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Things I'll Miss

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As I pack up ready to leave Nairobi, these are the things I'll remember fondly

  1. "How are you?" - it only takes a few seconds, but how much nicer to preface each encounter with a friend or stranger with a short enquiry into their wellbeing or news
  2. Monkeys - they may have nicked bananas and bread from my kitchen, terrorised my cat and genally caused mayhem, but having monkeys in your garden is pretty cool
  3. Stars - the night sky is completely different here, with barely a spot of darkness between the fine mist of white dots and bright galactic smears
  4. Tea - from black, sugar-loaded brews favoured by govt officials in Khartoum to milky, sugar-loaded mugs made by Kenyan farmers, African hospitality can't be beaten
  5. Jacarandas - most African cities are a bit of a mess, frankly. They are difficult to love. Until the Jacarandas blossom, turning grubby streets into glamorous, purple-edged boulevards
  6. Safaris - Africa is big. Very big. But getting from A to B can be fun if you are not in hurry and prepared to turn up the music and soak up the epic scenery along a roadtrip
  7. Markets - want a 1940s Bakelite telephone, tomatoes, head of baby crocodile turned into an ashtray, Nottingham Forest 1992 away strip, cheap Chinese radio? You'll find them all here
  8. Cousins - my taxi driver's "cousins" have helped me move house, eased process of gaining  a work permit, tracked down Obama relatives, confidential documents and much, much more
  9. Goats - surprisingly tasty if you can persuade the chef to serve it a little pink. Livers, fried up with a bit of onion and green pepper, should be a delicacy anywhere in the world
  10. Matatus - or whatever else they may be called might infuriate me when I'm driving, but these minibus taxis trailing thumping tunes and acrid fumes are always filled with life


Baba Mzungu | July 27, 2009 3:24 PM | Reply


You have made me homesick for Kenya, and I don't even live there.

I agree with everything you say, but I would add a couple that I mmiss:

"Very OK" and

"Sorry" every time you have any sort of mishap, even when it is totally your fault.

Good luck for the future, wherever you end up. I'll miss your writings about Kenya.

chris | July 28, 2009 9:46 AM | Reply

hi it sounds so amazing,
i am going africa in a few weeks for a year to travel the country cant wait il be doing a full circle of it from moroco down to capetown and then up to cairo, youve just made me want to go even more

all the best chris

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