This morning I took a matatu into town, where I was planning to go up the Kenyatta International Conference Centre to take photos from the twenty-eighth floor, but when I got there the lift was broken, so I went down to the Railway Museum which is reasonably close. Before I went to the museum I went into the station and found out prices for trains to Kisumu, as I think I’ll go to Uganda via that town.
The Railway Museum is quite small, but they have about ten or so steam engines in the yard. I was looking into the cabs, wondering if I could get away with climbing inside, when the woman from the office came out and told me I could. In a kind of tone of voice which implied I must climb on them. And then she waited to make sure I did. Which is a change from most museums back home.
After I’d spent a good while at the museum I went back to the KICC and found that they’d got one of the four lifts working, so I was able to go up to the top and take photos. The lift was interesting; when it stopped at a floor it would stop, jerk three times, and then open the doors while still a foot too low, and slowing rise up to the right(ish) level. And I don’t even like lifts when they work properly.
The view from the top is amazing, but I’m not going to post one of those pictures here because I’m going to wait until I’ve put the panoramas together – which show the whole of Nairobi, and the surrounding grasslands, and you can even see Mount Kenya if you look very carefully. So I’ve give you a photo of matatus in a jam on Haile Selassie Avenue instead, which I took from the bridge above it.
The most amazing thing about this morning was that, even though I spent over three hours wandering around the centre of Nairobi with my camera, there was only one person who tried to hassle me, while when I lived here I hated coming into Nairobi because there was always a horde of street children trying to sell me safaris, or a good time, or just trying to scam me out of my money.
The guy today came up to me and said ‘Jambo, how are you?’ and I replied ‘fiti’ which is Sheng (the local slang language) for ‘fine’, at which point he said ‘Oh’ and walked off looking disappointed as he realised he wouldn’t be able to scam me.