Friday, June 14, 2013

Hakuna Matata! The Africa Diaries- Part 2

Such is life

Previous Posts in 'The Africa series' :Hakuna Matata! The Africa Diaries- Part 1

We had heard horror stories about Kenya before we left London. The usual warnings included things like:
-Do not even think of stepping out at night
-Women get raped
-Do not stop your car at a red light. It is just not safe
-Locals make life miserable for tourists

The wise nurse from the Medical Centre who had given me the three jabs had spent an hour with us explaining how:
-African mosquitos can kill you. ( Me (proudly): I have had malaria in India, She: African malaria can kill in 24 hours. That kind of shut me up!)
-Flies can be very dangerous (Me: I know flies. there are many of them in India. *Glare from wise nurse*) 

With the warnings sounding in my head, I gingerly stepped onto the tarmac at the Kenyatta International Airport at 9 in the night, not too sure of what to expect.

As we (Sid and I were travelling with another couple, lets call them B & S) made our way to the immigration counter, S remarked in a matter of fact ' of-course-you-know-this' voice ' You do know that Indians are specifically targeted in Kenya.'

 I gulped. Right. Good to know that now that I am in Kenya. 

The four of us were met by the hotel staff. Pleasant, friendly and warm. 

Dazed from our nine hour flight, we all seemed to wake up as the car (which did not, I noted, stop at any red light) sped into the city. Nothing excites expats more than going to a third country and seeing bits and bobs of your own. So there was Mahindra, Tata, Airtel, Sameer Shopping plaza etc etc. The four of us excitedly pointed out all of this to one another. In the night, Nairobi seemed like any other city in India, chaotic and hot yet familiar in its own way.

Once we reached the hotel, we all got very excited when we noted that the uber polite hotel staff would not even let us press the call button for the lift! What luxury!

By mid night, tired, excited and maybe a little apprehensive of what the next few days had in store for us, we crashed in for the night. There was, we knew, a lot of travelling to do the next day.

The next morning, happy after a huge and lavish breakfast in the shaded gardens of the hotel ( the menu included Dhokla as well!) ,  I chatted with the guard of the hotel as Sid checked out.  The guard was 6'5 tall and I got a few pictures clicked with him as we chatted. He told me that he had one wife and three kids, 2 boys and a girl (his words not mine). While the man was remarkably tall, his wife, as he told me, is short.
As luck would have it, the sons take after their mother  and are short and his daughter at 16 years of age is already 5'11.


Such is life.

Amongst the things we were warned about was the traffic in Nairobi. The hotel staff too told us grand tales of how horrible the traffic could be and recommended that we leave well in adavance for the domestic airport to catch our 45 minute flight to Mombasa. It could take us, they said, two hours if the traffic was bad.

 As luck would have it, traffic was not bad.

We reached the airport in 35 minutes flat and spent four LONG hours waiting at the tiniest airport I have ever been in, for a flight that ended up getting delayed and delayed!

Once in the plane, and munching on Macademia nuts, I settled into my window seat. I always get a window seat because of two reasons:
1)      I love to see how the world looks like from the skies
2)      The clouds never cease to fascinate

I read through Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’ as the landscape below me changed from the red of the Tsavo National Park to the lush green of Mombasa where the sun, the beach and a air conditioned taxi were waiting for us :)

As the taxi sped, I took in the salty smell of the sea I knew was not far from us and realised with  a mental whoop of joy that our Africa holiday had now truly begun!

Before the day would end, I would have learnt my first water sports, injured myself and made friends with a parrot.

More on that in the third part of 'The Africa Diaries'

Hakuna Matata,




How do we know said...

u go Rampyari! i have a feeling i m going to like this series very mucha.

Kirti Devgan said...

The hakuna matata series is definately going to increase Africa's tourism..Seeing life and beauty in everything can just be down by you..all proud sis...

Hrituparna Mandal said...

The mosquito and flies really scared the hell outta me too..... never ever will land up in africa :/

Aarthy said...

Very interesting series .. I can feel your excitement reading it :)
Am following it !