We had numerous adventures around Nairobi over the last week. Even though the crime rate is higher here than Machakos I actually felt more at home here. Perhaps it is because I am indeed a city girl after living and loving Chicago life for the past 7 years. Added precautions were needed but we managed to get around a ton and see most of the city.
On Sunday (our day off) after church at Nairobi Baptist (a very Western style mega church here that just happened to be a 2 minute walk from our guest house, very interesting) we went to another mall-ish place called the Junction. This place was very high end (read here we could not afford ANYTHING) so we mostly just looked around and talked with locals. We did treat ourselves to our long awaited anniversary meal out (thank JimRho for the treat). We had lunch at another Java House (mostly because I just had to have an educated opinion on the place so many people had recommended to us). My veggie burger was indeed yummy! Jason enjoyed a beef burrito and Anni gave 2 enthusiastic thumbs up for her chicken and fries. After trying the fries and ketchup (real Heinz:) she started yelling “asante(thank you)!” to every server that walked by. They loved it and would tickle her about every time they passed our table, in general people are very touchy-feely here with kids.After lunch we hopped a Citi Hoppa (bus) and headed back to Ya-Ya Center to see the Maasai Market. It was an open air air market set up in the parking lot with tons of craftsmen selling bowls, kangas, carvings, jewelry, and a ton of other African artifacts. We used the opportunity to practice our Kiswahili and bargain for a few things for our house. I talked with a woman named Ruth who happened to be from Machakos and after I told her I had been there for 3 weeks she was so happy to talk to me about her home. I brought a carved sugar bowl from her and she was very kind to let me fumble through all my phrases while she responded and corrected me. As we were leaving she held my hand and thanked me and gave Annikah a smaller bowl and spoon set that Anni had been playing with as a gift. It was so sweet of her and for me it was a reminder that learning this language; however tedious and difficult it may be at times, is not only important but it is necessary for me to connect and build relationships here. We also bargained for a handmade doll for Anni’s b-day coming up and a few other small things (we already think we are overweight for luggage on the plane- yikes!).
I; being the generous, kind, and fabulous wife that I am suggested that Jason go while I stayed home with Annikah. I knew he really wanted to see the new Batman movie: Dark Night (because much of it was filmed in Chicago) and that this would be his last chance for a while. Annikah and I enjoyed a fun afternoon of girl time and wondering around in the Nakumat (AKA Kenyan Walmart) and playing outside before having dinner at the guest house. I put her to bed a bit late and then read and waited for Jason to return. He got home later than I expected but had an interesting story to tell of the night at the movie- read his account here.
We also joined Christy, Darnell, and the boys on Sunday afternoon for playtime at a downtown park. It was packed with kids and families and the little Mzungu kids got quite the attention. The raisins I had brought as a snack were quickly devoured by Anni, Esa, Jonas, and the small fan club of kids that surrounded our kiddos. Darnell and Jason played Frisbee and were immediately hounded by about 20 interested onlookers. We often feel like zoo animals here, like everything we do is bizarre, foreign, and somehow interesting. With the men folk occupied Christy and I decided to get the kids some ice cream from a push cart vendor that was in the park. I went over and paid 50 Ksh (about 90 cents) for a small ice cream. Later I found out that I was indeed bamboozled (thanks Meghan) as locals only pay 10 Ksh for the same ice cream. Now, I know you bargain for stuff at the market but who knew even the price of ice cream is debatable!! I should have known better as we have to argue every time we get on public transport as they always want to charge us double. Annikah did not mind the high cost of the icy, sugary treat and gobbled it up quickly making a mess. That is what kids and ice cream is all about!
This morning we were taken over to some offices to meet some of the folks that will help us while we are here in Eastern Africa (visas, money transfers, flights, etc). They hosted us for a tea time and were totally welcoming and very kind. Annikah mostly LOVED the dog named Samson that ran around the compound and the receptionist that gave her candy. We had some awesome adventures around Nairobi, we dig this city!