«Nairobi, 7 de Junho de 2007
Olá a todos,
Directamente de Nairobi, as primeiras impressões são poucas. Uma cidade tipicamente africana, mercados de artesanato de perder a cabeça e, para meu grande espanto, zonas verdes quase luxuriantes.
São 9:30 da noite e espera-me uma noite de sono que acalme a canseira da viagem. Amanhã, de madrugada, começa o verdadeiro safari.
Se puder, volto a dar notícias.
Beijinhos a todos, até ao meu regresso.
Baroness Karen Christence Dinesen Blixen-Finecke, a.k.a. Isak Dinesen, performed in "Out of Africa" by the stunning Meryl Streep:
"You see, I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. But it really began before that; it really began in Denmark. And there I knew two brothers. One was my lover, and one was my friend. I had a farm in Africa… I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. I had a farm in Africa…"
«This is the stone farmhouse, now in a Nairobi suburb, where Danish author Karen Blixen lived from 1914 to 1931 and where she welcomed her lover, Denys Finch-Hatton – remember Robert Redford?…
Since the 1985 Oscar sweep, crowds have doubled at the Blixen manor, now restored as a national museum. A band of eucalyptus woodland, the Ngong Road Forest, still separates the cool, upland suburb from downtown Nairobi, at 1,700 m.
The mahogany-panelled rooms are plunged into a dim, natural light, filtered by paned glass and lace curtains. The house and grounds were presented to Kenya as an Uhuru (Independence) gift by the Danish government. A manicured walkway circles from Karen Road to the veranda where Blixen spun stories at sundown for guests, most especially Finch-Hatton.
There is a replica of the RCA Victor gramophone on which Streep/Blixen and Redford/Finch-Hatton played Mozart concertos – even on safari –, especially the Adagio of the Concert for clarinet and orchestra in A major, K. 622, a piece of gold amidst all the others that compose the film's soundtrack. There is the lantern that she hung outside to let him know she was home.
Floor-to-ceiling library shelves hold copies of Denys' books, each marked with a small brass plaque – DFH. Blixen's square corner bedroom, its white wooden bed swagged with mosquito netting, is at the end of a narrow hall. Blixen's actual bed belongs to her godson, long retired and living in Nairobi. The museum is hoping for a bequest. Most of her other possessions are in her museum in Copenhagen.
Blixen's repeated attempts to establish a coffee plantation were foredoomed because neither the soil nor the altitude was right for such a venture. Financial ruin finally sent her packing home to Denmark, where she wrote with such passion of her years in what was then British East Africa.
Now the acreage is a park of palms, Norfolk pines and columnar cypress, backed by the smoky blue Ngong Hills. The most startling plant is a ghostly-gray giant cactus, shaped like a candelabrum, an 82-year old candelabria euphorbia.
Across the grass and ducked into the bush, following a damp, shady path there's a clearing where a rusty contraption stands that could have been designed by Dr. Seuss, a coffee bean husker and sorter with oddball parts imported from Liverpool and Aberdeen.
As for the film, it was shot on the far side of the property in a sort-of-replica house built by Universal Studios. The real house was deemed too dark to use – especially the dining room where Blixen entertained by candlelight, treasuring her crystal and Limoges. After all, those were the foolish 20s, she was living in the middle of nowhere out there in the heart of Africa, but she was still a baroness anyway…»
According to her safari's program, Karla will be today on Rusinga Island – a paradise for the 270 species of local and migratory birds – on Lake Victoria…
Oh Lord, can you feel that dreadful jealousy eating you from inside out?!…
Enjoy it all lavishly, dear Karla! I'm looking forward to watching all the photos!
RIC (mainly edited)