England, 1st September 2018
So I just got back from Nairobi on Wednesday evening, after an unexpected turn of the trip.
At breaking dawn on Tuesday, I left Steven’s place and headed to the airport. By 6.45, I was set in the longest queue, half asleep and caffeine-deprived. The queue sheepishly moved in the perfect Kenyan manner with some random queue cutting or moving. 45 minutes passed and finally I reach the check in counter. The lady, in wonderful hair style, smiled sweetly “Madame, please go to counter 4”. Confused? Yes. I marched to counter 4 where there were amount 30ish passengers sitting, standing around not looking very happy. I approached one and asked if this was the queue for flight to London and what’s up here. “Oh we don’t know either, but this is for Amsterdam flight”. More confused? Yes.
So I marched back to counter 20 sweetly demanding an explanation (Kenyan are the most gentle human beings on earth who do not understand or have anger, this you really can’t work up with them). “Madame, the flight is really full. So please go to counter 4 and we will sort out your flight”.
Uh oh, there is 1 direct flight out to London by Kenya Airways a day. Guess who will be here an extra day.
I sat down at the bump area and tried to break the news with Steven and Dave. No luck with the wi-fi. After half an hour, I approached the lady at counter 3, beautiful hair she had, and asked what’s next. she explained the next direct flight to London would be the next day but she’d see if there was a connecting flight earlier. She took my passport and disappeared for a long time. An hour pass, just as I finished the what’s going on conversation with another beautiful hair lady, she came back with good news. I got the receipt of my new flight and off she went, again. By then around 9.30am, I had managed to get through the wi-fi connection with messages of bon voyage, safe flight, see you soon flying in. “I’m still here :D”, I texted hopefully. Another hour pass, my angel lady was still nowhere to be seen. Apparently, the compensation book was full and she needed to go get a new one. I chatted with so many people at the bump area until finally around 11.15, money and hotel voucher handed by another magnificent hair lady, we were off on a bus to the nearly wonderful Summerdale Inn.
“Kenyan men spent most of their money at the pub. Kenyan ladies spent most of their money at the hair salon” – S.T.
“Don’t try to remember a Kenyan lady by her decorated hair style. They are not real and they change weekly”. – D.S.
Food, nap, food, nap. The day was eventful.
While waiting for Dave who was frustrated with Nairobi traffic, I headed to the nearest cafe at one of the ubiquitous gas stations Nairobi. I thought I’d die crushed and juiced trying to cross the road. What a shame to a Vietnamese! After 2 hours, Dave finally arrived and we headed to the East African Flying Club at Wilson Airport for a beer. The traffic was great. Apparently, whenever it looks like it’ll rain, everyone in Nairobi would panic and run like there is a bomb about to explode. Together with the half-constructed road everywhere, this weather panic pushes the already congested traffic to the new level of madness. However, luckily for us foreigner, Kenyan are super chilled while in traffic. They would patiently wait and wait and wait. NO HONKING, at all! If I’m in Vietnam or India or Sri Lanka I would surely go mad in the deafening choir of creative boosted honking sounds. A few days earlier I enjoyed a beer on the balcony of Oakwood Hotel watching the slugging traffic down the road. So peaceful!
2 beers later, I received more compliment on my hair style (I did a half head braid :3) and obtained a new nationality guess (VENEZUELA). By now the traffic has been quiet down and we headed away from my rather dodgy neighborhood to the new posh side of Nairobi, Westlands. More beer, food and shenanigans’ chat before my friends returned me to the hotel, most likely hoping I wouldn’t be bumped again.
At breaking down on Wednesday, I headed to the airport, again. At the first security scanning, I was asked to remove my “lion tooth” necklace I got at the Maasai village for scanning. Kind officer took me to a side.
– Madame, do you have check in luggage?
– No, I only have this small handbag.
– You can’t travel with this. They will arrest you.
– whaaaaa? – I freaked.
– I can check in this bag I think. Is that okay?
– Yes please, put it out of sight and check your bag.
S***, maybe my lion tooth is real. How exciting!
The last 2 hours Nairobi I received lots of “love” from my friend – “I’m expecting you’d be bumped again”, “I can call my KA and police friend to see your case”, “well, tell me when you make to through the gate”.
9.30, at last, I was off the ground heading north-west to London. Alah!