Thursday, May 20, 2010

oh yeah, this is a travel blog.

This Monday I returned from a ten day trip to Egypt and Kenya. I spent eight day in Kenya and two days in Egypt. Although I had been to Egypt for a few weeks before I considered my visit to Kenya as my first real time experiencing African culture and life.

The idea to go to Kenya came up a month or so ago in a discussion with my good friend Nadiya. We had both been independently toying with the idea of going but hadn't given it serious consideration. Once we found our that we both wanted to go, the plan was on. We started figuring out dates and places we wanted to visit. Our initial idea had been to spend about 17 days going through Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar. But both of us realized that wouldn't be do-able with our work schedules and for a moment we thought we would have to call the whole trip off.

After I came back from London, I was talking to my friend Rebecca from law school and found out that she was actually working at the UN in Nairobi. And just like that, our plan was back on! Nadiya and I booked our tickets to go to Kenya the following week!

I love to be spontaneous and do things last minute but if you are planning a trip to Africa, you may want to plan just a little more in advance! For one, we realized that we would need to get a yellow fever vaccine, which took 8 days to be effective. Oops. We also needed to get some other shots and get a hold of malaria pills, bug sprays, etc.

Luckily for us, Rebecca was a great help and saved us a lot of time researching what to do in Kenya and what things to be prepared for. Safety is a huge issue in Kenya and if it hadn't been for Rebecca's many reminders about hijackings and kidnappings in the country, we may not have been as cautious as we were.

So on Wednesday May 6th I boarded the plane for Cairo. Nadiya and I thought it would be fun to travel together so I met her in Cairo so we could take the flight to Nairobi together.

I arrived in Cairo in the middle of the night and Nadiya was there waiting at the airport. I wanted to jump up and down, I was so excited to see her after so long! We took the taxi to her place and stayed up talking until six or seven am. Poor Nadiya had to go into work and I proceeded to sleep until noon. When I woke up I was very hungry and realized that I knew nothing about the neighborhood I was in! Nadiya lives in what is like the suburbs of Cairo and I had no idea where to go for food! I looked around for a phone to call Nadiya at work but there was none. Oh well, I thought. How hard can it be to walk outside and get some food?

After four hours in the sweltering Cairo sun, and two hours of wandering around lost (I am pretty sure I could get lost in an empty box.) I finally found my way back to Nadiya's apartment. I had a pida and 1 litre of Diet Coke to show for my efforts. I promptly fell asleep after my adventure and woke up periodically to take a swig of coke and eat some bread.

Nadiya came home soon after and we laughed about the day. She had been trying to call all day but someone had unplugged her land line! We ordered in some food and started her packing for our big adventure. Tomorrow I'll continue with stories about our first day in Kenya!

(Disclaimer: I saw no pyramids on this trip. That is just a google image result for Cairo. :) )

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