Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nairobi Eye

If you're looking for a great restaurant to try during your travels to Nairboi my first recommendation is Trattoria restaurant in down town Nairobi. Sitting people watching the busy streets from Trattoria's balcony I was reminded by the article I was reading in the Daily Nation (the local paper) at breakfast earlier that day. The headline of the article read "Nairobi set to become one of fastest growing cities globally". The article mentioned several times how by 2016 Kenya's capital will be among 40 of the fastest growing cities in the world.  The traffic in Nairobi is like rush hour traffic in North America, however it lasts all day, well after sun down. Their local transportation runs often and there are many options for getting around the growing city.  The Matatus and buses are the most popular type of local transportation and the most affordable for both locals and tourists. 

If shopping is on your list of things to do or you need to pick up a few things you may have forgotten to bring on Safari then you have a few choices for modern, air-conditioned shopping malls.  The Ya Ya Centre is home to 80 shops and many restaurants. You definitely want to make a stop at Alexandre, a great cafe and bakery where you will find lovely sandwiches, salads and desserts. You will notice many Nakumats, a store similar to Walmart, there are several in the city the largest being in the Sarit Centre. If you're looking for great Sushi head to the forth floor of the Junction shopping mall. The Phoenician Restaurant is a great Lebanese & Japanese restaurant with a wonderful menu to satisfy your taste buds.

The Nairobi Eye, also known as the Nairobi Fly surely does not mean to cause any problems. As long as we humans know how to deal with them they will cause us no harm. These small creators are a type of beetle that if killed on contact with your skin will release the acid contained in its body.  They do not bite or sting so you definitely do not want to swat these guys! Your best bet is to blow or gently brush them off.  The burn can spread so it is best not to touch it once you realize you've killed one, regardless of the location on your body. There is a cream to treat the burn which will heal and leave with no scar, as long as you keep your hands off during the healing process.  I've heard that toothpaste works very well however for my burn I stuck with the cream I picked up from the Doctari!  Now knowing what the Nairobi Eye looks like I think twice before swatting bugs when they land on me. I have learned from experience that they are not the best to go up against, similar to the monkeys, although that's another blog on it's own!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pole Pole

YouTube Video - Arusha to Nairobi
A term regarding the way of life, whether in Kenya or Tanzania is "pole pole", which translates from Kiswahili to English as "slowly".  I very much enjoy this way and embrace it each time I'm reminded that there is always another day to accomplish the tasks that did not get done.   In the Western world this term causes anxiety to many, as it is world of "right now”!

While the city life in Arusha or Nairobi is hustle bustle, like any busy city, the typical way still has its "pole pole" ways.  Namanga is the border town between Kenya and Nairobi. You must pass through this when traveling via road. The process is easy and one should not fear this step of the journey.

Traveling from the Masai Mara Game Reserve to Tarangire National Park by road is a breathtaking experience.  I am captured by the beauty of the rolling hills, fields upon fields of crops to the very tops of the mountains and the many herds which are the local farmer’s source of income. The small villages scattered along the way may seem very simplistic, however that is the "pole pole" way.  With everyone pitching in to make the family thrive, from the young boys who watch over the family herds, to the young women carrying loads of water or supplies well balanced atop their heads.  This is something I am determined to learn to do.  I’m sure it’s one of those things that looks easier than it really is!
When you come on a Safari to East Africa I highly recommend you add this cultural experience near the top of your list! I captured many beautiful images in my mind and with my camera, a few of the drive I'm sharing with you. Please enjoy my video story safari from Arusha, Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya.