The last few days have been a large amount of travel and an introduction to Africa. There’s already been some drama too. We left Vancouver airport Thursday September 6, bright and early in the morning and then started our 20 ish hours of travel time to get to Nairobi. First we went to Dallas, why, just because that was cheaper I guess, then to London – on our first transatlantic flight. I don’t like airplanes to start with and 8.5 hours of airplane at once is not cool, it is fact very uncomfortable and smelly, well you begin to get smelly. We had an hour or so to stretch the legs in London and then got right back on another 8 hour flight to Nairobi. Ouch and more ouch.
So we arrived into Nairobi airport then jumped in line for getting a couple of Visas. $100 later we went to go get our one little checked bag, which miracle of all miracles, actually made it with us. We tried to hook up with some folks to split a cab into downtown but there were no takers, everyone else had rides picking them up already. So we went outside to the cabbies and into the madness that is Africa. It wasn’t so bad to start. Tried to haggle the first cab driver down from $25 but he didn’t take we ended up getting passed onto a younger driver named John and we saved $2 paying him $23 to get us downtown to the Parkside Hotel, which, he didn’t know where it was. So here I am sitting in the back of the cab giving him other landmarks nearby that I had memorized from looking at google maps for the past few months. After a trip into town, going through the craziest traffic circles that have very little obvious rules for driving but always seem to work, and John driving purposefully the wrong way down and one way street in order to cut back around, we made it to the Jevanjee Gardens and we spotted the sign for the Parkside Hotel.
So we went inside to get a room. I had read about the ‘ornery’ ness of the receptionist and it proved to be true. We asked if there were rooms available, yes there were, and we pointed to the double room on her list that we wanted to get. She pointed to the deluxe room, no we say, just a double, so she instructs the other guy, Paul, to take us up to a room. We walked up 3.5 flights of stairs to get to the room, it was nice, then we ask the price again, it is of course the deluxe room, we say no, Paul goes down and gets a key for an actual double room. Then we go there. Ok, this room is allright. Then I go to pay, but they want Kenyan Shillings not dollars. Eventually I talk them into taking an extra few dollars so that we can pay in USD since I haven’t had the chance to get any KES yet. I think they were just being ornery and didn’t want the work of changing the money later.
So finally we get a room where we can shower and sleep for a few hours before leaving in the morning on the shuttle to Arusha. Well the showering part went off without a hitch and it was sorely needed as long airplane travel is apparently an extremely smelly undertaking. The shower water was heated the same way as in Nicaragua with the electric heater at the shower head, worked all right, at least it wasn’t cold. We had a chance to reorganize our packs with the checked items and then we went to bed at midnight. We slept for 45 minutes. Then we woke up to some weird sound that sounded like someone getting into the room, there wasn’t anybody. Then we fell asleep for a about another hour, then a car alarm woke us up. Then we essentially layed there on and off all night trying to sleep but our bodies had no idea what time of day it was and just couldn’t figure the sleeping thing out. So for 6 hours of sleeping time, we figure we came out with around 2 hours. We gave up at around 6 am and got ready for the morning.
Headed outside around 6:45 on Sep 8 to catch a shuttle which is extremely easy as they all gather on the street directly in front of the hotel. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have booked a head of time (not that I had paid anything yet) because there were a whole bunch of options and guys trying to sell it to me fore less. Also if you’re doing this bring local currency as the ride was 1400 KES or $25 USD, that is not the same at all, more like $17 USD. We were the first on the shuttle which meant we got our pick of seats and brought our bags on with us instead of having to have them lashed to the roof which I’m sure will happen at some point in this trip. Around 8:30 the shuttle finally left for our 5 hour journey to Tanzania.
Haven’t seen too much yet as it was dark coming in, but the shuttle ride is quite nice…