So, my first adventure to Africa has not exactly gone entirely smoothly. First of all, I had to pay at Heathrow for my luggage because one bag was overweight and even though the other was extremely underweight, I still had to pay. I wasn’t about to start re-packing in the middle of Heathrow airport. I was WAY too tired!!
Then, I arrived in Nairobi. Still exhausted. And the extremely underweight bag did not make it to Nairobi. But, I was assured it would arrive the next day. So that was fine. And it DID arrive today, but when it did, the sleeping bag I had attached to the back of it (in hindsight, I should have put it in my suitcase) was ominously missing. So, I tried to call the airport baggage desk three separate times and no one answered. So now I must brave Sunday Nairobi shopping tomorrow to buy a sleeping bag. AUGH!!!
But, my first official day, other than all the annoyances, was really amazing. I slept about 11 hours, which was amazing. Then, I went on a 4-hour mini safari, traveling to the Karen region of Nairobi (named after Karen Blixen, who Meryl Streep portrayed in Out of Africa). There, I went to Karen Blixen’s house – so cool! I just saw Out of Africa, so it was really neat to see the house where it was filmed (well, the exterior – not the interior). Then, I went to a bead and ceramic factory where there were gorgeous necklaces and earrings. So pretty!!
After that, we went to the Giraffe Centre. It was amazing. There were warthogs and giraffes, plus two rogue tortoises. Giraffes are such beautiful creatures – I got to hand feed them pellets, pet them (though they really only let you do this if they were getting fed), and even “kissed them.” This consists of putting a pellet in your lips, leaning over, and having the giraffe’s LOOOOOONG tongue take it from you. I kissed a baby giraffe and a grown female. They were both SO cute!!
Driving around Nairobi was also amazing. We passed street vendors, many of whom were selling furniture. There were also goats just milling about – and some baby ones too! There are also vast differences in standards of living. The starkest contrast was driving out of Karen, which is one of the richest areas (and used to be Whites-only) back into Nairobi, where we passed the slums – where about 1 million people live.
Tomorrow, I start the main safari – two weeks of fun-filled tourism in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. Then it’s onto Rwanda!