24 July 2024
Day 1913 December 2019 in Kenya ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

Leaving the Maasai Mara to make our way to Nairobi where we stay for 2 nights. Off again on 15th to Tanzania and Zanzibar where we spend Christmas.

Sad to leave Maasai Mara and sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet Maasai people or explore more of their culture. They seem an extraordinarily people and I get a strange sense of dislocation when I see them loping along the side of the road, in groups or herding their cattle. It’s like they come from a different time and don’t belong to this world. It’s like they were filmed centuries ago and the image is projected onto today. I feel like they don’t see us, at least as we are. I wonder what they think.

The journey back is long and boring. Because the jeep is noisy, it’s hard to have a conversation. Anyway, I’m a bit deaf in one ear and don’t hear very well with the other one so conversations often consist of me saying “what”, “sorry”, “I beg your pardon” or “I didn’t quite catch that”. Often, I smile inanely and nod, pretending to understand. This strategy falls through when someone says “what do you think”

As always, there are lots of motorbikes everywhere. they carry the most amazing loads. The young guys really pimp their bikes and many look fabulous. They are frequently spotlessly clean with the metalwork gleaming.

Another thing I keep seeing are loads of churches, many of them are the weirder Christian sects like pentecostalists. Just as we left the campsite, I noticed a Maasai Christian Centre with some ghastly signboard about jesus, love, sin and blood, or some such nonsense. I hope the proud Maasai culture is not contaminated by the slaver’s religion and its emphasis on shame and sin. OK, rant over.

Torrential downpour for 30mins then bright and sunny again. Worrying about getting sunburnt and skin cancer, as you do.

The last 35km is dire. Roadworks are everywhere, or so it seems. We also climb uphill to about 2300 metres high along a long, slowly inclining road. There are many heavy trucks on the road and they travel very slowly, leading to long tailbacks. Our driver, in the African tradition, overtakes in the oncoming lane, frequently with seconds to spare from being mangled by oncoming traffic. He also seems to have a strong personal relationship with the African gods because he overtakes on blinds bends. I’m hanging onto the seat straining to see around the bend to see if a truck with poor brakes is hurtling down the hill, intent on propelling me into the afterlife. His gods must tell him it’s cool, no traffic, dude. At least that’s what I choose to believe.

Near Nairobi, most of the traffic is leaving the city. We hit a dual carriageway. There are two lanes on each side. Many cars and minibuses are using the 2nd lane of our side of the carriageway as an extension of their side of the road, effectively a 3rd lane.

There is a young woman crossing the road 1 car in front of us. She is halfway across and about to cross our part of the road. She looks towards the oncoming traffic, as appropriate, and starts to cross. Some eejit zooms up the wrong side of the road and sends her flying. It looks awful and the poor woman looks shocked and shaken. The traffic moves on and she is left behind. I wonder how she is and wish her well.

The pollution near Nairobi is truly chronic. Dust and diesel fumes everywhere. I think I lost a layer of my lungs and 6 months of my life. When you’re my age, 6 months is a long time! My upper respiratory system feels very raw.

Arrive in Nairobi and choose a room instead of camping. Noticing a trend here? I have a long hot shower and change my clothes. Aaaah…

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