Visit the Official WinCatherine Website

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Braving the Streets of Nairobi!

Lesson for Friday: I am not the only one here that has no idea how to find an address in Nairobi; Taxi drivers have NO clue either!

As good as Thursday was, that is how frustrating Friday was! It started when the hotel called me at 7:30am to discuss a billing issue from the night I arrived! I was not ready to get up yet! Then, my driver/companion Anthony had to bail out on me because he was called in to work. I was therefore left out on my own to brave Nairobi! Here you negotiate your cab fare before you go and you do not have to tip because the driver basically sets his own fare. The driver they brought to me tried to tell me the fare was 100 ksh higher than what I had already been quoted by the hotel as the proper fare to the town center. After we finally figured out that we were talking about two different places (town center and center of Nairobi are evidently two different places!) off we went. Well, had there not been Nairobi traffic, we probably would have gotten to our destination in less than ten minutes, however, with the traffic it was a solid 30 minutes! My first stop was to one of the production companies I have been in touch with. Once the driver finally found the place, we entered through the electronic gate into a beautiful garden type setting with a lovely house/office. The people at this place were totally awesome and they had a house full of pets as well: 3 dogs and 5 cats of which one dog and one cat were both missing an eye each! I hear there were also three children around although I only saw one adorable little girl!

My driver said that an hour wait time was included in my fare of 700 ksh and that for an additional 400 he would take me to my next appt so I let him. Mistake number one was getting in his cab in the first place after the initial fare disagreement; my second mistake was letting him take me to the next appt after not being able to find the first! (I was actually the one in the back seat telling HIM to keep going we hadn’t gone far enough yet!) Stop number two should have only been about a 5 minute drive without traffic, a 15 minute drive with traffic but with this driver it was a 30 minute ride AND after calling the man I had the appt with 6 times, he finally sent someone over to meet us at a petro station so we could follow him to the office!!!!!!!!!! It was at that point that I just told him I would find my own cab back after my meeting. I didn’t care if I had to walk to my meeting after but I was not getting back in HIS cab! Lol

I finished my second appt and walked over to yet another Nakumatt and got a cab there. I finished my last appt and got another cab back to the hotel at about 6:30 and was completely exhausted. At this point, my only option for dinner was the hotel or yet another cab to eat somewhere else. They tell you it is not safe to walk around at night and I was certainly not getting into another cab so I ate in the hotel restaurant. I won’t bore you with the details of the meal itself but suffice it to say that the experience took an hour and a half and I ended up having a pizza!

On a positive note, my meetings all went well; I got the information I needed from each company and have been able to narrow down my choices a bit. I learned a lot about taxis and I was able to chat online with the kids before going to sleep.

Here are some views from my room looking out over part of Nairobi.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!