What you need to know:
- Roger was wondering what time his wife would be waking up in the UK so he could ask her to cancel all his credit cards.
- A fish eagle was calling from a tree by the lakeshore, and a sunbird was flitting from blossom to blossom near the banda’s veranda.
Peter came back the other day. This is the Peter who featured in my very first Going Places 29 years ago — 1991.
He was recently here on holiday from the United Kingdom, and I took him for a picnic to Lake Magadi. I love that place — its wildness and stark beauty. But when we arrived, Peter asked, “Why have you brought me here?” As I said in that first article, I can never be sure that others will like what I like.
Anyway, Peter had brought his friend Roger with him. I asked Peter what he would like to do, and he said he was interested in birds.
I then asked about Roger. “Oh, Roger will be fine,” Peter said. “He loves talking about politics and, anyway, he will go with the flow.”
I thought I was onto a winner and chose another lake. I booked Camp Carnelly’s at Lake Naivasha, which must be one of the finest birding sites in the world. At Carnelly’s, the best bandas go for only Sh8,000 a night — per banda and not per person.
They have a view of the lake, comfortable beds and hot showers. And the food in the bar-restaurant is special; varied, imaginative and more sophisticated than you might expect from a place called a camp.
However, on the way there, Peter told me he had been reading that most unreliable guide, Trip Advisor, and someone had written that the bandas at Carnelly’s are overrated and overpriced; the windows have no glass, and there are clouds of mosquitos.
So I was relieved when we found that their allocated Banda 3 had glass windows. A fish eagle was calling from a tree by the lakeshore, and a sunbird was flitting from blossom to blossom near the banda’s veranda. Idyllic.
So when I met up with them during breakfast — a full English breakfast included in the room price — I expected smiley faces. But both looked down in the mouth.
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
“Roger has lost his wallet. We think it must have been stolen,” Peter said.
It was a sombre breakfast. Roger was wondering what time his wife would be waking up in the UK so he could ask her to cancel all his credit cards.
But then he said, “Just a minute!” He put his hand in the left back pocket of his shorts and pulled out his wallet. He had suddenly remembered that before going to bed he moved the wallet from his trousers to his shorts, and he must have put it in the wrong pocket.
Later, when closing the back door of my Defender after arriving at the Fish Eagle Hotel to watch the England vs Ireland rugby match, Peter slammed the door and smashed my finger. I have never felt such pain. For the first time in my life I fainted.
After recovering a few minutes later, I sat at the bar with my two friends to watch the match. The barman couldn’t find the right channel. We hassled him for quite a while until I Googled to check the start time — only to discover that the match was scheduled for the next day.
Otherwise, the day was fine. The sun stayed out. The morning boat ride with Robert, the excellent guide from Carnelly’s, was very successful. Peter saw plenty of birds. Roger went well with the flow. The lunch down the road at the Ranch House Bistro went down well too. And the whiskey I drank instead of eating dinner in order to dull the pain of my crushed finger ensured a good night’s sleep.
If any of you has watched the British comedy Last of the Summer Wine …. the day for us three old men was just like that.
Fox is chairman of iDC