see how you have so much energy Bonnie! I don't think you ever slow down! Enjoy every moment!

  16. Looks like you all are going to have a wonderful adventure - so excited for you all!!

  17. I have one word for you if you don't like to haggle buying a car - CarMax. Totally good experience. I think they only deal in used cars but I keep my cars for 12 to 15 years on average, so a one year old used car is new to me. Great that Jim W. could join you. I am jealous. Bead factory sounds wonderful.

  18. Bonnie.... I so appreciate that you are willing to take us on your trip!! I love following your beautiful adventures and seeing these beautiful countries and cities through your eyes! Have a wonderful time and keep sending the wonderful photos and beautiful words! Godspeed! Betsy D

  19. OMG, Bonnie!!!! Sounds like a BLAST! Cannot wait to see all your pictures and read your posts!!! I am with your grandma! I LOVE giraffes and also elephants :) I love all your posts no matter where you are, but your Africa pics, I am sure, will be awesome! can't wait to see and read!! Have a SUPER great time!

  20. It looks like an exciting trip so far! cant wait to see the pictures.xoxox

  21. My friend just received a birthday gift from that elephant orphanage...a one year adoption of an elephant. If you see "Ziwadi", that's her elephant! Have a wonderful time. Sounds like you already are. :-)

  22. Just so jealous!!! But so excited for you and your group. Thank you for letting us see it through your eyes. Enjoy your journey - nap or no nap!!!

  23. Once again we get to travel vicariously with you to fabulous places. Thank you for taking us along via posts and photos. So good to see the beautiful faces of the quilters with you. Safe days ahead♥

  24. I’m so thrilled to see the pics & the ongoing story! The pics of the fabric shop gave me palpitations! Lol have a great time - anxiously waiting for what you get up to next!

  25. Awesome Bonnie! Thanks for the gift of night music, what an amazing and beautiful sound, just so sweet. Have fun everyone!

  26. I dislike haggling also. Although I got a discount in a fabric store in the Caribbean because my husband put the bolts of fabric back on the shelves after I looked at them. He’s a keeper.

  27. yesterday didn't start well without my "Bonnie Fix"-- but was wishing you well, thank you o much for your posts and updates, i'm there! and I'll take a nap for ya! Cats in Carlsbad CA

  28. Your comments about your grandparents brought tears to my eyes. Your Granny would be soooo proud of you! I also agree about haggling. I HATE it, it stresses me out too!! We found a wonderful place where we buy cars now. They are used rental cars and there is a posted price and no haggling. It's awesome! Have a safe trip!

  29. Your comments about your grandparents brought tears to my eyes. Your Granny would be sooo proud of you! I agree with Haggling, it makes me nervous. I don't like it at all. We found a great place to buy cars. They are used rentals and they have a posted, fair price, no haggling. It's awesome! Have a safe trip!

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  31. Oh, I am going to have so much fun on this African Quilting tour or yours! Have you ever noticed in group quilter pictures that we all look alike? Could have come from the same family? We all have simple hair-do's because we would rather play with fabric than with out hair!

  32. Oh it's so exiting to follow you and your group to Kenia! Wish you all the best, good company and experiences during this travel! Thanks for sharing and putting so much effort in it!

  33. VPNs -- another love/hate relationship with a modern convenience. So hard to remember the VPN is there in the background protecting and ready to frustrate us! I have several giraffes around my house, so I am enjoying your stitchery and your fabric treasure. Looking forward to seeing/hearing more from this adventure.

  34. I'm so excited for you and your fellow travelers! I can't wait to see pictures and read about your adventures!!!

  35. Thank You for sharing your Kenya adventure with us, Bonnie! I look forward to each episode you send our way! Also, will be looking forward to the gals from KPQG's adventures when they get home!

    Looking forward to making a trip w/you next summer!

    Kasilof, AK
    Where we got our first snow the other night, but it is back to fall weather now. Mother Nature is warning us to get ready for winter!


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