Sunday 4 May 2014

First impressions

Yesterday our team of 15 finally met each other in person after talking on the phone every week for 3 months. So great to be together! Here are some observations after our first full day in Nairobi:

Airport: Queues are slow and personnel responses are unclear to any question you might have. In the end it doesn't matter in which line you stand (I entered as "Kenyan citizen") or what you write on your visa form ("just fill it"). The immigration personnel may, however, have a sense of humor and can make you feel welcome :) Last but not least, you shouldn't let go of your baggage when a friendly guy volunteers to push your cart.

Roads: Hazard lights are used for a variety of reasons and many of them do not include an emergency. People will make brave attempts of crossing the road through traffic. Traffic is bad but not as crazy as in some other countries. We did, however, kind of get hit by a car already yesterday. Our driver was quick to steer away so we hit the curb harder. Nobody stopped to sort the issue, some potential metal damage is nothing compared to the possibility of getting carjacked.
This matatu pushed us off the road

 Hotel: The rooms are huge (more like apartments) and the whole place is very nice. You must remember to tip the staff helping you with your luggage. The noises during the night could be identified to come at least from a dog, a wild party and an electric fence. Sleeping with a mosquito net can feel like being a fish in an episode of the "Deadliest Catch", unless you know how to tuck the net correctly under the matress.

Outside the hotel: Getting 15 people on the move and keeping the group together takes time and effort. Rainy season can also mean sun and +25C. Schools look like prisons with all the barb wire and security guards. Shopping mall visit includes two security checks, at the parking lot gate and at the mall doors. Young girls have the most creative and colorful braids on their hair. Tusker beer is apparently the new Google Translate: after tasting some you are able to understand all your colleagues speaking foreign languages.

Waiting at the mall when Bakul had to return some misplaced sausages

Security checks at the shopping mall gate

Animals: Elephants die not from old age but starvation caused by loss of teeth, unless the poachers catch them first. Cheetah is not a very dangerous cat, but you should watch out for the leopards. Difficult to tell from a distance, however, which one you're dealing with.

Elephant orphanage
Scenery at the orphanage

That's all folks, we'll keep you posted!


#ibmcsc kenya

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy to see that everyone has arrived safely and your adventure in Kenya is finally starting! Good luck team and look forward to reading about your assignment through this blog. And +25C? Lucky you! Now I wish I was there during the rainy season ...