Hakuna Matata


I’m in my Nairobi hotel now, relaxing before the early wakeup calls during safari begin. I’ll be meeting my safari group tonight in the hotel lobby and I’m already wearing cargo pants. On the flight here, almost every single white person was wearing cargo pants and/or shirts, it was totally hilarious. Spot the people going on safari! Not that I wasn’t obvious myself, bawling during the movie African Cats. Awkward. I could totally see the stars of that movie in the next few days (they’re lions, by the way)! That’s way more exciting than seeing George Clooney in my book.

A few notes on Nairobi: everything smells like fire! I usually love that smell but it’s starting to give me a headache. There are strange sounding birds outside my window and bright orange and yellow flowers on the trees.

While I’m on the subject of trees…there are so many Lion King trees here! You know, those ones where the branches stretch towards the sky. That was my main observation on the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. I also noticed that most houses are surrounding by fenced topped by barbed wire. Slightly scary, though my hotel is actually much nicer than anticipated.

The first song I heard in Kenya? “Smack That” by Akon. I laughed.

I don’t really know what I was expected Nairobi to be like, but it seems a little more modern than I thought. The cars are even more like the ones at home than those in Europe. Flying into the airport at night, there were definitely less lights dotting the land than I’m used to, but there seems to be quite a bit of construction going on.

Walking off the plane, I have to admit that I was a little nervous. Nairobi doesn’t have the best reputation, and I was worried that the driver that was supposed to pick me up wouldn’t be there. Exiting the baggage claim area was a little like being a circus attraction, as there was a HUGE crowd of people pressing up against the rails in front of the doors. As I scanned the several name signs waving in the air, I couldn’t see mine and tried to think of an Option B. Finally, after walking up and down the other side of the rails trying not to look panicked as the crowd stared at my too-large backpack, I spotted the name “Kesly Parson” at the side. Sweet! That was followed by an interesting taxi ride, and my main observation about driving here is that merging entails endlessly cutting people off and getting honked at. At points there were huge clots of cars trying to get to a road, and after some waiting and honking, we were suddenly free and flying. I also spotted a bunch of mini buses like those Volkswagon vans from the 70s, filled with who I presume are locals. That seems to be a pretty popular way of getting around.

I’ll be spending the rest of the day re-packing, showering and reading, as I’ll be back at this hotel for a few days after my safari and don’t feel particularly rushed. The internet is super fast and 2 hours is only 6 dollars, so not bad. It’ll be strange to not have access to internet while I’m on safari for 9 days, I guess I’ll have to break my addiction for a bit.

I’ll post as soon as I can!

I don’t know how to say goodbye in Swahili, so…

Hakuna Matata!

One Response to “Hakuna Matata”
  1. Nancy Parsons Jarboe says:

    Lovely being able to read of your adventures–safe journey Sweetie!

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