Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kenya Part 6: Nairobi, Day 4 (Final Day)

Another chill day in Nairobi which consisted of us actually making it to the giraffe sanctuary and the art galleries we wanted to go to on our first day in Nairobi.

at the national museum

the giraffe sactuary

on more train picture just because!

Then it got a bit crazy! So, we had a different taxi driver take us around this time which we hoped would be better than the one we had on Thursday, but it turns out he wasn’t . . . he really wasn’t better! I don’t mean to generalize, but I have found this to be the case in South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, and Kenya: many people in African don’t like giving bad news, so they will tell you want you want to hear to appease you (now this happens at home too, but not as often as it does here). It is actually really frustrating at times because most of the time I would rather have the bad news: for example, rather than make an appointment with me for a time that you can’t make (telling me what I want to hear) and making me wait for 4 hours, just make an appointment for a time that is good for both of us. Or, rather than tell me you can get this data from parliament, make me wait for it for 2 weeks, and then tell me you can’t get it when you knew you couldn’t get it 2 weeks ago would have saved me some time and allowed me to find another way to get the data . . . ok, I’m done complaining :)

Anyway, so we asked our driver how long it would take to get to the airport because we needed to go to an ATM and shopping center before going to the airport (it was about 4 pm and our international flight was leaving at 8:20 pm). He was like “oh yeah, no, it take like 30 or 45 minutes.” Then we asked if he was sure because it took us a little longer to get from the airport to town on our way in and we were worried about evening traffic, but said “No, there won’t be any traffic.” So, being the outsiders, we trusted him and kind of took it easy not worrying too much about getting to the airport because the Nairobi Airport is shit show and we didn’t want to spend too much time there. Also, Air Uganda allows you to check in to your flight up to 30 minutes before the flight if you don’t have any baggage to check (which we didn’t), so we felt we had time.

So, we go to the shopping center, do our thing, and then we try to find out driver in the parking lot. I got his number when he dropped us off so we could call him when we were finished and meet him because we didn’t see where he parked. It turns out he gave me the wrong number and we had to comb through the parking lot to find him (bad Nairobi taxi experience number 3). We found him and then were on our way. We left at about 5 pm or 5:15 so we had plenty of time . . . we thought . . .

We get out of the shopping center and into traffic, we sit in the same spot for about 40 minutes, move a bit and then I can see the traffic is not lightening up any time soon. So, I ask him if we are going to get there in time because the traffic is looking really bad. He said that once we got to the uhuru highway the traffic would flow, so I trusted him. About an hour goes by and we get to the uhuru highway and traffic is no better. Then he says that once we get past the next 2 roundabouts, the traffic will flow. We get through the 2 roundabouts and the traffic doesn’t get better.

Finally, once 7 pm rolls around and we are still on the uhuru highway in bumper to bumper traffic, we start getting frustrated because we are probably going to miss our flight. He said it was fine and would just take 10 minutes, which none of us believed. He then started to say that flights are late sometimes and we will be fine and/or that we could just get on the next flight!!! Yeah, that’s not how it works. So we explained that if we miss our flight, then we have to buy a whole new ticket, accommodations for the night, and miss work tomorrow! Then we break through traffic, finally, at about 7:45 and he drives like a crazy person to the airport. We arrive at the airport at about 8 pm (on his clock which turned out to be 5 minutes fast which was great) and run to the check in counter . . . remember our flight (international flight mind you!) is TAKING OFF in 25 minutes!

The guy begins to check us in and says that the plain is full and they have given away our seats, there are 2 seats left, but they are trying to figure out what to do. We sit there and are kind of to the point of laughing about everything because it has been so stressful, but really we are stressed beyond belief! About 10 minutes goes by and then the guy says that they have another seat and we should run to the plain! We checked in, went through passport control and security, and ran to our plane! We got on and flew home! It was crazy! But luckily we made it home safe and sound!

It was a great and much needed vacation! The country was beautiful and the people were great! Loved Kenya!

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