Travel Journal

Kenya – How to do Kenya in two days

(Thursday 13 January 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 148-9 – 12/30-31/10
We were finally leaving Moyale! We got to the bus early and loaded our backpacks on the top of the bus where they were securely lashed down. The bus loaded up and the only problem was the lady sitting next to Julie had a toddler sharing the mom’s seat and didn’t believe in putting bags on the roof so her things, including the child, were encroaching on Julie’s seat. A quick change had me sitting next to her where I wasn’t putting up with that. Twenty feet down the road the bus stopped to pick up additional passengers on the already full bus. There were ten people then standing in the aisle along with other people’s baggage and they were going the full twenty-four hour ride.
The first thirteen hours were on unpaved road which the driver went as fast as it was paved. Tulin showed me the bruises she got from the ride and they were bad. My seat companion had managed to stuff her oversized bag unbeknownst to me under my seat during a bathroom break and there was a continual pushing match between the person behind me pushing the bag forward and I pushing it back think it was theirs. When we finally hit the tarmac road the whole bus cheered because they could now sleep the final leg of the trip. I tried to sleep but the seats were so cramped that my knees started acting up like they did before in Brazil. It may be tendonitis or lack of circulation but if I don’t rub them every ten minutes they get extremely painful aches. Julie switched seats with me but the spillage from the aisle didn’t afford any extra room so I had to stay awake the entire trip.
This ride now ranks as the worst bus ride of my life. It joins the train ride in India and the airplane ride where we lost the engine and had to make an emergency landing. Ahh, good times!
We got into Nairobi ahead of schedule though and were let off the bus at 4:30 in the morning in the dark and in a not so safe area of town on a side street rather than a bus station. We debated staying put until light and then catching a bus to the city center or catching a cab then. We decided on the later and after some negotiations with the driver, went to the Hilton in the city center. We checked the price and as expected, it was too much at $285, so we just loitered around the lobby till sunrise. We checked several other hotels in the area but didn’t care for any. Tulin wanted to check a backpacker place in the suburbs so we caught a cheap minibus that had the place on its route.
The place was good for getting tours organized and speaking to other travelers, but was more expensive than I thought and there were no double rooms available. We took dorm beds for the night but it was just the three of us sharing a 6 bed room. There was a dental clinic next door but it was closed for New Years so the clerk said I should go to the hospital to get the teeth fixed. I was dubious that a hospital would have a dentist on staff but went immediately there by taxi before even taking a bath but, as I feared, there was no one there who could help me; and seeing another dentist closed for the holiday, I resigned myself that the tooth would have to wait.
We made plans to venture into Tanzania the next day so we did some shopping and caught up a bit on the internet although the connections are still slow and expensive while Tulin got her safari organized for the next day. Walking around the suburbs felt safe but one in five businesses I saw were for security. Our hostel had high fences and a guard so perhaps it’s not as safe here as I first thought.
Since it was New Year’s Eve, the hostel had organized a trip out to the local clubs and dropped the drink prices at the bar. While we did not go out, we did salute the New Year with a libation or two before going to bed.


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