Monday, May 26, 2008

We made it.

Great. Finally. We made it to Nairobi. We've been here a few days now and finally found a nice internet signal and some time, so here we go with the blog. Here are some highlights from the last few days in Nairobi:
  • - Folks say crime is bad here but we haven't experienced anything but wonderfully, helpful Kenyans. However, there is a good bit of poverty here and a rising cost of living....
  • - We had dinner at the Carnivore. The Carnivore is a wonderful restaurant on the outskirts of Nairobi. During dinner, we the title suggests....tons of meat, including crocodile, ostrich, lamb, beef, and pork. The Carnivore was once rated as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.
  • - We had a local meal with two of Amanda's colleagues at the Annie Oakley saloon. Nyama Choma is Swahili for a dining experience in which you choose your piece of meat from the butcher up front and then have it roasted for you in the back. Our piece happened to be 2 kilos of a leg of goat that we shared while eating Ugali - a type of cornmeal that tastes like a cross between grits and sticky rice.
  • - We stayed at the very lovely Gracia Gardens the first couple of nights, but it was a bit too expensive for our budget. I think it was around 70 bucks a night. We made some arrangements and are now renting a room in a four bedroom apartment. That took the cost down to about 16 bucks a night. We'll be in Nairobi a couple more nights and then head to Narok. The apartment is nice because we are staying with local Kenyans and able to cook our own meals...also reducing the cost.
  • - Most meals cost about the same as the states. The prices here in Nairobi are very similar to the states.
  • - We both got two cell phone services. We have a safaricom and celtel sim card for each of our phones. This is just in case one service doesn't work in an area....we can always maintain connectivity. The cell service is quite nice and robust. You can even get a blackberry and have instant email for a price.
  • - We visited the Nairobi National Museum a few days ago. They have a wonderful exhibit on the origin of humans and some very informative displays on different animals.
  • - On Saturday we visited the Mamba Village! Mamba is Swahili for crocodile, and this friendly, family-oriented park had plenty of them, including a big male that the guide harassed repeatedly with a long stick. They also had a few ostrich and a camel at the park. We saw a little green snake swimming across this big man made pond at the park....the snake (nyoka) was just wandering by and not part of the exhibits! The guide even told us that some leopards from a national park nearby were getting into their park and attacking the ostrich.
  • - They have a few movie theatres within walking distance of our apartment. I think we'll hit the Indiana Jones movie in the next few days if we have the time.
  • - English is the official language over here. It is quite easy to get around just speaking English although we are feverishly working on our Swahili.
  • - Things are going amazingly well setting up meetings with contacts here in town. We currently have 6 meetings set up over the next 4 days. The friendliness and politeness of people over here is really very welcoming.
Here are a bunch of pics from our first few days:

An angry crocodile. They make the most amazing hissing/growling sound when upset.
Chris feeding the Ostrich some collard greens.

Mandy and the crocs.

Wall art depicting the man eating lions of Tsavo.
The entrance to Mamba village.

A bunch of crocs hanging out.

Wall art depicting the traditional Masaai circumcision ritual.

Hadada Ibis feeding in the grass outside of our apartment window.

Mandy nestled in her bed under the mosquito net in our rented apartment.

Until next time.....Kwa heri! (Goodbye!).

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