Friday, August 31, 2012

this is street-side entertainment


As we wait for our bus to fill, we are thoroughly entertained - by street performers doing tricks on the footpath, and two little girls sneaking smiles at us from the seat in front.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

big city livin'

The same day we stumbled across the market, we also visited the Kenyatta International Conference Centre to get a birds eye view of our new home. There's a viewing platform at the top of the building and we spent a good twenty minutes snapping photos and wondering where the strange twilight-zone haze came from. Nairobi can get pretty overcast / smoggy, but it really was a crazy hazy day.

We then discovered an opened door and narrow hallway around the back of the building, climbed up a few flights of stairs and found ourselves standing in the middle of a helipad and on top of the world!

Much like Brisbane, most of our day-to-day life is out in the 'burbs, where the highrises aren't so high, but the traffic is just as bad. But I wonder, does this large African city look like what you imagine Nairobi to be?


Saturday, August 25, 2012

This is Sauti Sol

We saw these guys live at Blankets and Wine and now I can't get this song out of my head!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

language learning

There’s nothing like learning another language to realize how bad you are at English. We're learning just how little grammar we were taught at school. What’s an infinitive? Can someone explain the past perfect tense?

Both English and Swahili are national languages in Kenya. We started Swahili lessons as part of our orientation and have been practicing small phrases on our guards, the bus drivers and colleagues. We’re having trouble figuring out how to say ‘This is my wife’ or ‘This is my husband’ and a few times I’ve proudly introduced Will as my wife. Oops.

We’re hoping to find a tutor and start weekly classes with some Aussie friends soon. Sure, we can get by on other people’s English (and they speak it well!), but making the effort speaks volumes about our interest in this culture and its people.

And to be honest, you feel kinda dumb being the only mono-lingual kid in the room.

swahili words for the day 
Mme – 'husband'
Mke - 'wife'

Monday, August 20, 2012

the markets and the dreams


Quite unplanned, we stumbled into a large tourist craft market in Nairobi on the weekend. The large square plot was full of colour, with each shopkeeper displaying their various goods laid out on the ground before them. We weren’t interested in buying anything, but are always up for snapping some photos.

Before we’d even walked through the front gate, a local guy struck up conversation with us, stuck to us, and started guiding us through the market. We did our best to convince him that we weren’t tourists and didn’t require or particularly want a guide, but he was like glue and eventually led us to his small plot, covered with paintings and woodwork.

When a bunch of his friends crowded in around us, keen to drag us to their own handicrafts, we slipped our camera back into our bag, elbowed our way out of the crowd and went on our merry way.

Our favourite moment was when one shopkeeper delightedly announced ‘Oh I knew you’d come back Sir, I’ve seen you here before!!’ It was our first time to the market, and we obviously hadn’t seen him before, which I kindly informed him. Quick on his feet, his reply came ‘I saw you this morning… in my dreams!


Speaking of dreams, we’ve been having some weird ones. Maybe it’s part of settling into a new routine and a new bed, maybe it’s the effect of mchuzi mix, an MSG product found in a lot of Kenyan food. Either way, the sleep talker has returned.

I woke up one night to find Will half sitting up, with his hand in the air like he was hailing a cab. I asked what he was doing. He said, somewhat unreassuringly, ‘Don’t worry, there’s just a snake in between us.’ I responded quizzically with ‘I don’t see how hailing a cab is going to get rid of the snake’ and we both promptly fell back to sleep.

Thankfully, there was no snake.

swahili word of the day 
nyoka - 'snake'

Thursday, August 9, 2012

week one in Kenya

We made it!

It feels like an entire year has passed since our last post. Those were crazy times, packing up the house, sorting out bank details, seriously downsizing our belongings and finalising power of attorney paperwork - at the departure gate, no less!

We then spent 30 + hours in transit before landing at Jomo Kenyatta Airport and finding ourselves in a new whirlwind of activity. We joined with another seven Australians for our week of orientation - Swahili classes, security briefings, house hunting, safari, health sessions, supermarket visits, public transport runs etc. It was busy and a bit exhausting, but also great fun to spend time with the others and get a glimpse of our next twelve months.

Already, we’ve seen lions in Nairobi National Park, monkeys in our neighbour's garden and Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks in the local supermarket, Nakumatt. We are coming to realize very quickly that Nairobi really does have it all and any preconceived ideas you may have of us living rough in a grass hut are wildly incorrect!

Now the dust has settled and we find ourselves setting up house in a really great apartment in a great part of Nairobi. The apartment came fully furnished and we've spent the last few days hunting down linen and crockery and other bits and bobs to make the place feel more homey.

We have a handful of photos already and are looking forward to sharing tidbits of our life in Nairobi, but we'll say 'kwaheri' for now and leave you with the promise of more in the next few days.

swahili word of the day
kwaheri - 'goodbye'