Tuesday, 10 April 2018
Kenya - Day 9 the final day in Kenya
Before setting off on the drive a quick revisit of the market and another opportunity to pay the bartering game before setting off back on the 3 hour drive to Nairobi. The final drive back to Nairobi along the main road passes through a number of similar villages that are all built up from the main road complete with speed bumps, cattle grazing at the side of the road and the crazy drivers overtaking on the 2 lane road. The journey takes us back past the equator line and the beautiful scenery of the rift valley.
Nairobi is a busy city with similar traffic issues to most major cities but without the civilised road discipline which makes it every person for themselves. I am reassured by Neil that the Indian road system is far worse and he wouldn’t contemplate driving there. We have all had a go at driving in Kenya which has been a fun experience especially with the car issues that we previously mentioned.
Once we checked into our accomodation we head out to get the car washed and to meet the owner of the transport company we use with our school trip. The car wash at the side of the ride was really busy with cars and people keen to clean the car. The guy did what we would consider to be a full valet inside and out for the equivalent of £1.50. The car was probably cleaner than when we picked it up at the start of our journey.
Martin is a lovely guy that has been supplying us with buses and drivers for a number of years. With these arrangements sorted we travelled to Westlands where there is another market for us to look at and where we were going to have dinner at Fogo Goucho.
The market in Nairobi was far bigger than the one at Nakuru but with a lot of similar things but a better opportunity to barter with the locals. The market sellers have a code between them that says if you are in front of their shop they will try desperately hard to sell you something but the second you move to the next stall there time is up. I learnt really quickly to not say that I was looking for something specific otherwise the rest of the market already know what it is that you want long before you get to their stalls. It is a complete rabbit warren of stalls and alleyways where natural light is scarce. Most of the market is either wooden figures, soapstone pieces or paintings. Most of it is done by the sellers and you can watch them crafting it there and then. I must have met 3 people that were all claiming to be the Kenyan Picasso and saying that the previous one was just a fake and that they are the real one. The market stalls are tiny and really crammed together. Some of them have more things in them than you can see. We met a guy called Patrick in the market that was selling wooden things. He had some nice hand carved signs that would look great on a wall and we were interested but not enough to pay the 1500 KHS that he was asking. So we said we’d be back. On our return to his spot by chance he accosted me as to why I hadn’t bought my sign from him and I told him that I bought it for 800 KHS which he said was a ridiculously good price. He then joked that my friend could then have one of his for 700 KHS which he bought and we had a real laugh with him and the neighbouring traders. I wonder how low could we have really gone with it.
From the hustle and bustle of the market we walked into the mall next door. What a dramatic contrast as the mall is relatively new with nice shops and clean floors. A security check is done before you enter most shopping centers in Kenya with a quick search of the bag and walk through a scanner.
Dinner was at the amazing restaurant Fogo Goucho, a Brazilian steakhouse within a short walk of the market and mall. The food is amazing and served to you on a sword.
The variety of meats served is amazing and the different seasonings and flavours is just to amazing. There is everything from Chicken served 3 ways to beef, ribs and even crocodile. A full salad bar and puddings wrap this beautiful dining experience. On your table, you have a little card that is red on one side and green on the other. This is used to tell the staff that you want more meat or not.
Once the card goes green the waiters come round with all of the varieties and slice it in front of you. Not only is the food amazing but the service was great too. I couldn’t manage pudding as I enjoyed far too much of the meat and was really stuffed. I remember coming here in 2015 and we were in the restaurant for my birthday and they made a real fuss of us.
After dinner, it was back to our accommodation and then an early night ready for our flight in the morning.
This experience over the last week or so has given me a massive confidence in leading our school trip in the summer and I really can’t wait to get back and enjoy the hospitality of the people that we have enjoyed this week. This last week has been a mixture of emotional visits to schools and orphanages but above all I am happy with the work we have done this week in picking schools for this and next year, we have also simplified the arrangements for the school trip to make our lives easier and I made some new friends in both the schools, places we stayed and also for the scouting association of Kenya and also within our group. We have had some funny moments on our trip and I know these will be repeated for some time to come.
Now all that is left is to finish the finer points of this year’s trip and confirm all of the arrangements made this week and prepare for my return in July with our school trip.