Hope this song is now in your head!
16.10.2014 - 23.10.2014 20 °C
On arriving in Kenya, I had had a LONG travel day. A very local immersion day.
The night before I had arrived back in Moshi from the Kili climb. To celebrate safe returns had a beer with my guide, Arshad. I immediately regretted that decision. 1 Kilimanjaro mountain = safe and sound, 1 Kilimanjaro beer = almost killed me. Even though Arshad wanted to take me out for green banana stew, karaoke and reggae dancing, I politely declined and had a night fighting with the ever disconnecting internet to speak to Mum and Iain to let them know I was alive.
The next morning I felt like a million bucks, however someone was yet to inform the 100 year old lady that had climbed inside my body and died, that she was not needed anymore, and that her contract weighing down my legs was terminated. So I waddled to breakfast and got a massage from a lady who sounded like she had a cheeky case of Ebola and was using her snot as massage oil.
After a decontamination shower, I was told my shuttle to Nairobi would leave at 10. Then 10.30. Then 10.30 a car would come and pick me up to take me to my shuttle that left at 11. Then at 11, still in the car I was told 11.30 was the shuttles leaving time. 12 came and went and 12.30 a shuttle arrived in the car park teeming with passengers and excess baggage.
It was then I realised, I didn't have any food in my possession, bar 2 chupa chups (I know, rocking it old school!) and a bottle of water. Fail. This was going to be a hAngry day. I managed to get a bottle of coke at the border crossing into Kenya, so when I arrived back with the Acacia team in Nairobi I was famished. But the timing and lack of food was not the most challenging parts of the journey. I managed to sit myself a single seat on the left hand side of the bus, unfortunately just above the wheel, so no leg room, and the wheel was not aligned so it felt like the whole bus was shaking from my own bones. I couldn't rest my head on the seat as it felt likely was trying to vibrate all of the teeth out of my skull. To add to the discomfort I was crushed into this seat by 2 large suitcases, so no opportunity to move. The 100 year old lady that died inside me, didn't enjoy this. I felt like the only thing I was missing was live chickens running round the bus.
If this wasn't enough, the journey, which to me felt like it started at 10am, didn't reach Nairobi until 9.30pm. With 1 toilet break... Oh well I guess in one sense, I am lucky I didn't have anything to eat or drink.
Arrival in Nairobi meant reuniting with my guide and driver, who were pleased to see I had survived, so pleased they tried to kill me with brandy and coke.
Nairobi is a mad place, filled with ineffective traffic lights, traffic and always a slight chance of a mugging. It's called Nai-Robbery for a reason. But I had a lot of fun anyway, reggae dancing, more lamb than I have had in the last 2 years, and just a bit of recuperation time after Kili.
Then the rain started. I have had very little rain since arriving in Africa. I think Kenya has made up for the whole continent. Once it started it didn't really cease for 2 days, thunder, flooding the whole works. On the day we went to pick up the new crew for the Uganda route, the truck was driving through foot deep water at times. And the foam coming out of the slums was covering the road. Nairobi has the biggest slum in Africa more than a million people live in a make shift housing belt that runs through the city.
Our new group seems like it is going to be awesome. We have a super mixture 16 people from 8 different countries. But mostly kiwis, ozzies and South Africans that live or have been living in London. Time will only tell, but so far I'm looking forward to the next 2 weeks.
Driving toward the Ugandan border, the journey takes us along the Rift Valley, over the equator and toward a green country side that is full of lush vegetation, fruit and vegetables and cool weather. My Maasi blanket is probably my 'go to' item at the moment, for keeping me warm as it is very chilly at nights up here. It also brings mad roads, potholes, road works, police checks, speed bumps and upturned trucks. Most of the road is lined with massive trucks with their wheels in the air lying in the ditch, like a dog wanting its belly scratched.
The promise of the Ugandan border brings families and bystanders more like Malawi. In Tanzania the people seemed more cautious and suspicious, there was no waving, smiles and chasing the truck. But up here it has returned. Children carrying other children, using their spare hands to wave. Kids carrying axes and waving, kids balancing bundles of sticks on their head or putting their live chicken under their arms so they have enough spare hands to wave and catch your attention.
Although there is a lot of people lining the road, to wave there is An interesting display of industry here. It's all about diversification of your product. If you are a butchery, you should also be pharmacy and a bar.
Markets with singer sewing machines sitting on the same table as oranges, next to second hand jeans and a pile of bricks. Who knows what you might need.
Today we cross the boarder and head into Uganda, I will return to Kenya before leaving, but in the mean time in am excited about that lies at the end of this road. Even if it is under the gloomy storm clouds of potentially more rain.