We spent the day being tourists in Meru for the first time since we got here (unless you count Nakumatt as a tourist attraction...which it almost is). Martin, a Kenyan Farmers Helping Farmers employee took us to the Meru National Museum. Lonely Planet said it was worth visiting and we were told that it was home to several really cool and really big snakes. The museum was really small, consisting mostly of copious stuffed and mounted wildlife, with a section on the traditional weapons, clothing, agriculture and initiation practices. There was also a small display all about ancient beekeeping practices with traditional beekeeping tools on display. Basically just a hollowed out log, with a bundle of twigs as a smoker. I'm pretty sure that although the artifacts in the museum date back about 100 years, they are still using the same methods to keep bees presently. I had asked people about beekeeping in Kenya, and whether it was common and I was told that it was, but I still have yet to see any one with beehives. Maybe I'm just not looking carefully enough when we're touring the farms. I guess data collection is a bit of a distraction from searching the trees for hives. Outside of the museum building, there were a couple of monkeys, a crocodile and a snake pit. By snake pit I mean picture a family friendly version of Raiders of the Lost Ark when he looks down and sees nothing but snakes squirming everywhere. It wasn't actually that intense, and there weren't nearly as many snakes, but I couldn't help but mutter "Snakes. I hate snakes" under my breath. No one I was with seemed to appreciate Indy as much as I do though because it went unnoticed and unappreciated. We were unlucky enough to have missed snake feeding by one day. They only get fed every 2 weeks, but they put live rabbits into the pit for the snakes to hunt.
There was also a Tortoise pit with a couple of monitor lizards in it. The tortoises were awesome. One of them was as old as 75 years old! I couldn't help but get a little Earl sick watching them. There wasn't exactly much to watch..they don't really do much. We got to hold one of the big guys though and I may have convinced a few of the girls here how awesome turtles are.
Meru is freezing cold. I'm currently in a toque, a fleece hoodie and wool socks. I brought extra warm clothes with me because I was intending to climb Mt Kenya, and even then I thought I was being a little ridiculous. I ended up shoving an extra sweater in my bag at the last minute simply because I found 2 cm more room in my backpack to squeeze it into. I'm glad I did though!