Monday, 26 September 2011

Jambo Nairobi

When you get used to a certain life style and people at a place, then coming to a new land is an eye opener. Although you would have Googled & You Tubed about it in great detail, but you are still awed and learning at each step. Nairobi is a melting pot of cultures. First thing that strikes you is that people are diverse – it is not one set of people that you come across. At each of the malls/get together places, you see a mingling of races. One of the main reasons why we put our son to a kindergarten at 20 months is for him to get this essence of diversity. He may not have this experience ever in his lifetime. When starting from India, I was a little apprehensive that Adi has seen only “brown” faces in his life time. Will he find Nairobi people to be different? But then I had forgotten one of the basic lessons of life. It is the adults who have tough time battling with prejudices and adapting. It is plain cake walk for children. The younger they are - the better. Adi did not even blink an eye lid – he was happy to be playing with anybody who gave him attention.

Karibu at the airport was in typical third world style. We were quite unprepared for it, since (thankfully!) we were spared of pay offs at airports so far. At the immigration counter, when the fee was paid, we paid in currency of higher denomination (since we did not have change). Instead of giving us the change back, we were told that since we have arrived so early in the morning, there is no change. So all we could say was “Sure no problem. Keep the change.” Jambo Nairobi!

Next thing to hit us was the experience on roads and traffic. After taking a flight from Mumbai at 3.30 AM for 5 hours plus additional airport hours at both ends, we were dead tired and carrying a hungry 18 months baby with us. Our thoughts were of the hotel with breakfast and cozy bed. But reaching hotel turned out to be tough – left us wondering what business do so many people have on Sunday early morning. Back to back traffic – that’s a great teacher – constantly reminding us of the virtues of patience and time management. I would think that mobile companies would be gaining a lot from these back to back traffic – what better time to catch up with customers, colleagues and family alike! Traffic flow at peak hours was one of the major deciding factors on the area we choose to live. Mombasa Road (that’s where Aamir’s customer office is) to Kileleshwa (where we stay) is still a lot of traffic, but the best that can be done given the constraint of office location.

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