Arrived in Nairobi following a long boring journey. See previous post, Road to Nairobi, for details.
We were here to pick up another group of travellers, 6 of them, and to say goodbye to 5 of our existing group.group. We spent 2 nights here. Because we arrived late, there was not much chance to do much that evening except to chill. I went to bed early as I was knackered. Slept the sleep of the just until 7am the next morning. I’m sleeping well on this trip; almost as if I had no conscience!
There were activities but I didn’t do any. I just sat on the veranda outside and read, chatted or snoozed. I went to a local shopping centre to get a folding chair for the trip and a bigger water bottle. The place was the same place I went to on my first day on the road. I reflected on how much had happened since then.
I went to the same cafe for a snack and coffee. It was served by the same delightful young smiling man as last time. He didn’t seem to recognise me, though. I suppose all Mzungus look the same to him.
I caught a taxi from Karen Camp. The driver was Amos, a brother of Smiley, who had picked me up from the airport. We had an interesting conversation about the descendents of the original colonisers who still lived in Nairobi. He didn’t seem to like them. He said that they were very arrogant ad didn’t ask for things;they demanded. He also said that could recognise them because they wore shorts and bush hats. I was wearing shorts and a bush hat!
The shopping centre was very jarring with frenetic Christmas noise and totally incongruous black Santas with butt implants jiving to syrupy carols about snow and white Christmases. I wanted to scream and couldn’t wait to get out. Which I did as soon as my meal was finished.
Amos was waiting for me at the taxi rank so I gratefully made a strategic exit from the horrors of Christmas music; at least in my humble opinion.
On the journey back we chatted about religion. He asked me if I Catholic. I replied that I once was but have now renounced it. I asked him what religion he was and he said that he was a Catholic and derived a lot of pleasure from church activities and singing. He played some African religious music and it was very lively. So different from the dreary droning dirges I remember from my childhood. Mind you, I have come to greatly appreciate religious music, especially medieval music. Hildegard von Bingen is a favourite, as is Bach. Several years ago, when I lived in London, I was a member of the London Gay Men’s Chorus. We had two concerts a year and had to learn about 15 songs per concert. We had one highlight piece per concert. One year, it was Spem in Alia, a 40 voice motet and one of my all-time favourite pieces of music. As it turned out, it was too complicated for us so we went back to Plan B, Dies Irae instead. This is a wonderful piece of music and I became involved in learning the Latin words and remembering the tune, I was a lower base so we just rumbled and gravelled away in the background while the tenors got all the best tunes. Anyway, I became so involved in learning the song that I forget to look up the translation of the Latin. When I did, a few years later, I was horrified at the almost psychopathic god they were referring to. What a monster. I was very glad I was shut of all that superstition.
To get back to the point, Amos told me that the catholic church here was integrated with the old traditional African religions. He told me that when he was married, the catholic priest checked if he had completed the traditional rites of his old religion first. If he hadn’t, he told me, the priest would have refused to marry him. I thought this was very interesting. An invitation for me, perhaps, to loosen my rigid thoughts about religion? To change my mind, in light of compelling emerging evidence? Not about the nonexistence of gods but, instead, my implacable hatred of religion. Maybe that has reached its sell-by date.
Didn’t do much the rest of the day but got to meet some of our new joiners. Went to bed early for 8am departure the next morning