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- Today was one of my all-time favorite days as a mom. @brian_cristiano surprised Annie and me with front-row tickets… https://t.co/Mxg9GHLE5a 06:56:01 PM January 19, 2020 ReplyRetweetFavorite
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- January 8, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 198: Rachel Gersten, Co-Founder of Viva Wellness
Honeymooning In Kenya, Part IV: Giraffe Manor!
Our Kenyan honeymoon was so special and wonderful and amazing and I’ve loved looking back and reliving all of it.
- First we flew for 138 hours, spent a quick night in Nairobi, and then flew to Samburu for our first safari adventure.
- Next, we flew to Masai Mara for more safari-ing and to see lots of baby animals and big cats.
- Then, we flew to the coast, near Diani, where we chilled out and ate a lot and I got viciously eaten by sand flies and mosquitoes and hopefully I don’t have malaria.
And then, just when I thought it was time to pack up and head home, Brian told me he had “one last surprise.” Because of course he did.
In the spirit of saving the best for last (and also in the spirit of writing chronologically in a way that makes sense), here we go. Giraffe Manor.
Giraffe Manor is a magical boutique hotel where giraffes roam the grounds and you can interact with them, and it books up years in advance (though you can also just visit the adjacent Giraffe Centre, which is open to the public during the day), so I never in a billion years thought we would get to go there. Brian even told me we weren’t going there because it was “all booked” (My husband is a liar! I love it!), but I still had hopes for getting to visit the Centre before our flight out of Nairobi.
Prepare for lots of OMGs and all-caps and exclamation points.
OMG OMG OMG. We just landed at Wilson Airport in Nairobi for our “free day” and got picked up by a GIRAFFE MANOR VAN BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE WE ARE GOING WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE GIRAFFES AT GIRAFFE MANOR!!! Brian isn’t saying much but I know that’s what’s happening because the van says Giraffe Manor on the side!!!
The flight was delayed about an hour and I am now a highly skittish flier it seems. Every bump or dip had me gripping Brian’s leg, convinced we were about to plummet to our deaths.
BUT WE SURVIVED AND BRIAN IS THE BEST AT SURPRISES AND I AM FREAKING OUT WHILST TRYING TO PLAY IT KEWL.
UPDATE: We are not just visiting Giraffe Manor, we are RESIDENTS AT GIRAFFE MANOR!!!!!!!!!
Brian surprised me with everything!!! This place is the most amazing place I have EVER been! There are warthogs and baby warthogs walking around and also THERE ARE GIRAFFES JUST WALKING AROUND. I CANNOT CONTROL MY EMOTIONS.
UPDATE: I FED AND KISSED A GIRAFFE!!!! Her name is Kelly and she is 4.5 years old and 14 months pregnant. She kissed me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Square on the mouth!!!!!!!
UPDATE: Drinking rosé at 4 PM watching warthogs and giraffes and talking to Nik, who OWNS AND RUNS THE PLACE AND IS A BALLER. He calls this Giraffe-ssic Park!
Then we fed and kissed Jock for a long time and it was just so special. It is the most amazing day.
We dined in an amazing dining room with all our new friends from Portland who are also safari-ing and staying at The Manor and who basically encouraged us to come live with them. Very nice. “If you ever do Hood to Coast, you can come to our house for hot showers and breakfast,” they said. I can’t wait to show up there when I do that relay someday. Like, surprise! REMEMBER ME?!
I did not sleep well because my belly was full. As usual.
Woke up to GIRAFFES outside our bedroom window necking!!! And then after my shower, one of them came right up to the window and I swear he smiled right at me and I fed him!!!!
And then we had breakfast with the giraffes!!!!!!
Then we bought giraffe stuff at the giraffe gift shop, and then we went to the Giraffe Centre, where we got to feed the giraffes from up high.
I mostly fed Kamata, the 10-month-old baby giraffe! He was so sweet and we really bonded. Giraffes have antiseptic saliva, so kissing them is basically healthy for you.
We got to have a little info session with a tour guide man and got to hold a giraffe vertebrae and a tibia (so heavy!!!) and a HEAD! Very cool.
Then it was time to leave Magical Giraffe Manor. 🙁 Our flight back to the stupid United States isn’t until “22:30 PM,” so we had a whole “free day” in the Nairobi/Karen area. Luckily our travel agent hooked us up with a driver for the day, so we don’t have to attempt to navigate the area on our own.
First we went to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, where they rescue orphaned ellies from the wild and help them get healthy until they are around three years old and then they get to go back into the wild safely! Ooooooommmmgggg. Baby ellies EVERYWHERE!!!
They came barreling down the hill so excited to drink their milk and play and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen.
We got to meet and play with 29 elephants plus two ostriches who have been raised with the elephants since they, too, were rescued. Too precious.
They all loved splashing in the mud and one of them nailed Brian with mud HAHAHAHAHA. What a funny mess!
After that, we got lunch at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden (they really love Karen Blixen here; she’s the chick from Out of Africa which I have not seen but I watched the movie preview on iTunes).
Then we went to two different markets to get some souvenirs for our loved ones (JK, mostly for ourselves), and then went to the House of Waine hotel to relax, eat dinner, and shower before the flight.
OCTOBER 15? Who knows at this point.
The flight to Amsterdam was actually fine. It was just about eight hours, but I passed out for a while early on and then watched Inside Out, which is so cute! I cried! I loved it so much.
I thought our second flight was only six hours (or faster!), so imagine my sweet surprise when I took my seat and saw the posted flight time: 7 hours 50 minutes. ‘SCUSE ME WHAT??? Brian and I split half an Ambien because we are party people (and I was desperate), and it knocked him out for four hours and me for a whole 30 minutes. Jackpot!
I have watched Scandal, The Mindy Project, and entire season of Girls, and a Bloomberg documentary about Anna Wintour. I watched a documentary about Spam, I tried to watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy but couldn’t get through it, and I watched the new Annie movie (which…yikes).
In total on this trip, we have taken nine flights! That’s too many flights! But they were 100% worth it. (Seriously, if you are considering going to Africa but “it’s too far” or “it’s too much flying,” that’s a bad excuse. The only reason not to go is if you are allergic to awesome.)
As we approach the NYC skyline and return our seat backs to their upright positions after 16+ hours on planes, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy looking back at the last three weeks. The wedding and the honeymoon exceeded my wildest dreams (TM Taylor Swift). I feel very lucky to have had these experiences.
And now, as we head toward Customs in preparation for the long wait at baggage claim and the cab ride home, I can’t help but wonder…when was the last time I brushed my teeth?