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Lazy Saturday

Waiting for a matatu at the side of the road

We didn’t get home last night until after 2am, drunk on Nairobi and jetlag and happiness.

Unsurprising that we slept until almost noon, and I woke up and cooked the last of our 2 eggs. Of course, we hadn’t bought salt, pepper, or ANY other spices so eggs on toast were pretty dry. I also had some super fresh mangoes that Moraa had bought on Wednesday, and I cut those up too.

Food stores were getting shockingly low, and, as a result, by 4pm I felt like I’d not eaten at all today. I felt supremely cranky, and it was time to explore the neighborhood.

According to Google Maps, there was a plaza only a half mile away called “Evergreen Shopping Center” that we decided to walk over and check out.  We’re trying to save a little bit of money, and of course we could have called a cab, but it was nice to be out of the house, walking around, experiencing Nairobi.

We live off of Kiambu Road, which is a bit of a busy street, but thankfully there is enough dirt at the side of the road that walking only feels a bit perilous.

Upon arriving at Evergreen, though, it seemed as though, despite being close by, it wasn’t very useful.

There was a fresh fruit and vegetable stand, a lawyer’s office, and a restaurant that, when we inquired, told us that they were “out of food” for the day. Huh.

We did visit the fruit and vegetable stand and the proprietor, George, actually runs a delivery service of all sorts of things – fruits, veggies, eggs, flowers – for free! Since we have no car, that might actually prove to be REALLY convenient.

But it did also mean that we still had no food, so we took a big matatu bus for 20 shillings to the Ridgeways Mall. There, not only was there a big Nakumatt but a bunch of dinner places that had pizza and chicken and Chinese food and coffee, many of which deliver to the house!

PIZZA INN…your mouth

We also went grocery shopping after eating some very slowly-prepared grilled chicken. I’m still getting used to “Africa Time” – I mean sheesh, it took over 30 minutes to get chicken and chips, but it was delicious and of course Adam was excited that they had at least 4 different kinds of spicy piripiri sauce.

Nakumatt is sort of like WalMart or Target in that it has more than just groceries: household goods, pharmacy items, electronics. And, even though they had a bunch of cheap cellphones, I decided I’d still rather wait a little while to get a proper used iPhone or something. I use my data often enough that I need a phone that can support that.

There’s a strange array of things at NakuMatt too – gold lamé thread tablecloths, but a lack of things like cloth napkins. We also bought cat food, which might be the most disgusting looking/smelling cat food I’ve yet seen.

On the way back to the house, every matatu that passed was absolutely FULL of people. As night was setting in, we started walking the 1.5 miles back to the house. At the intersection with Runda, there were 2 motorcycle boda boda taxis, so we decided to just hop on for 75 cents each.

Taxi home!

One of my absolute favorite things, living in Uganda, was taking boda taxis, the wind whistling through my hair, but I’ll admit I felt a little nervous tonight on the bike. The road was crowded, the bike felt…unstable. I dunno. Maybe I’m just becoming a worry-wart in my old age.

It felt good today to be independent, and useful. It feels strange not to be living by my mental image of the “UN Standard” but I’m sure more officialness will come with time, and honestly, cultural assimilation: living like everyone else in my host country, is one of my joys in ex-pat living.

I’m glad to have another day to (sort of) relax tomorrow. Setting everything up has been taxing, and I haven’t even considered the fact that we arrived a mere 3 days ago.

Maybe it’s time to watch a movie!

Our House

Adam (for scale) and our house!

It’s a very very very fine house!

We’re living in a relatively new development called Fourways Junction, in one of their Lilac Villas.

We have 2 half bathrooms downstairs, a lovely big living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room and …a room we’re using to store cleaning supplies. Oh! And we have a verandah!

Upstairs we’ve got 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, and it’s all furnished by our landlords, who are an incredibly nice couple who live nearby in Ridgeways. In the US, “furnished” I always believed to mean “with furniture” but our landlords here have provided us with a washing machine, all the plates, cups, silverware, pans, spatulas we could ever need. AND a number of handy kitchen appliances in addition to the full complement of furniture.

The compound’s interior

The community itself is still in Phase II, which means that there’s a substantial amount of construction still happening and some elements of the compound that aren’t finished yet, like the shopping mall, the hotel, and the “country club”.  It seems to be moving quickly, though.

The setting in this “northern” area of Nairobi is very tree-filled and, as a result, surprisingly cool, especially during this Kenyan “winter.” It’s about 59 degrees right now in central Nairobi, but feels even chillier here!

My work commute

It takes about 10-15 minutes to drive to the UN compound from home. It goes through a lovely (and very expensive) neighborhood called Runda Estates. My taxi driver, Pius, is gonna be taking me to and from work every day this coming week while we wait for all the documents to buy a car duty-free and find a good used car to buy! It’ll cost about 1000 Kenyan shillings/day (~$11.50). Not ideal, but not terrible!

View Larger Map

Shopping Nearby

We’re close to the Ridgeways Mall (about 1.5 miles) and the Aladdin Restaurant, along with the Ridgeways Guest House. Restaurants, a bar called Scotchies we’re keen to try…a huge grocery store! All relatively close by.

Security

I’m sure our moms want to know that Fourways is a gated compound, with 24 hour security guards all over the place keeping watch. Our neighbors have bikes just out on their front porch, unlocked. So it’s safe, very safe!