Our first taste of Nairobi

Disclaimer- I am too jet lagged to do more than recount what happened today.  More insights as that wears off 🙂

The second leg of our flight was relatively shorter (5 hours), used a smaller plane, only one argument went down and the lamb pilau blew my mind!

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It was a thrill to see the land of Kenya firming up through the cloud cover.   The pic is not great as Kara was videoing our descent.

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A nice air conditioned bus transported us to the airport ( which, Robby, is so much smaller than I remember!)

Oh man, while the rest of us slipped through easily, the visa guys took a tremendously long time to process poor Flynn, which came down to the fact that man doing his visa thought that his long hair meant he was a girl. Even though he had a colleague come and check and they were only speaking in Swahili, I picked up on their dilemma; which made them both bellow with laughter.

I was thankful to finally get my hands on some Kenyan shillings at the currency exchange. Then- we walked out into a balmy Kenyan afternoon.  It wasn’t too hot, but the humidity factor was high

Our shuttle driver was waiting for us, holding my name up.We dumped our bags ( everyone keeps asking where our REAL bags are) into the van and we were off.

I was SHOCKED that right away thorn trees loomed up alongside the road in front of us, with delicate bougainvillea blooming everywhere.

I kept telling James what a good driver he was because negotiating the jumble and strange flow of that motley traffic was a skill.  So many little motorcycles scoot in and around both traffic and pedestrians, boldly and cheekily.  

There were familiar sights: roasting maize, men cutting the grass with pangs (machetes), matatus (we wi definitely NOT be using them!)

Each of the older kids saw a different body in a ditch!  Confronting stuff .  

What stood out to me was the amount of life that happens on those narrow sides of the road. Tiny shops, people selling clothes, bags of peanuts.

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( can you see the goats in this picture above?)

We went past some suburbs I knew and I was taken aback at how run down they look now.

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( Hurlingham, Robby!)

The road for our accommodation was overrun with traffic, but as we continued along, it eventually quietened and grew more leafy.  We passed Tender Care Dental, our landmark.  10 minutes later and still no sign of the apartments.  James pulled in to ask a security guard who puzzled a moment and then recognition bloomed over his face.

James got back in the car saying ‘ oh my goodness, I actually drop people off here quite a lot! I just know it by a different name.’

Phew!

Our security guard opened up and we drove into a leafy quiet compound with several buildings.  

We were grateful to have two adjoining apartments. 

While we immediately got our water purifying system going for an exhausted and thirsty Flynn- we opened the fridge to find about 15 liters of filtered water that they had already prepared for us.

Wonderful James who had originally said his company usually only do taxi runs to and from the airport, came over tell me that he would take us into the city the next day. So pleased!

As the others settled, Zac and I walked to the closest supermarket, with a great deal of kind directing from the locals.

It is just 5 minutes away.  We gathered up some familiar nibbles to ease the culture shock. There is a Java house next to the supermarket.  It does amazing coffee, my Aussie/ African friend has told me numerous times do we were excited to be so close to one. 

We were sure we would get bags, but our enthusiastic packer hoisted two heavy boxes onto Zac!

At the fruit shop, I was assigned a helper to glean the ripe fruit from the ones I asked for.  He sniffed and pressed and prodded until satisfied and then Zac and I started to head back with our goodies. 

I gave the bananas to a beggar two minutes later.  Is it bad that I didn’t want to part with my Kenyan mangos or papayas??

One hour later we left a sleeping Flynn ( don’t worry, security guard was there) and walked for 10 minutes to Habesha, the closest Ethiopian restaurant- set in a leafy compound.

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I won’t describe it all, but it tasted INCREDIBLE!  Finally my family got to taste real injera ( from tef flour) and they loved it!

We feasted on two trays-one with white injera, one with tef injera.  Doesn’t it almost look chocolates?  Such dark injera!.

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Bodie was in caniptions over his Tusker beer.

My lovely school friend Wangeci came past to share some food with us before we had to leave to walk back before night fell.

So to summarize: loving Kenya so far!  We feel safe and happy and tomorrow we will go for our walking tour through some of the real Nairobi with our 4 new friends from Nai Naomi, a walking tour with former street boys.  They will take us to have a Swahili lunch in a kibanda also.

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