As I mentioned earlier in the week, my parents are in Nairobi for two weeks. My Mother is spending the first week attending an international conference for women, sponsored by the YWCA, which means my Dad is left to his own devices. He sends a journal entry to my sisters and I each day. What follows are excerpts from Stewart's Kenya Journals:
Kenya Journal #1
Chaos Rules! I guess we should have expected it when the guy said he'd check our bags all the way to Nairobi. We arrived, but the bags didn't (or just haven't yet-- I hope). We flew United to Chicago and only made the plane because the Virgin Atlantic ticket agent walked us to the head of the security line. At London Heathrow, we found the stories were true. We had Two Hours and Twenty Minutes to make the connection and I had to jump the line to get a boarding pass before the plane left (and then they held the plane). This was the day they discovered the two potential car-bombs in London.
One of the things I did was to check the rate we're paying here. The normal rate is $300 a night, but we're paying $140. When I checked the rate, I found that it includes a breakfast in the resturant. We'd been afraid to venture to the resturant because of the way we look (I bought a comb and toothpaste today). It's all in asking the right questions.
I took a trip back to the air port to do a second look for the bags and had a long talk with "Big John" who was driving the cab. Nice guy. The road to the airport, on one side, runs along the edge of one of the national parks (yes think wild animals), but it's pretty far out. Traffic is suicidal here. Literacy is only a recent requirement for driving busses.
Today as your mom and I walked to the Mall, I saw Big John and said hello and shook hands with him. Your mom gave me a strange look and I told her "I know people here," which made the look get even stranger until she figured it out.
All for now, more later as the adventure develops.
Kenya Journal #2
It's 3:00 a.m. local. We're eight hours ahead of you (that's two more than London), so It's 7:43 P.M. there in San Antonio. We haven't been able to completely adjust our circadian clocks yet, so we're still waking up at odd hours. I know I'll be sleepy again in about half an hour, so I thought I'd supplement Journal #1 instead of stare at the walls.
One of the plesent things about our room is the choir. We're right across from the University and every afternoon there is a choir that practices in a courtyard across the street on the University grounds. We know this since we are on the 15th floor and have a great view. The first day they were standing in a circle and swaying while they sang. Today it sounded like church music - hymns. The trafic is heavy on University Avenue and we have the windows closed, but still the music gets in. Ever since the first day, they are sitting down when they sing. They sound great and the volume must be awsome down on the ground floor.
Yesterday I was more restless than today. I woke up just before dawn. I could tell it was near dawn from the volume of traffic going down University Avenue. Just as the busses used to announce the dawn in Oaxaca, the cars announce it here. Regardless, I'll swear I heard the Muzzin's call to prayer. There is a large Muslim population here, so it's possible. It would be broadcast from a loudspeaker from the minerette of the local mosque.
On my air port trip with Big John, I came back to the cab at sundown and there were three cabbies on their knees, heads pressed to a piece of cardboard praying in the parking lot. That's the first time I've seen Muslims in prayer. We didn't even see it in Turkey, but of course they're pretty secular.
The weather here is great. We're at 1700 meters, maybe 6,000 feet. The weather is coolish at night and not sweltering during the day. We're just below the equator, so it is winter here. It rains, or tries to rain every afternoon, but we're not in the real rainy season yet. I think that when the real rains come late in July and over the next two months, the water holes will fill up out in the parks and the game will start to migrate. We're supposedly in the Gnu migration season, but we're really earl and might not see to much movement.
Our suite is littered with drying clothes. Alma washed last night and thinks here socks won't dry by the morning (althought the underwear might), so she thinks she'll attend the conference in the socks I bought yesterday (she forgot to buy any). She told me this just as I was about to wash my own travel socks. I think I'll have to buy another pair tomorrow, or maybe a pair for her.
Well the hour is late (or early -- 4:00 a.m.), and the cycadian rhythms are getting to me.
All for now,