Leaving the domestic arrivals area in Nairobi we negotiated to a reasonable price with waiting taxi drivers
. We were guided away from the taxi rank to a remote spot where an unmarked car pulled up into which we loaded our bags and ourselves. But, five minutes down the road the driver slipped off of the main road onto a bit of a bumpy dirt track? The track seemed to go for miles and as the area either side of the road became more and more remote looking, Sarah began to quietly panic. The panic wasn’t eased as we seemed to reach one of the Nairobi slums despite the driver telling us it was a short-cut to avoid traffic….. After what felt like an eternity to Sarah, we reached what seemed to be a major road which was indeed pretty well choked with traffic. After another detour along another dirt track with HUGE potholes (the kind that make you cringe as the car grounds out at the bottom of them) we found our hostel, the Bush House and Camp.
The hostel was not quite where we had thought it would be based on Google maps and was rather "out there" relative to the city and felt a little isolated. Fortunately they were used to travelers like us and have a chef on hand who could make a dinner at a very reasonable price. After dinner we retired to our room, which was when the trouble began…. in the form of mosquitoes! To date, we’ve been pretty lucky on the mosquito front and would probably have been absolutely fine without taking any malaria meds (although having paid for them we’ve taken the full quota and are still taking them…..)
. It started with the odd one or two, but before long we seemed to have quite a few in the room and they were hard to catch. In Canada, they’re pretty slow, dozy and easy to squish – not so in Africa. They seem to be faster and craftier and know exactly how to blend into the background! A complaint was registered with the staff, but they had apparently run out of insecticide that very morning :-( By midnight we gave up on our extermination as they seemed to multiply each time we got one and resorted to pulling out our one and only mosquito net. Sarah was secretly pleased at having to use it having carried the darn thing since we left Canada and not having cause to use it to date, however we do only have the one large net, so had to rearrange furniture and with a little creativity on Derek’s part and some spare sheets Derek was able to fabricate a rather effective mosquito shield for all four of us. In our bid to find and kill mosquitoes, we’d generally kept our eyes off of the floor and it was only as we were about to climb into bed that we noticed that thousands of tiny ants had made their way into the room via the French window and were slowly spreading out across the carpet! Note, should you discover a similar problem, spraying mosquito repellent at them seems to send them scurrying back from whence where they came!
Our taxi picked us up the following morning and we made our way into the centre of Nairobi to the Hilton hotel
. A little concerned about the safety reputation of Nairobi and the limited alternative options at a reasonable price, in a good location with reliable internet access, we’ve once again resorted to using our Hilton points and so by midday we were checked in and taking advantage of the executive lounge (i.e. free food and drinks!). Having come to the conclusion that there wasn’t too much else in Nairobi that we wanted to do given the time that we had left and the imminent start of the World Cup, we spent the afternoon hanging out in the hotel and waited for the opening ceremony to begin. For the next month we’re going to be very World Cup focused, and so what better way to kick it off than watching the opening ceremonies with a drink or two!
With South Africa due to kick off the first World Cup on African soil late afternoon, we spent an “administrative” day finalizing bookings, doing school work and taking advantage of the pool and gym in the hotel. A brief foray out into the centre of Nairobi to visit the city market was successful and Nairobi in the daytime certainly doesn’t feel like the crime capital that it is reputed to be.
World Cup fever has certainly struck Africa and we spent the rest of the day watching football/soccer. Tomorrow we will make our way south to Johannesburg and join the world’s greatest party….
Fortunately our security concerns were unfounded and we landed safely in Mombasa, Kenya. The flight was very smooth for a small prop plane, with only about 30 seats it was probably the smallest plane of the entire world trip (other than flying over the Nazca lines, but that doesn't really count as we didn’t get anywhere new). Despite being a tiny airplane and only a 45 minute flight we were served drinks and sandwiches which were remarkably good. On arrival in Mombasa all twelve passengers had to disembark, clear customs, collect our bags and then give them right back to the same crew who put them back onto the same aircraft. After about a fifteen minute wait, we were guided up some stairs, round a few corners and back down some other stairs to reboard the same aircraft in the same seats! New passengers joined us to fill the airplane and we continued on our way to Nairobi.