Waiting for the Ultimate African Overland trip

Nairobi Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 35 › view all entries

Well, not much to report on my couple of days wandering around Nairobi before the trip. 

I paid out for a few luxuries:  iced coffee and chocolate and crushed peanut ice-cream sundae.  Both so good you just can't help but miss the luxuries of England.  Another one I'm missing is the washing machine.  Drying clothes when you're on the move a lot of the time is next to impossible.  A lot of my clothes now smell damp.  minging.  I washed my trainers because I stepped in some thick mud and then got them covered in the red dust that lines the streets...they were starting to smell.  Well, I made them worse.  Now instead of just generally smelling and being dirty, they're now slightly cleaner and smell of damp in a big way.  The people on the trip are going to love me.

I've decided I love Nairobi.  It reminds me of London.  Even though I'm not that fond of London it's nice to find some familiarities every once in a while.  One thing it's not so good for is con-men.  They got me.  A man approached me asking where I was from and saying he was a teacher.  He was excited when I said I was from England and asked if we could sit down for a coffee because he had many questions about England.  After my experience with the elderly Tanzanian man I thought it would be ok.  Plus, I was told that if a Kenya asks you to join them for coffee or a beer etc. you can expect them to pay because that's just the Kenyan way.  'Awesome, free coffee' I thought.  We visited the nearest coffee house.  People were looking at me strangely but I thought nothing of it, people always look at me strangely, I'm white, I belong in the zoo (at least it feels that way sometimes).  We ordered our drinks and as we waited I also waited in anticipation for his bombardment of questions.  And I waited...and I waited.  They came in dribs and drabs.  'Did this man actually want to know about England?'.  I started thinking 'maybe he wanted me to just tell him a few things' so I started babbling about Nottingham and London, and a bit about my trip around northern England, the credit crunch etc.  He nodded along.  Finally I ran out of things to say and we both fell silent...um.  Then he started telling me about where he came from...'finally he's got something to say' I thought....until he mentioned about Zimbabwe and how he had fled up to Kenya.  I couldn't help but think that was an awfully far way to travel.  He then started explaining how he and his couple of freidns were on their way to Zambia so they could be closer to Zimbabwe.  Again, I couldn't help but think 'well why didn't you just do that in the first place?  Surely that would have made life easier'.  Then we got to the nitty gritty of the hidden agenda.  He started saying how he didn't have a passport so was planning to stowe away to Zanzibar and then overland from there to Zambia via bribes etc. but they didn't have the money to do it.  They needed 140 pounds.  They were asking locals for a donation so I wasn't to worry because his asking me was nothing to do with the colour of my skin...blah blah blah.  I said nothing...so he prompted me and asked me outright for the money.  I kindly responded explaining that I was on a tight budget and didn't have that sort of money.  I didn't want to create a scene in the cafe.  He persisted so I straight away flipped to hard-ass Ang and said 'no, I'm not going to give you any money so you might as well stop asking me'.  We both fell silent again.  The bill came.  I now guessed from our conversation that I was going to pay so I did.  Then he had the cheek to ask for the change!  It was only 40p so I just handed it to him, got up, and left.  As I was walking away from the coffee house I started to get more and more annoyed.  I should have made a fuss, the people in the cafe clearly knew who he was and what he was trying to do.  As I thought this a man came up to me and asked what that guy had said.  I turned around with a face of fury and shouted 'a load of bulls**t that's what'.  He gingerly backed away.  Later that day another 'teacher' came up to me.  "Where are you from?  I'm a teacher"...boy did he wish he hadn't come up to me.  I stopped, looked him in the eye with a wry smile and said "I've already spoken to a 'teacher' and he wanted money, so f**k off".

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