The honeymoon - part two

gem-200.jpgBefore we got married, Chris made it very clear that our relationship wouldn't change post-wedding - "well, you know what you are signing up for" was how he put it.

And since saying 'I do' I would have to agree that, particularly for Chris, our day-to-day life together hasn't changed all that much. In fact the biggest adjustment he has had to make has been wearing a wedding ring.

And it's been a bit of a struggle - he managed to lose it twice on our honeymoon.

The first time he packed it in our luggage without noticing and spent a good 12 hours worrying before it finally resurfaced in Nairobi. That was on the first day of our married life together.

The second time was more dramatic...

On our safari we travelled to a number of different parks and reserves in Kenya. We have been lucky enough to stay at the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Naivasha, Samburu and Treetops - where Elizabeth II went up as a princess and came down as queen.

On a side note, Treetops was not what I was expecting. It's a wooden lodge on stilts that overlooks a giant waterhole where the animals come to drink. Except on the night we stayed there. So much fog had descended that you could barely see your hand in front of your face. There was great excitement when someone did spot movement by the water - until we discovered it was an elephant so badly injured by an electric fence, his trunk looked in serious danger of falling off. Not the wildlife experience we had been hoping for.

view-200.jpgWhile we might not have had much luck at Treetops, we did absolutely everywhere else we visited. We racked up the Big Five in the first four days, and we weren't stopping there.

We saw lions with a kill, a herd of elephants crossing a river, a leopard with an antelope up a tree, baby rhinos and everything in between. In fact we were so lucky that by our last day there was only one animal we had yet to see - the elusive cheetah. So you can imagine our delight when, as we prepared to return to the lodge for the final time, one stood up out of the undergrowth and walked directly towards our jeep. According to Mita, we are the luckiest people he has ever met.

And, as it turns out, I could have a future career in safaris - I am an excellent wild animal spotter. Having been told by our guide that in his whole life he has only ever seen a lion up a tree once, my proudest moment came when I spotted two hanging out in some shrubbery. And as we looked on, two more decided to climb up a nearby tree, right to the very top. I told Mita he could learn a lot from me...

Anyway, back to the wedding ring. While we staying at the Masai Mara, Chris and I went on a hot air balloon ride at sunrise - a very generous wedding gift - which included a champagne breakfast in the bush.

It was an incredible experience. The migration started early this year, and had begun the week we arrived in Kenya - told you we were lucky - so we got to see the most amazing scenes as herds of zebra and buffalo headed across the plains. It really was extraordinary.

After about two-and-a-half hours, our 'captain' (he even went to the effort of dressing in a pilot's outfit) announced we were going to land. chris-200.jpg

As we began our descent, we could see one of the tracking jeeps race off to set up our food, while the other stuck close by. It was then we spotted four lionesses stealthily walking in single file through the grass. As our balloon came down, we realised we were in fact going to be landing really quite close to them, and our brightly coloured airship had, at the very least, caught their eye.

"Nothing to worry about," said the captain. "But when we land, don't hang about - just get yourself into the jeep as quickly as possible."

It was all going fine until it came to Chris' turn to climb out. Whether through nerves or perhaps excitement, he started to play about with his wedding ring and as his feet hit the grass, it fell off his finger and rolled off. Just as the lionesses began to approach.

As Chris dropped to his knees frantically fumbling around on the floor, assisted by four other desperate men, I calmly watched from the sidelines. Observing the annoyance/despair on the faces of the locals as they tried to help my wayward husband, I couldn't help but smile. Welcome to my world, I thought.
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