Welcome to Nairobi
Trip Start Aug 30, 2006
25Trip End Nov 10, 2006
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I was so lucky at the airport today. I didn't realize my Ethiopian visa had expired until an immigration officer pointed it out as he was stamping my passport and letting me through. I hadn't even looked at my visa, I just assumed it was the same old three month deal. Oops.
And then can I tell you about my flight to Nairobi. I sat beside these two Kenyans. One lady who spoke in smooth even, warm tones in Swahili. And a man, who I realized about ten minutes in, was stuttering, and would break out into these loud Swahili stuttering rambles
So on arrival I wait in line for 20 minutes hoping to exchange some money. Only to be denied b/c my US bills are printed in 1996. Its useless to explain to these people that this US money came from TD Canada Trust, and unless they've started a US fraudulent bill business, its really unlikely that it's a fake bill. They're quite happy to turn you down.
Then I wander over to the four people deep line of Kenyans with signs waiting to pick up the newcomers. It was quite a sight, and moment, the hot African air seeping in the open front doors. The swarms of people, with these bright white signs for the UN, doctors without borders etc etc etc. All of us travelers rolling luggage, reading signs.
I found my guy with his Uongozi sign, a nice fellow named Eddie Mwanza. And we were off to Nairobi.
I made the horrible, most regrettable mistake of suggesting that for one night I stay in the same hotel as him. Local NGO worker = no money = totally crappy hotel. But I was so tired, it was late, and I just accepted the room
The place was safe enough.
I know I'm bigger then cockroaches. I do. But when I tried to kill one he wouldn't die.
So I stood still in my room for about ten minutes, and I stood as far away from the walls as I could get and considered my situation. I noted about five cockroaches, and many other little creatures on the floor. I decided that whether I slept or not, I was definitely not turning out the light. My small barred window had a hole near the top letting in the noise from the busy bus station next door. And the sounds of a night club.
I pulled down my mosquito net and created a fortress, a protective wall against my outside room. I pulled in everything that I might need for the night, books, music, pen and paper, a flashlight in case they cut the power. And I did eventually fall asleep, but then I woke up about every hour for one reason or another. It smelled like the green apple Lysol that I sprayed all over the room, and the net smelled like some powdery anti-but something. Anyway, it was an interesting introduction to a new country. Welcome to Nairobi.
I was so happy to see daylight when it finally came. I ate a horrible breakfast. Found that literally no bank, no exchange place wanted those 1996 bills. Everyone kept sending me somewhere else. After the sixth place I gave up b/c I was already late to go to PAC. PAC is a university in Kenya. I'm renting the guestroom from them for a week. It was so nice to arrive on the campus. It was like stepping into an oasis. The people are friendly, the gardens are manicured, my room is beautiful, I have access to the internet, I can drink water from the tap, my toilet flushes, I have a full bath. What else could a girl want?