Monday, May 31, 2010

Nairobi, Not Bad

Thanks to Kenya Airways cancelling my flight today, I have some time to blog- lucky you!

4 days to kill, so why not head up to Nairobi, Kenya for a little break, in between my other breaks (that and the fact that the Tanzanian safari company booked me a ticket and it seemed easier just to go along with their plan).

I had a typical African bus journey up to Nairobi from Arusha, Tanzania (yes, luggage strapped to the roof)--- dirt road + no AC = me being filthy by the time I arrived 7 1/2 hours later. I could literally feel the grime on my skin and you don't even want to hear about the texture of my hair- yuck. The one, and only, highlight- seeing Kilimanjaro on route.
Since cleaning up, I have quite enjoyed Nairobi--- back to big city life for a few days. There aren't too many tourist attractions here, given I am over wildlife for a while, so I could mostly bum around and not feel too guilty.

I did manage to see a few things...

Day 1- It rained, so I felt totally justified seeing my first movie in months, Iron Man 2 (Review: entertaining). I walked quite a ways to the movie theater with my new American friends Katie, Chris and Diego (Kenya is full of Americans-- I hadn't seen any since S. Africa!), so we saw a bit of Nairobi life along the way. Surprisingly, it is JUST like home, complete with loud, teens talking through the entire movie.

We capped off the day with a trip to Carnivore, a famous Nairobi restaurant, where you guessed it, we ate a ridiculous quantity of meat.

Day 2- Gotta check off the "must does." Spot 1- The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, where you see baby elephants with the keepers who act as their moms, including sleeping with them at night. Most seemed to be victims of poaching with a few having fallen in wells (yes, just like Baby Jessica!).
Spot 2- Kazuri Bead Factory, which meanssmall and beautiful” in Swahili. It began in 1975 as a tiny workshop experimenting on making handmade beads and now employs mostly single mothers offering free healthcare for them and their families.

Our tour guide showed us the entire bead making process from clay, to bead formation, painting and finally the finished product--- all done by hand. The stuff was beautiful! I am now sporting a lovely white bead bracelet as I type.
On the way back, our taxi driving felt the need to show us the Kibera slums, not exactly sure why, but it was where all the election violence happened a few years back and was eye opening (and shockingly close to our lovely Wildebeest Camp).
The day ended with a trip to the Ethiopian restaurant nearby. Sure, I didn't like Ethiopian 20 years ago, but maybe it is better when closer to Ethiopia? Answer: No, not so much!

Day 3- Sex in the City 2 is playing just up the street, but i HAVE to so something legit beforehand or I will feel like a shallow American.
So I headed into the city center to the Nairobi National Museum, a natural history museum housing a lot of 2-3 million year old skulls and stuffed animals. Not normally my cup of tea, but since a huge amount of the earliest fossils were found it Kenya it seemed like a couple hours worth spending. They had a cool game, obviously for kids, that compared your weight to an animal- i am a warthog (uh oh, the idea of losing weight in Africa seems to be failing. :-(
After that we walked about 20 minutes further into town to see what there was to see, with the end goal being the American Embassy Memorial Garden. As you recall, the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were both bombed in August, 1998 with hundreds of locals and 12 Americans killed in Nairobi.
The Memorial Gardens and Peace Memorial Museum were quite nice. The documentary playing, while a little sensational, was informative and the gardens very peaceful, with a monument listing the names of the victims and sculptures containing remnants of the destroyed building.
That left my afternoon free to see Sex in the City 2 which was CRAP! It was so bad that I felt cheated of my Shillings!

That's about all from Nairobi. Today I woke to news that my flight to Kigali, Rwanda was cancelled and I am re booked for 11:40PM, so just been hanging in a lovely garden writing my blog.

Happy Memorial Day!

P.S.- On my ride to the airport we were stuck in traffic on what is referred to as 'Supermarket Road'- people were selling everything you can think of, including: oranges, garden shears, pillows and lampshades. Was quite amusing!

1 comment:

  1. i want to see the braclet!! btw, i can't believe everyone - including you in africa - has seen sitc2 before me!