I have already noticed a frightening trend with my blogging….I see myself saying ‘will update later’ a lot. Eeek. Anyway, this post is just to give some inital impressions, will flush out when I am feeling the urge.
Landing in NBO is stressful…the lack of sleep, the rush of various languages around you, the hurry to fill out the first visa card, etc. Then, after customs waves you through, it’s time to enter the jungle.
“Madam, taxi? Madam, phone call? You are visting Kenya? Need safari? Lady, I give you ride. I take care of you. ”
Unfortunately for me, I managed to give the hostel a 9:30 pick up time. I cleared customs at 9 and spent the next 45 minutes fending off the wolves. I met a very nice Indian man and his wife, who were waiting for her parents on another flight, and was able to look preoccupied long enough that I didn’t go crazy.
After many nerve racking minutes (compounded by the fact my bank card doesn’t work at Barcley’s ATMs—a horrible, horrible discovery. I found another bank today, but not before eating my stomach inside out, and wondering how much money I should get sent at one time), I located my ride, who put me in a taxi.
The hostel overwhemled almost as much as the airport. There are no lights that work in the bathroom, and the florescent lights in the bedroom didn’t turn off until well past midnight. Unlike most hostels, there are many, many full time residents. 90% are from Kenya, including a whole dance troupe that has been here for a year. I drank a poor girl’s whole bottle of water after trying to take my malaria pill dry, and almost going into hacking convulsions an hour later, as it dissolved.
Needless to say, sleep was slightly elusive.
This morning, I was up by 6. I walked with an Australian doctor-in-residence halfway to her work, in an attempt to get my barings. I was supposed to be picked up by 9 – they arrived by 10. I spent that hour talking with the safari folks in the hostel, who gave me a wealth of information on confidence schemes in the city, animals I should expect to see on a safari, and all tales of their own upbringings in the countryside.
I went on a tour with Brogibro Tours, a company owned by siblings. They rocked – I just got back from a day spent checking out an animal orphanage (skip), eating at Carnivore (probably more enjoyable for meat-eaters, but still very accommodating of vegetarians), kissing giraffes at a sanctuary (honest! I do have a pic of me feeding them, that I’ll post later), the Karen Blixen museum (wrote ‘Out of Africa’, also a skip) and checking out the city markets (selling the exact same stuff, going with them tomorrow to the Masai Markets, which takes place on Tues and Thurs and is supposed to be better).
I know this is a lot of probably (mostly) boring info, but I wanted to give a good update. I promise I’ll try to be more interesting in future posts – there’s so much more to tell about impressions, amazing things I’ve learned, and the people.
Only one odd/scary/bizarre thing has happened to me…when I was walking with Ruth and her brother (that I did the tour with) in the city center, a man on crutches, reached out and pintched my arm – hard. Enough to leave a red mark. I don’t know why he didn’t, and I didn’t stick around to ask.
After my shopping spree tomorrow, I’m meeting with the tour company to learn more about them (look for articles on BnA next month) and heading to Hotel Boulevard to meet up with Sean.
So, people heading to Nairobi for Kili – it’s a little scary, but less than 24 hours after arriving, I’ve adjusted and I’m really enjoying myself. If you want to see the best that Nairobi has to offer in a day, I strongly recommend Brogibro – (email is information at brogibrotours.org and tell them that you know me).
Tags: Kenya, Nairobi, Safari