David Kiarie

Travel

A few days in Nairobi.


My few days in Nairobi were fairly uneventful so I'll roll them into one post.

Sunday.

The day started with an emergency evacuation. Apparently you're supposed to dilute termite poison, not pour a full bottle around the house.

After inhaling far too much of the stuff, we ran to the car and decided to head out earlier than planned.

It was Sunday so there wasn't much to do.

We went to the giraffe centre outside Nairobi where you can feed giraffes. I visit here nearly every time I'm in Kenya. It's a unique chance to get up close and personal with the giraffes and all proceeds go to the African Fund for Endagered Wildlife.

Monday to Wednesday.

I was leaving Nairobi on Thursday morning and needed to get my Kenyan passport. I applied for it over 3 months ago and nobody seemed to know when I was going to get it.

I spent these three days in Nyayo House (the government building responsible for my passport).

The amount of photocopies. "Copy this document, that document, oh this one too". To make things worse, time was of the essence and waiting for the lifts was taking too long so I had to take the stairs. I must have gone up and down to the seventh floor of that godforsaken building a hundred times over those 3 days!

I managed to get it an hour before they closed on Wednesday evening.

At some point I managed to go to the city market and pick up some souvenirs for some friends. I also picked up a pair of drums even though I had no idea how I'd carry them around Africa for the next few weeks.

This was my first idea...

But because I didn't really feel like walking around Africa wearing a jetpack I left them in the house, someone can bring them back when they visit Ireland.

Much better.

Driving in Nairobi is something like pushing through a crowd at a concert. If you don't force your way through you'll never get where you want to go. Everyone on the road is playing chicken. When drivers get fed up they'll just drive on the side of the road. Path, dirt, oncoming lane, doesn't matter. If the car can go there, it will go there.

The situation isn't helped by the matatus. Matatus are something special. Half bus, half party. Matatu owners spend tens of thousands "pimping" their vans, decking them out with flashing lights, custom bodywork and graffiti art. Some even have TV screens and free WiFi inside. They blare music as they weave through traffic. Don't be surprised if after stepping out of one of these you find your ears ringing like you've been in a nightclub! They don't care for the rules of the road. Every second wasted in traffic is money lost. There are always more fares to pick up so they'll speed through and around traffic, narrowly avoiding collisions every few seconds.

I didn't get any good pictures of the matatus but this should give you a good idea!

I also went for some boxing training on Tuesday night. My dad donated some land to some local youths and they've built a boxing club there. Those guys train hard! The gym was outdoors and there was no floor. Some of them were even training barefoot, cutting themselves on stones and everything. I was dying but I wasn't going to show it!

Nairobi was mostly chasing down my passport. Oh well, next stop Mombasa. Paradise, here I come.