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Kenya Part V

Monday 22 December 2008

What a day! I died and was resurrected many times. I experienced the first panic attack of my life. I hope never to experience it again. We had our last morning at Shampole and it was difficult to leave the place. I will always miss Shampole. Our days there were like a dream. Last night, we were told that a leopard came to the main lodge, jumped on the sofa, laid down, drank some water from the pool and left. I wish I could see it. Muhammed and Alex were really the perfect guides. It is clear that they are doing their job with passion and really care about the animals. For example, if Muhammed sees a plastic bottle in the distance, he drives the car for 15 minutes just to pick it up. It was an incredibly hot day. The pilot of the Yellow Wings plane, who came to pick us up was again F. Our flight was so bad that during 30 minutes due to heat and wind, the plane constantly and uncontrollably changed altitude and swerved side to side. I prayed non-stop. I had never been so terrified in my life before. It felt like we could not have come closer to death; I started asking myself whether or not I saw the angel of death.

Thank God even after landing in Nairobi, I could not stop crying. My heart was beating so fast that I had difficulty breathing. My dear F. was also scared but he could not think about himself when he saw the state I was in. He tried to console me.

I kept my eyes closed during the flight but opened them slightly as we were landing in Nairobi. Nairobi is really very green and on some hilly areas, there are big villas.

I tried to calm down as we were waiting at the Wilson Airport but when the time to get on the 14 people caravan plane (Safari Wings Airlines), which would take us to Masai Mara came, my panic attack started again and I had a complete nervous breakdown!

If there were sedatives I could buy from the airport, I would have or stayed in Nairobi all together. Right before the plane took off, as my attack became worse (I actually hate being the centre of attention, it is not my sort of behaviour at all but I simply could not control my panic) a lady came by me, stroked my hair and tried to calm me down. She told me that she gets on this plane every week and that it is the safest plane in Africa. I calmed down a bit. Since this plane was bigger than the previous one, it did not shake as much as the previous one and this time F. was sitting next to me. F. was also scared and nauseous but my dear was constantly comforting me. [...] Thank God, the plane's first stop was our camp.

Masai Mara's landscape is very different than Shampole. It is flat and very green. Shampole was very dry. Our guide here is David. [...] Here, you do not need to play hide and seek with the animals. They suddenly appear right in front of you anyway and are very used to cars and humans. They don't run away. They are almost domesticated like pets or zoo animals. As we were driving toward our camp, we saw an animal, which I was dying to see in the Masai Mara River: the hippopotamus! There were many of them and these giants were swimming in the river. They are so big that their head is almost as big as my entire body. We also saw a crocodile in the same river.

We are staying at the Kitcheche Camp. It is very different than Shampole Lodges. It is flat. It consists of 14 tents. There are beds, toilet and shower in each tent. It is not as elegant as Shampole but it may be more comfortable. Even then, I prefer Shampole.

In the evenings, everyone staying at the camp gathers around the fire and eats at the same table. I have been eating very heavy food for days now and I have been so immobile that I must have gained 10 kg. I feel very heavy. Our tent is the one farthest to the camp centre. It is called "Ngiri", which means wild boar in the Masai language. In the dark, the Masai "askaris" escort us and yes "askari" means "soldier" same as "asker" in Turkish. By the way, in Swahili, "Hakuna Matata" means "You're welcome/No problem" as a response to thank you. Just like the song in Lion King. Now a group of young people are chatting and singing near our tent. Unfortunately, we do not have peace and quiet here like we had in Shampole.

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