A Day in Nairobi

24th September

We awoke to the sounds of what must have been dawn chorus, though to me the louder birds sounded more like babies wailing, loudly. Very slowly we came awake and got moving and after showers and getting dressed it was downstairs for breakfast. The buffet was nice, plenty of food both warm and hot. We saw Helen again and had a quick talk about what we would be doing (which amounted to nothing planned for us and nothing much at all for Helen).

Back upstairs Keryn washed her silk liner for her sleeping bag (something that’s been waiting to happen for months) and I sat on our balcony and tried to take photos of the various birds in the Hotel grounds. I also rang the airport and was told they hadn’t seen my bag yet. They hope it is on the BA flight from London tonight, I hope so to. Time passed and we started to feel like we should be doing something so we got ready to walk outside and venture to the Nairobi National Museum which is situated on the hill behind the hotel.

After getting directions from reception (two options; 1, jump the fence or 2, walk around the block) it was hats on and outside into the hot and dry mid morning sunshine. No sooner were we out the gate and we were being called at from across the road to come by this or that trinket from a road side stall. Shaking our heads we ignored them and went the other way and followed the road over a bridge and up the hill to the Museum.

For the sum of 200 Kenyan Shillings each (a little less that £4 all up) we gained entry and spent the next hour or so wandering the Museum and looking at the wildlife, artefacts and paintings on display. There were a lot of paintings by Joy Adams (you might know her from the movie ‘Born Free’) of people from the various tribes and peoples of Africa. Upstairs there was also a gallery of her flora paintings as well. There were a number of stuffed animals and a gallery of the fish that inhabit Kenyan waters. The largest display was of stuffed birds, from tiny weavers to giant storks, vultures and eagles. There were also displays of traditional tools, clothing and ornaments. In one wing there was a history of colonial occupation and a wall of photos of Asian immigrants and their families. We saw a number of school groups go through and everyone seemed very happy, the kids waving at us as we entered the Museum.

A display in the Nairobi National Museum.
A display in the Nairobi National Museum

Having seen as much as we wanted it was back outside. I decided to wander a bit further along the hill to see if I could find a shop selling beans or something similar to fill our bean bags (to be used as tripods on the safaris, it’s easier to lean a beanbag on a window sill or roof than use a full size tripod – not that we have a tripod at the moment anyway). We didn’t find a shop but we did find Martin (or he found us).

Martin is a friendly guy currently studying at the Nairobi University. Over an hour and a half we walked around with him and he asked us many questions. We had lunch at a nice cafe/bar that seemed to be mainly full of Asian men playing cards and eating narcotic sticks of some sort (that’s how Martin described them anyway). It was an OK time, other than when Martin tried to swindle us. He was doing so well and then spoiled it with a story for money – I don’t know how many of you have heard of the Nigerian 419 scams but it came across as a light version of that. We claimed we had little money and everything was at the hotel. I did give him 200KS as I didn’t want to say we had nothing left – he would have known we were lying then and that could have got us in to trouble (rather than an awkward situation). We had paid for lunch already (300KS for food and drink for all three of us) so he knew we had some cash.

Anyway, he wasn’t happy but I think he cut his losses as we were shortly on our way back to the hotel. We arrived and retired to our room and that is where we find ourselves now.

We finished the day by having dinner with most of the rest of the tour group. We had our tour meeting and found out who our driver (Charles), cook (Joe) and guide/photographer (Jacques) were. Dinner was a Mongolian feast of rice, noodles and beef and it was very nice. I also had my first Tusker beer today, not a bad lager.

Tomorrow we drive south and leave Kenya, our destination for the day being Arusha. Hopefully our missing bag arrives before we leave.

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