23rd September

So we made it to Nairobi only missing one piece. The journey from Highams Park to Heathrow was completed with a minimum of fuss. We got the Heathrow Express from Paddington as the Piccadilly Line currently doesn’t go to Heathrow Terminal 4. I think in the future we might always take the Heathrow Express rather than the tube, its faster and a lot more comfortable. We had pre-checked in online the day before so the process at Heathrow was very quick. We joined a short line, checked our luggage in and were given our tickets all in a very short space of time.

Then on through the baggage checks and pretty much straight on to the plane, there was no waiting around. The flight was OK, nothing too memorable other than a bit of condensation dripping on Keryn for a while after take-off (a Boeing design fault we were told). We read, watched a movie each, Keryn discovered Su Doku and we relaxed. Eight or so hours after getting airborne we touched down in Nairobi, Kenya.

The entry into the country was easy enough, though we managed to choose the slowest arrivals queue. One benefit of the slow entry was the encounter with Helen, another person on our trip, in the queue. We didn’t find this out till later but we had all guessed we were on the same trip from our answers to the Kenyan border officials (“2 days in Kenya sir, leaving the country in two months from South Africa sir”). Once we had given all the right answers and had our entry stamps it was downstairs to the baggage hall.

Our bags came through quite quickly; we were just waiting on the tripod bag. It was while waiting that we got talking to Helen and she offered to share a taxi as she had already booked one with the Hotel. So we waited, Helen for her bag and us for ours. As it turned out Helen’s was the last bag on the conveyer belt and the tripod bag…didn’t arrive. A helpful man pointed us towards the lost property counter and I filled out forms so that they can hopefully trace the bag. Of all the bags we’re missing it’s the least essential, still a bit annoying however.

Forms duly signed it was out into the arrival hall to find Helen’s taxi but it turned out he wasn’t there. We wandered back and forth politely declining the offers from other people to go with them (we were all a bit suspicious and had heard bad things about unauthorised taxis, exorbitant prices and other problems). In the end we approached the counter that had been recommended by the Africa in Focus people and Helen asked them to check with the Hotel as to where our taxi might be.

So we waited and were given plenty of ‘friendly’ advice from locals as we talked amongst ourselves. We discovered that Helen is from Brentwood which must be one of the larger co-incidences we’re ever experienced. Before long our taxi man did arrive and we were on our way once more. The taxi driver was a friendly chap giving us plenty of advice about what we could do and see during our time in Kenya. He suggested I might like to try wrestling a lion but I didn’t think I was quite up for that. The journey was uneventful and in time we arrived at the Hotel Boulevard. After paying our driver he gave us his card in case we wanted to see anything the following day and then he left and we checked in. More forms were filled in and then it was up to the 2nd floor, off to our rooms (tidy, nothing special but clean) and not so quickly off to sleep. The river running outside and other night noises meant we didn’t quickly drop off, but fall asleep we eventually did.

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