On my last trip outside of the Daraja bubble, Leah and I made the Laikipia County rounds, venturing into the most rural areas as the greater Rumeruti area to visit junior Irene’s home, and trekking to more touristy areas like Lake Naivaisha, where we went on boat safari. Awesome times all around. Last weekend was another venture outside of Daraja.
This time, fellow Daraja family member Tehsin (Th-a-zin) and I made the trip to the diverse, international city of Nairobi with a simple plan: beer, boys, and food that didn’t consist of beans and rice.
Sometimes the Adventure is in the Journey: How to get to Nairobi
1. Hiked from banda 14 down to the gate, where Mr. C will sent us off with hugs and traveling mercies
2. Call Leonard, the ring-leader of cab drivers in Nanyuki town, who sent George in a super flossy ride to drive us the 25-kilometer/1 hour drive from the Daraja Academy to Nanyuki town. Along the way etiquette: beware of impending camels, that although potentially dangerous, can always be found with their lips curved upwards in long, crooked smiles; comment on how bad the road is getting and ponder aloud if the government will ever fix it; sit next to a window to ward away waves of nausea from the twists & turns of avoiding massive potholes along the road
3. Grab breakfast! Critical to eat before setting off on the 3-6 hour journey from Nanyuki town to Nairobi (matatus don’t leave the stage until they’re full; any sort of accident on the highway results in a couple hours of delay; matatus stop in every town to negotiate with locals for bananas & other fruit; you know, regular transportation delays). We went to Consumer Pride Cafe, an unassuming Kenyan cafe where we ordered Masala chips (french fries with gooey deliciousness on top) and omelets. Prepare for the journey: stopped at the local grocery store to stock up on biscuits and magi (water).
4. Nairobi stage time! We negotiated with a few matatu drivers to find the most fair price and departure time to Nairobi and found an express matatu that isn’t supposed to stop anywhere along the way (pah!). I broke rule #1 of the Simama Project (we won’t hand out money or buy food for street kids, but we will help them get into school– I bought a packet of crackers for Francis & Patrick, who always walk me around Nanyuki town), settled in next to my window seat, turned on my republican talk radio show, and headed to Nai.
So much fun.
Tehsin’s friend Nilafur is living in a sweet pad right across the street from the Aga Khan hospital in Parklands, one of the nicer areas of Nai. When we got to her place, she had lunch waiting for us. What a treat! We had tandoori-like chicken, masala chips, salad, ginger ale, oh my! There was electricity and running water! Talk about paradise. Nilafur introduced us to her cousin and their friends, and we had a really amazing, Italian dinner at a restaurant with 7 new friends from Uganda, London, New York and Kenya. Smooth jazz and soft crooning played in the background of our candle lit dinner while we feasted on lamb chops, steak, penne pasta and shared several rounds of sangria. We sauntered from the restaurant to a rooftop bar down the street and shared orange/apple flavored hookah while we swapped stories, searching for meaning and connections in this small, beautiful world.
We slept in. Must have been the first morning I wasn’t woken up at the crack of dawn by chickens, Daraja girls practicing their poems for the poetry slam competition or angry coos hollering “moo”s as they trampled past my banda. We enjoyed a day of mani/pedis, girl talk, and plans for the evening. I almost cried when I saw the menu at the Art Caffe in Westlands Mall- eggs benedict? Say it aint so. I DE-voured the meal in the company of internationals, people of every color with voices radiating unique dialects, while the girls and I shared a white, cinnamon pear sangria. We later went out with Nilafur’s friends Natasha and Natasha, partied at a place called Gypsie then Tree House (a club in a tree!), then ended the night with sausages and chips (french fries) from this place called McFrys… which would, unbeknownst to me, send me to the toilet only 45 minutes later for hours of simultaneous vomiting, raging diarrhea and cries to God to just end it now.
Did I mention the vomiting, raging diarrhea and cries to God? Also got in an hour Skype date with my mom and stepdad, then another hour Skype date with my dad, stepmom and two younger sisters = Hell to happiness within 24 hours.
Tua Nane Badaye (I’ll see you later…)
This weekend, I’m headed back to Nairobi with a cohort-in-crime: M-beezy (Marybeth), Thizz (Tehsin), and Olives (Olivia). Mission for this weekend: elephant sanctuary, giraffe center (where they eat out of your hands!!), and crocodile & lion sanctuary. So excited. Will blog about it badaye.