Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Week in Nairobi

Or should i say "Nairobory" - as one guy in Mombasa called it. Every expat has security alarms, car security locks, and tracers. Each has a phone number of one or two trusted taxi drivers because you can't risk riding with a driver you don't know. This makes sense because almost everyone has a story involving themselves or someone they know whose car has been hijaked or house has been broken in.

I can't speak to the toursistic part yet since i didn't explore that, but it seems that most of the touristic action happens outside the city.

Despite bad traffic an pollution, I liked the city. You can find various forms of green spaces everywhere and there are some beautiful residential areas. The city center has buildings with different styles that are well layed out. I had a nice lunch with GSBer's a couple of times at the Thorne Tree restaurant. There isn't so many fancy places to shop, but we've been to the Village market which had a nice variety of small shops and a big grocery store. Everyone speaks English, even all the street billboards are in English, which makes your life easier.

One of the week's highlights was going with Sam - a nice guy from Kickstart - to the Moutain Club of Kenya. This is one of expats typical gatherings. Serious mountain climbers/hikers meet every thursday to share their experiences and plan expeditions/trips. There was a big group of at least fifty people. After casual chats and food, they discussed the calendar of upcoming activities and one person gave a presentation about his recent attempts to climb some mountain. These are not typical hiking trips where you follow a given trail, but they could involve exploration of some virgin routes.

As for politics, the county is expecting elections at the end of this year. It seems they are a little ahead of Egypt when it comes to democracy. The former president who had been in power for more than 20 years stepped down a few years ago, and there is a more fair contention over the presidency seat. Some people are not very happy with the current president and think he will get changed.

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