Nov 022012

Mike had a work conference in Nairobi last week so went along with him.  I was really excited and curious to see what Nairobi was like since it tends to have polarizing reactions here.  People either love it or hate it.  People who love it are say: “It’s so cosmopolitan!  Malls!  Culture!”  People who hate it say: “Even more traffic than Dar!  Too busy!  Not safe!  No ocean!”  It’s only about a one hour flight, pretty quick.  We left Dar at 6:30am for an 8:30am flight and it takes about 30 min to get to the airport with no traffic.  But once you’re at the airport there are countless security screenings and a long line to get through immigration.  By the time we got through everything, we got to the gate just in time as they were boarding!  I got a window seat so I took some nice pics of Dar as we took off.

Flying Over Dar

Glittering Harbor of Dar

Further inland into Tanzania, we passed some really red plains.  I couldn’t capture the deep red in the photo but it was like passing over red clay.

Dry Red Plains in Tanzania

We weren’t sitting on the Kilimanjaro side when we passed it, but Mike managed to lean over and get a shot of the mountain as we passed it.  A lot of people think Kilimanjaro is in Kenya, but it’s all in Tanzania.  We are thinking of hiking it some time next year.  Anyone want to come with?

Kilimanjaro Peeking Through the Clouds

When we got to Nairobi, I couldn’t get over the weather!  Because it’s at a higher elevation, it’s MUCH cooler than Dar.  Weather was around the low 70s, and sometimes I needed to wear a jacket because it got chilly!  So nice after the hot humidity of Dar.  We had a shuttle pick us up at the airport and there was massive traffic near the hotel (everyone was going to church).  The roads aren’t very good either.  It took us an hour and a half to get to the hotel, longer than our flight!  I had been warned by friends to be careful in Nairobi because it’s not very safe.  While in Dar, you can get mugged and the motive is just theft, there can be more violence accompanied with theft in Nairobi.  I’ve gotten used to walking around without a purse really quickly.  Both places you shouldn’t walk around at night at all.

First thing we did in Nairobi was check out the mall at Junction!  Flashback to our first world Bangkok day after trekking in Nepal.  Ha!  Not quite like the Bangkok malls though.  It was a medium-sized mall, we probably walked around it in less than 30 minutes?  But there was a frozen yogurt shop there and it was essentially Yogurtland so that made me happy.  We had lunch at Artcaffe which is a really cute restaurant with great ambiance.  The mall was definitely popping on a Sunday.  You can see there’s a lot more integration here between expats and locals since there’s a much bigger middle class in Nairobi.  That was really nice to see.

The traffic is definitely way worse in Nairobi than it is in Dar.  Since it’s bigger and the neighborhoods are a bit more spread out, it can take a while to go between them.  There aren’t really that many traffic lights to help direct traffic so everyone just crowds together to fight through.  If I were to compare Nairobi and Dar, it would be like comparing New York City to San Diego.  Fast paced city life vs sleepy beach town.  Very different, but both have their good and bad points!  The job opportunities are definitely better in Nairobi but I think Mike and I prefer the lifestyle of Dar for a change from NYC.  I had some interviews in Nairobi set up so we shall see what happens…

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