Kenya Nairobi 2001.02.15 - 02.17

Arrival to East Africa

Flights between many African countries are irregular and expensive. Using the Internet, we found that the least expensive way to fly from Morocco to Kenya to Turkey is via Amsterdam (Casablanca - Amsterdam - Nairobi - Amsterdam - Istanbul) on KLM.

Aside from preparations, Nairobi offers little and can be dangerous for unwary tourists. We avoided trouble by following the advice of the Lonely Planet guide and our hotel receptionist:

Here's a list of useful preparations that can be made in Nairobi:

To get from Nairobi to Mt. Meru or Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, there are 2 shuttle bus options: Riverside Shuttle and Davanu Shuttle. For Mt. Meru, ask to be dropped off at the Arusha National Park junction between Arusha and Moshi. For Mt. Kilimanjaro, take the shuttle to Moshi. Riverside (Tel: 02-35561) departs Nairobi from the Norfolk Hotel on Harry Thuku Road twice daily at 08:00 and 13:30. Note: the Riverside office address listed in the newest Lonely Planet Kenya guide is old and no longer valid. Davanu (Tel: 02-822001, address: 4th floor, Windsor House, University Way) departs Nairobi twice daily from their office also at 08:00 and 13:30. Both shuttle companies will pick up passengers from their hotel in advance for no additional charge. Beware, however, of being overcharged for shuttle tickets. See our page on Mt. Meru for details.

Our last few days in Kenya were in Nairobi. We intended to visit Lake Naivasha after Mt. Kenya, but the shared-taxi ride from Mt. Kenya back to Nairobi was uncomfortable (cramped and sweltering hot) and dangerously fast to the extent that we never found the motivation to ride another to the lake. Instead, we read, slept, wrote web pages, and ate often at the remarkably good Japanese restaurant, Akasaka on Standard Street, for 4 days. By departure day, we were anxious to leave. We had enough of the touts on every block trying to sell us a safari, the countless taxi drivers continuously asking us where we wanted to go, the fake watch salesmen on the street tsk-ing us to look at their merchandise, the homeless barefoot children begging for money, the untrustworthy police looking to collect "fines", the suspect tap water, the all-night disco noise, the non-functioning traffic signals, all of it. We reached the airport early, checked-in, and found our departure gate, Gate 5 for flight KQ116 scheduled for departure on March 15 at 11:00. Our hand-carry bag rode the x-ray machine, and the security frisked us. "We're almost out of this country," we thought to ourselves. The female security guard spent little time patting down Masami. She was through and collected the hand-carry bag. The male security guard checked Wes thoroughly, even asking to see the inside of his hidden money pouch, bill by bill, and then had the nerve to ask for a payoff. Unbelievable. You can't trust anyone in Kenya, even the airport security who wear uniforms that say "Kenya Police". Wes told him, "No", wrote down his badge number 67882, and questioned, "Who is your manager? I'm unhappy that you asked me for money." "Please don't say anything. I'd lose my job," he pleaded pathetically. Officer 67882 immediately disappeared from Gate 5 at 10:10, though Wes didn't bother to report him. Don't trust anyone in Nai-robbery.

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