I can't believe it's been a year since my last trip! I'm very excited to be back in Kenya. I feel much more comfortable here the second time, and I know how to get around and what to expect, which is great.
The trip to Kenya was very long and a bit stressful, but once I arrived at the Nairobi airport, got my phone working, and bought my plane tickets to Kisumu, I felt much better. The guy sitting next to me on the flight to Dubai was very talkative, and it turns out he runs a jewelry-making business in Jaipur, India. He was a Texan guy who had been living in India for at least 10 years, and was married to and Indian woman, yet he still referred to Jaipur as “a dump,” which I found interesting. I guess his business is there because that region is known for stone cutting. Still, one would think that since he now calls Jaipur his home, he might have a bit more respect for the place. Oh well.
The Dubai airport was a very cosmopolitan place. More duty-free shops than I've ever seen in one place plus an equal number of jewelry shops selling gold jewelry. I couldn't see much of the city from the plane, due to the haze, but I could just make out the outline of that really tall building, which (of course) I can't remember the name of. Side Note: If anyone is considering flying Emirates, do it! They have the best movie selection of any airline I have been on. Anyway, after Dubai, it was onward to Nairobi, just a short 5 hours. I managed to get a new SIM card, buy plane tickets, and get a cab to my guest house, so things went very smoothly, and there was even very little traffic on the way back into the city centre, which was so lucky. The roundabouts are what really cause trouble, especially during rush hour. There is traffic at all hours of the day, but it is much worse during rush hour times. Most of the roundabouts are controlled by police officers, but because they do not communicate with one another, the traffic situation is probably made worse due to the fact that they are there.
By the time I arrived at my guest house, it was after 4 pm. I was so happy to take a shower! I settled in for a little while, then arranged to meet up with my friend Tosh, who I met in Ghana last summer when I was at Maker Faire. He lives in Nairobi, and works for a program called Nairobits, which teaches ICT and design skills to young people in Kibera (one of the largest slums in Africa). He is a freelance print and web designer as well, so he does plenty of that on the side. We got pizza and hung out for a while – it was really nice to see a familiar face after such a long trip.