The Adventures I Almost Forgot

I Dream of Africa

I crouched beneath the spangly shadow cast by an acacia tree. The sky was a midnight blue. The full moon peeked in and out as wispy clouds feathered on… and bathed an endless land in its milky glow. In the distance a deep chant matched the dance of the moon. It beckoned. The chant got louder and louder, the clouds shifted faster and faster. My world spun. A brilliant blue-white flash of light in the sky broke the rhythm and i woke up. Then i knew. I was going to Africa

And so it was that i arrived in Nairobi. The how of it is actually quite a story. My first plan had been to go to Turkey. My visa application was cruelly rejected by the embassy. Whoever got rejected a visa to Turkey i thought … quite obviously i did. My second option had been europe. I decided to apply for a Greek Schengen. Rejected again. Lessee .. and the grounds were insufficient documents supporting reason for visit Hello!! for a tourist visa??

When Africa beckoned i promised myself it would be the last time i tried. If i was rejected i would be too crestfallen to ever want to travel again. When later people asked me why it was that Pakistanis didnt travel much i’d let out a large guffaw, i dont think anyone wants them in their country

Meet Martin and Zipporah

I now actually feel quite a pang thinking i should’ve gotten a photo of the two of them.
So i walked out of the Terminal to find a sulking round african face holding a placard with my name on it. I had actually looked through the crowd thrice before i spotted him. “I’ve been waiting a long time” he said, he obviously wasnt pleased about it. He took me to the car and handled my luggage. We were all set to get me transferred to the Beach and Bush… my accommodation. Well i thought, this will be great!

My friend and would be travel buddy had cancelled 2 days before the flight. For a week she called me every day with a new horror story about Nairobi and told me how so and so told her it was too dangersous for a vacation. I was beginning to get sick of her routine. Then she told me, she wasnt going.

As i relaxed into the car, it was midday. I felt a growing sense of ease. This will be a breeze. I saw the tall golden grass whiz by and felt elation as i drank in the african sun. Our initial exchange was about Kenya and Pakistan, statistics, population, industries etc. Every so often Martin would interject and mention Zipporah. Apparently she was his boss and ran the Beach and Bush accommodation. He told me how they had both previously worked for other comapnies and had then decided to set up their own, they were expanding and doing good business. Hmm! How long had they been working? 3 years he said. I was dismayed, had i booked the wrong place, 3 years is really not an awful lot of time as a tour operator. Before i say anything further i must rewind and tell you that i had booked this accommodation through the internet… I booked them for two reasons a) it showed that they were close to town b) it mentioned they were tour operators as well. I thought well, ill be able to sort all my travel plans with them.

I had already booked a Kenya/ Tanzania safari before i left but there was plenty else i wanted to do. I made sure i had 4 days in Nairobi before my safari. That way i would get my visa for tanzania sorted out at the embassy, get my yellow fever shot and see town.

Martin stopped infront of a rusty black gate on Upper Hill. He told me this was their new guest house and it wasnt ready yet. We’re just picking up Zipporah he said, then we’ll be on our way. Oh ok i thought, hoping their older guesthouse wasnt completely run down.A woman with frizzy braided hair and bad teeth opened the gate. I guessed it was Zipporah. She showed me around the house and asked me about my plans.

Well i said i have 4 days in Nairobi and i have 3 errands. I have to buy a celtel phone card. I have to get my yellow fever shot. I have to get to the Tanzanian embassy tomorrow morning and apply for my visa. Besides that the regular tourist sites around Nairobi: The Karen Blixen Museum, the giraffe centre, the elephant orphange. The Aberdares Treetops was also an option i had been considering. No problem she said, “Dont worry about the visa you will get it at the border” she assured me. No point wasting two days at the embassy. I will send the car tomorrow morning and you can do all your other errands. In the meatime i will make enquiries about the Aberdares safari. Great!! It was starting 🙂