Departure point: Sofia, Bulgaria, Europe
Destination: Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
Let the adventure begin!
There are several obstacles we have to overcome to achieve our ambitious goal of passing through Europe- Asia- Africa within a day. Let’s see how this day will go.
The morning we got in the taxi and after a check we established that we’d brought the wrong passports. We fixed the issue immediately without missing the bus for Istanbul. Other forgotten things- the raincoats and much later we found that the small camera won’t visit Africa this time. We took our chances and didn’t go back to get those two things. As always, the bus to Istanbul had impeccable service and 2 wretched hours and a half on the border. The seats were wide but they couldn’t compensate for our arrival at 19:00.
From there we launched ourselves towards the other end of the Esenler bus station where without a language but with determination we got to the right bus. The traffic is excruciating and we traveled for 1 hour and a half to the crucial Samandra bus station which is the link to the free buses for Sabiha Gokcen Airport. We crossed the Bosphorus and now we’re in Asia.
We waited for 50 min. all the while tortured by the smell of doner kebab we couldn’t eat, which filled the waiting room. Eventually we got on the bus and kept our fingers crossed to reach the airport within 30 min. We succeeded.
We got on the plane to Sharjah, UAE without a hitch. Sharjah is our stopover connection to Nairobi. Let’s go discuss the plane of Аir Аrabia, the local low cost airline. While we were wondering how we were to survive the crying of several babies and the narrow seats, we learned that the flight will be only 4 hours long. Come on, take into account the time zones! In the comfort of the plane I and the baby next to me took turns drooping on each other’s shoulders.
The first time we wanted to take our winter coats off was when we landed. It’s 16°C at 6:30 in the morning in Sharjah and most of the passengers wore flip-flops. But what do they know, we come from -10°C. We had read all kinds of awful things about tis airport but we’ve met dumber staff in Europe. We had a place to wait and it wasn’t full of workers of Indo-whatnot or other stereotypical bad name invented to judge people’s origin. Those reviews must’ve been written by people who have never been at Terminal 1 or even 2 in Sofia or airports in development like the one in Kutaisi.
We waited for about 2 and a half hours in a comfortable Costa café at the airport in Sharjah. The ladies who announced the flights in English had delightfully rich voices. Here is what the most joyful one sounded like… sadly something happened to the phone in Africa and we lost a certain amount of material.
And the time came, we are flying towards Nairobi.
Air Arabia showed us that the European low cost airlines have a lot of catching up to do. We were offered warm and tasty meals at inexpensive prices. You don’t bump your legs in the seats in front of you. What more can a passenger ask for?
We landed successfully in Nairobi. Within minutes we have filled the documents for a visa, left fingerprints, paid 50$ per person (the bank notes shouldn’t be older than 5 years) and we enter Kenya.
We took an official taxi and 20 min later we were at the hotel.
We refreshed ourselves quickly, changed to shorts and flip-flops and went out to explore the city. We felt tired after crossing 3 continents within 24 hours and decided on a short but effective route through the city center.
We headed towards the market but decided against entering it because of its appearance and smell. We were attacked several times by benevolent safari tour operators but the answer that we’ve already arranged ours crushed them. We went to see the mosque next to the market but almost everyone on our way there asked us for money or food.
You have to be careful with the camera in hand. The poles on the sides of the road are not forgiving…
We decided to move to the more crowded part of the center. There you can see the municipality and a very tall building, a congress center.
|Christmas is approaching|
When we entered the congress center we were asked by the guards submit our luggage for inspection. At first it was strange, but then we got used to this practice.
The yard was interesting – there were alleys, statues, fountains and Kenyans, excited by the presence of foreigners (you get a whole photo session if you ask for a photo).
You could go to the rooftop to see the whole city. Enough said, here is the view…
It was Sunday and we stumbled upon the special Maasai Market, but the prices were just as special. The amazing vending skills of the Kenyans clashed with our bargaining skills.
The result – funny prices and we bought nothing. Nace succeeded in haggling with a street vendor for a safari hat the next day.
We noticed a lot of people and loud music on one street and we went to see what the ruckus was about. DJs were playing music and the teenagers were trying to get to the front. It wasn’t our cup of tea so we sat at the bar on the other side of the street of our hotel. It had local live music, drank beer and ate some grilled meat with the locals. Slowly, we headed for the beds because a variety of African animals were waiting for us to shoot them with the camera…
So, Nairobi had its fair share of spookiness but in general, we loved it. Some people say it’s super dangerous to go there, but we suggest you go and see for yourselves if it’s really that scary or the regular precautions would work and introduce you nicely to the Kenyan capital. Because in the case of Nairobi, you shouldn’t judge it by the cover.
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