9/11/09: Nairobi, Kenya
Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be Kevin Bacon? I used to. But if his life is similar to the character he played in The Air Up There, then Zhou and I now know. Why? Because we’re in Africa!
The first thing that struck me about Nairobi was the toll booth guard. He had a gun on him bigger than Mark McGwire’s steroid-filled left bicep, and he was a toll booth guard. I can’t imagine what a security guard at the Kenya Parliament would carry.
What has interested me most about this city thus far though is our hotel room at the Hotel Boulevard. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect as our cab driver, David, drove us from the airport. The lobby actually looked fairly nice, except for all the signs warning guests to secure their valuables. We then walked up two flights of stairs and entered our room with a credit card style key similar to what you’d find in any American hotel. Here’s a quick overview of the other features I found interesting:
Air conditioning. There is none, but there is a fan in the corner of the room. It’s a nice temperature outside though, so we have the window cracked also and it feels nice.
Bedet. Bet you American travelers wish you had one of those right now! Well, we do. Although we’re not really sure what to do with it, and I think it might actually just be a fancy urinal. (Ok, so I’m not really sure what a bedet is…)
Bugs. Surprisingly, I have only seen one thus far. Ernest, who we sat next to today on the plane ride and who is originally from South Africa, said that since it’s just becoming spring the bugs aren’t bad yet.
Sheets. A little dirty, but otherwise pretty nice.
Toiletries. Zhou and I were happy to find hotel shampoo, conditioner and lotion when we checked out the bathroom. However, upon closer inspection all three bottles appeared to be stolen from another Castle Royal Hotel and they were all nearly completely used. Also, the lotion seemed more like calamine lotion to me than anything else.
TV. The biggest surprise of all was when we opened the room door and saw a TV on the wall. I was very curious to see what channels we would get but quickly realized that the power button was torn out. My suspicion now is that it was not a TV at all but a hidden camera for the hotel to spy on its guests.
Safety. I actually feel pretty safe here, except there is a club nearby playing loud music, and I swear I just heard gunshots. It was probably a toy gun.
Our room cost $96 for the night, a price which I’m sure is inflated because many Acacia overland tours and safaris leave from this hotel. The plane today was filled with a good mix of what appeared to be native Kenyans and excited safari-goers. I overheard several older people talking about their upcoming Acacia tour, so I’m sure they’re here ponying up the room rate as well.
6.5 hours until our world trip “officially” starts!
Puzzles for Postcards
Rhyme Time! (Solve two of three, but beware – these are triple rhymes…)
A famous mouse who has managed to escape from a peanut butter trap
The search for visitors who were in awe of the hotel they stayed at
What the oriole watching geek did to impersonate his cat
Picture of the Day: I had just found out about the “Color Accent” mode on the camera, and a sleeping Zhou was a perfect subject. Be prepared to see many more “Color Accented” pictures in future posts.