17 April 2009

Some Catch-up (List Form)

  • Writing from Nairobi.  Arrived at 10:30 via train from Mombasa.  We departed last night at 7pm.  For about $40 you can take an overnight train in either direction with a bed, bedding, dinner and breakfast.  It was worth every dollar.  The walkway is extremely narrow (the width of my shoulders) and makes for an interesting battle of ground when faced with a person in your path.  The windows slid down so I could stick my head out like a dog and enjoy the breeze.  I got a solid six hours of uninterrupted sleep but woke at the break of dawn.  The nice thing about a train is it is a place to sleep and that you can walk around.  The fun part is traveling longer distances as your body is thrown from side to side against the windows and doors.  I imagined it to be a fun house where I had to race from one point to the next.  This made the passageway from one car to another (where it seems to be held together by accordion paper) a treat.  I saw the sun rise over the hills as we climbed up to Nairobi and took in the wild zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, and impalas.  And now I am here, at Racecourse, hanging out before our retreat.
  • Due to a conflict, we were unable to go to the Aberdares.  That meant we were forced to stay in a nice hotel in Mombasa.  Michael and I wandered about the city more. 
  • I did a solo trip one day to get into the heart of old town.  I find it more rewarding to forge a path that is unplanned.  I wandered through alleys and took the time to soak in what I would consider to be the real Mombasa.  The tourist spots are nice, but I felt like I was missing something after our first leg in the city.  Walking about gave me a better sense of daily life.  In particular, daily Muslim life.  I walked for a few hours and then walked into a place for lunch that looked to be crowded with natives.  My choice turned out to be great for my stomach and my wallet.  I had fresh fried fish and chapatti for $4.
  • I was introduced to shwarma by Michael, I am hooked.  We found a great place that makes it and frequented it during our stay.
  • Castle Royal hotel has great service, wonderful rooms, air conditioning, a big breakfast and SuperSport 3 (explained next).  All for a great price.
  • SuperSport 3 was on the tv in my room.  That meant the ability to watch my Chelsea blues take down Liverpool.  I also got to see Barca, Man U and Arsenal win their matches.  I will have to watch the UEFA semis with Neto at the Imax in Malava.  Soccer is now one of my favorite sports and my allegiance lies with Chelsea (and USA in next year’s world cup which I guarantee to be a quarters showing).
  • The coast was a perfect vacation, but I am ready to get home to Malava.  I also got my passport stamped to help prove my residency for the remainder of my time in Kenya. 
  • Our retreat is this weekend.  It will be nice to have a real period for reflection. 
  • Save a motorcycle, I have taken every form of transportation available in this country.
  • 3G internet is amazingly fast compared to what I am used to in Malava.  I do not even know what I will do when I return to the states and have super-speed internet and not worry about MB usage.
  • Went to a crocodile farm in Nayali yesterday.  They farm the crocs for food and skin products to be made in Italy.  The guide told us that there were 10,000 crocs at the farm.  By the way, they come from the Nile River and get up towards 5m long.  We then got the chance to see some of the babies (pictured in the post below pictures of me are not included because Sue took them on her camera).  Afterword, we saw some snakes and spiders.  The guide offered to see the python and I jumped at the chance.  You can see my doing my best Britney Spears impression amongst the pictures.  Then we finished up eating crocodile.  Tastes like a lobster/chicken blend.
  • The stars last night were like nothing else.  I am sure that there was more white than black in the sky.
  • Found blue cheese and brie to be eaten with Carr crackers and loved every bite of them.