Kenya: How It Began 1977 (Continued…)

        While in Mombasa, we learned to drink Pimm’s Cup*, a cocktail that originated in England. Kenya has many British traditions stemming from the late 1800s, when the British occupied the country and established a protectorate there. A major ingredient of the drink is Pimm’s No.1, a deep golden-brown liquor named for James Pimm, owner of an English oyster bar, who created the liquor in 1859. Only six people are supposed to know precisely how it’s made. The exact ingredients and amounts are a secret known only to descendants of James Pimm and a chosen few.

        Our first Kenya trip was the beginning of new friendships and contacts that would last through the years, helping us to stay in touch with the latest developments and discoveries in the world of gems.

        We took some time out from our buying trip to visit a local game reserve. As we watched the fenced-in lions and cheetahs, we heard leaves rustling overhead. We looked up and saw a huge baboon staring down at us from a tree. He apparently was not a zoo resident but a freeloading monkey who knew a good thing when he found it. What nerve we had to invade his park! A few seconds later, he was standing in front of us! We turned and ran and he took off after us with his teeth bared and screaming diabolically. Luckily, he became bored before we collapsed. If he had wanted to prove a point, he certainly did. That recreational experience with the local wildlife kept us happily at work for the rest of the trip. Work was far less dangerous.

        “Throughout our stay, John’s gem expertise saved us from problems and disappointment,” Laura said. “During one visit to a local gem dealer, we were shown a large rough ‘tanzanite.’ John examined the stone and found it to be a deep purple blue scapolite, a rare and expensive gemstone -but not tanzanite. The dealer really believed it was tanzanite and he was surprised that a 28-year-old ‘kid’ knew more about stones than he did. That experience has been repeated many times in our gem travels, with John discovering the true identity of gems thought to be something else.”


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