Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 1 - safely settled in

Ok, I made it here without too much bother. My best smile and and friendly disposition once again got me checked in without paying excess baggage. This despite the large suitcase, bike box and box of drawings - all told about 43 kg. The flights were uneventful; JHB SAA international business class lounge continues to be disgrace to SA. It was dark by the time we landed in Nairobi, and it was cloudy so no spectacular Kili sightings - but just because i have nothing else to show, here's a pic of it from an earlier mission:

I was picked up by AKUH's driver and transported to my very humble temporary abode. Its a 3 bedroom house in a secure compound, but very sparse.

I had been told that I'm sharing with one other Hospital employee for now and had secretly hoped for a very hot late 30's Russian lady doctor, who is also into mountain biking and knows all the trails around here.

Of course, it did not work out like that - I am sharing with 2 others; A young DBA named Kunal from India and another older dude named Khan form Pakistan. They are both very kind and friendly and have been feeding me on dahl. My bedroom has 2 beds, a cupboard, a dim exposed globe above and one socket. That's it. No other furniture. I think its only temporary and hopefully I can upgrade shortly. I did not sleep too well - there's a very busy road just outside my window and a tin roof also next to my window which makes an enormous racket when the tropical rain beats down upon it.

This morning I assembled my bike and went for a ride. I had planned to go to Kikuyu, a village West of here, to visit David Kinjah, whom I had met on the Cape Epic 2006, but set off in a NE direction in an attempt to circumnavigate the city rather than get caught up in that heavy crazy traffic. You think Cape Town minibusses are bad? I was on the road only a while, carefully aware of vehicles behind and sticking to the extreme left, when suddenly a Matatu was bearing down on me head on in the wrong lane! Fortunately there was space to take evasive action next to the road. Eventually found a route called red hill road running out of the City on the Northern side heading in a North westerly direction. It took me past some fairly larney estates, but also some really dodgy areas; including an amazing market where you could buy anything including having your teeth sorted out by a street dentist!

Ultimately I ended up about 20 km North of Kikuyu and had to start heading back, which I did via a different route taking me past the Nairobi university campus and some magnificent country estates. Got a bit lost upon entering the city, and GPS battery had died, but finally found the compound.
There's a pizza take away just next to the compound, so after a shower (cold; due to temporary power outage) I wasted no time getting a 4 seasons and a six pack of Tuskers.
This afternoon (after a good nap) I went for a walk in a nearby conservation area, which is quite pretty and has a large indigenous forest. Just a pity there's so much litter. Its a bit weird seeing this forest, having monkeys chattering around, buzzards and condors thermalling overhead, yet the city noise is still right there. Anyway, it has a vast network of great single track and this is certainly where I will spend my morning training sessions!
Today was a public holiday here (Eid) so off to start the new job tomorrow. Will post again tomorrow evening!

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    Managed to get in. Doesn't sound too bad so far. I know all about the matatus - they have a reputation. I wanted to sin off as Arthur Dent but didn't know how to change my profile. Doh!