Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I'm sitting here remembering my day and eating pasta for about the 89th meal in a row. Ok, not really since I've only been out of the country for 12 days but it sure feels like it. It doesn't help that the one meal I ate at a restaurant since coming to Kenya was called "Trattoria" and guess what they served??? That's right: pasta. However, clever me got my wheat, tomato sauce, and meat in a different combo. Uh huh, you guessed it-- pizza. Way to think outside the box JGG!

Sarah, Phillip and I took a trip to Nairobi today and it was just the holiday we needed. It was Heroes' Day today in Kenya so that means we all rounded at the hospital and then hit the Toyota to the big city. Here's where it gets interesting: our tunes selection for the ENTIRE day? Gospel music by Dolly Parton. On repeat. It gets better. There were several duets with.... wait for it...: The Partrige Family. O...M...G...

First stop was the Orphaned Elephant Park where we saw baby elephants get fed with massive milk bottles (that's right, Carnation Goodstart SMA formula for these guys!!), followed by a little watertub time, then some leaves and tree branch fighting, followed by frolicking in the mud hole. Gotta say, the whole thing was pretty damn adorable. Oh, and on the way out, we saw a few orphaned warthogs as well. Pumba is much cuter in The Lion King than in real life.

Next up: Trattoria in Nairobi (not my idea, I swear.) However, all was not lost on my cultural adventure because our driver actually had never had pizza before-- enter looks of shock and horror from my two VERY American lunch companions. We fixed that situation right quick! Also, apparently high society members of the government frequent this place as well because there were two Kenyan Parliament members at the table next to us. I was going to ask them how they felt about the recent strike of Doctors at the National Hospital in Nairobi who are demanding a 600% pay increase or they will quit in two weeks. Decided against it, however, since I probably would demand a pay increase too and didn't want to betray my breathren no matter how ridiculous I think it sounds. I mean, I know you are supposed to start high in negotiations, but....

After the almost 2 hours it took us to have lunch, we went to City Market for some shopping (this was short-lived) and then headed over to the Giraffe Park where we got to feed giraffes up in a little tree-house portico. Who knew giraffes had such long tongues?? Also, giraffe saliva is sticky. Eww. Turns out that elephants are quite affectionate by nature and love to be petted and rubbed. Giraffes, not so much. It was great fun and probably the only time I will ever be within inches to a giraffe's face.

From there we headed over to the Verandah, a restaurant nearby that serves Tusker beer, which all three of us wanted to try before leaving since it's the most famous of the Kenyan beers. And why not celebrate the Heroes of the day? After we were nice and liquored up, it was time to shop at the Verandah's super expensive stores. Sarah bought a truck load, Phillip got nothing (typical) and I got two paintings framed in tinfoil (I'm not kidding, it looks like the stuff my grandma used to wash out and save on the kitchen counter to re-use.) Their saving grace is that the paintings were done by homeless teenage boys who joined the project to give them a way to make money instead of getting involved in gangs and crime. How can you say no to THAT!? Also, got a pretty scarf (which was probably made in India) and a necklace. Not too shabby.

Overall, a pretty great holiday. I really got a chance to see Nairobi in the daylight and spend a little time there which I'd been hoping to do before I left. And I'm actually not dreading going to work tomorrow. Now, since it did such magic today, I wonder if Phil the driver will let me borrow that CD for the plane ride home ;)

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