Day 52, bus day, stages 42 – 44, 350km
Start, Catholic convent Marsabet
Finish, Sportsmans Arms Hotel, Nanyuki
Busses are not made for pleasure. Busses are an expedient. They get you from A to B when there are no better options. We knew that. We knew that it was the right and expedient option. We also knew that the bus we were on was as good as a bus could be in the circumstances. But nobody wanted to be on that bus. So 60 copies of the Grinch that stole Christmas got on the bus at 6:15 ready to steal the presents from the kids in the town below. The combat fatigues and guns were with us on time. We left as the sun came up.
Yesterday we covered two days of cycling, today we would cover three and about 350km. Only the first of these three days was off road. So we expected to make better time once we hit tarmac to cover the final two days of this bussed section. As we entered Marsabet we left the lava fields. We were now onto hilly and green country – we even saw some wildlife.
We drove. We stopped for pee breaks. We drove. We stopped for lunch. We drove. We hi tarmac. We drove faster. We started to climb towards Mount Kenya. We drove some more. Eventually we arrived at Nanyuki over 11 hours later. People were numb. Stares were blank. People got off the bus wondering of their legs would still support them.
We had arrived at a place called the Sportmans Arms hotel, a fairly large place that caters to people who visit the game parks nearby or who have come to climb Mont Kenya. We will be here for the next 4 days and 5 nights waiting out the election and the early results. Gotta love politics and politicians. But pretty soon we had rooms sorted and cold beers in our hands. People were beginning to dis uss how they would spend their unexpected holiday.
Dinner was an event. Although The Sportsmans Arms is a big hotel and should be used to big crowds they were obviously a bit flummoxed. All did not go as planned. I was at a table with eight people. There were half a dozen similar tables occupied by equally hungry bus riders. We gave out orders to the waitress but she didn’t write anything down. We commented that she must have a good memory, since she was also serving several other tables. In a very lovely voice she said yes of course and then proceeded to do her party trick and go around the table repeating everybody’s order. She got about half of it right then tried again and got the other half right but forgot the first half. When things started to arrive after an hour or so John’s oxtail soup became leek soup, Sandy’s vegetable salad went missing in action, as did Vince and Wayne’s ice cream, red wine became white wine, 3 beers instead of 4 came (after another half hour and repeated reminders, Wayne went into the bar and bought one), and the three people who ordered cheese burgers received them at twenty minutes intervals and without cheese. But we enjoyed it and stayed up until the wild and reckless hour of 9pm.