We had a wild and crazy 2 weeks on the edge of the Great Rift Valley in Nairobi, Kenya. And for the first time, we actually got to experience an expat community – so many Americans, and by some miracle they were actually all cool people. One night we went to dinner with 8 strangers who are a hodgepodge little family – they didn’t make sense together but were all-likeable. Like sitcom likeable, where there’s someone for everyone. It was actually like Adrienne and I were in Friends. There was a Ross, a Phoebe, a Monica, and definitely a Joey. [You know who you are]. This has nothing to do with Nairobi, but since ‘TV,’ I always thought of myself as a Zach Morris. Thoughts?
Broadly speaking – life in central Nairobi is more or less like life in dozens of modern international cities around the world, but it has just a bit of Africa sprinkled in. So that means a bit of donkeys, and push carts, and outdoor fruit stands, and crappily-paved roads, and poor kids with no shoes. Generally speaking, the nightlife was pretty awesome and the proximity to wild adventure makes it a great town to be in, with surprises around every corner.
Day 1 – we met up with a guy that we met on Instagram who took us on a wild ride through Nairobi nightlife. First, we headed to the “most dangerous neighborhood” in Nairobi for dinner. Sure, we’re up for it. Eritrean food (similar to Ethiopian) – wow, just so good. In American terms, imagine a huge XL-pizza sized tortilla, with like chilli, queso, chicken tikka masala, cheesy potatoes, and mac salad on top. You wrip off pieces of tortilla then use it to scoop up some goodies. Disclaimer: it’s not tortilla and none of the above things are on it, but you get the picture of deliciousness. Go google for some historical accuracy. You need to try “Shiro.” After dinner, we hit a Country-music bar. What?! Mmkay, this should be interesting. Apparently country music has long roots in Kenya. The main act “Sir Elvis,” who we refer to as the Black Johnny Cash (cause he’s black and sounds like Johnny Cash), probably played the most amazing country music I’ve ever heard live (ok, fine I’ve only been to one Toby Keith concert ever, but still, he’s awesome). The attendees; you’d assume were some expat white trash Texans, wearing cowboy boots and 10 gallon hats, spitting on stuff, but no – local Kenyan businessmen and politicians. To me, country music is kinda made by and for a certain breed, and to see a group of 100 high-class Kenyans listen to a band of 5 other Kenyans singing about running over their dog with their tractor on accident and then driving down the old dirt road to ask Sally for forgiveness for crashing her Chevy when he was driving drunk, because beer, car, girls, tractors, mustangs, sadness, losing stuff, beer, whiskey…was hilarious.
The night was still young, so Ian thought he’d introduce us to Murja and offering only “Want to see something really weird?” as the precursor. If you know us, then you know there’s only one answer to that question: Yes, immediately.
Let’s just dive right into this one; Mujra is a several hundred-year-old tradition in Muslim India. “But Andrew, please tell us more.” Of course, here goes nothing. Mujra, can only be described as the world’s shittest strip club. Now personally, I hate the concept of strip clubs with a passion and I refuse to enter them. Literally 0 interest whatsoever, ask the 12 guys that came to my bachelor party for prood. Ok, so what makes it so shit? 1.) The girls are fully clothed at all times. They’re wearing like the worst dresses you could buy at Dressbarn for a sophomore girl who’s super excited that Timmy Michaels asked her to Senior Prom. Not revealing at all. 2.) There’s no dancing or sexuality, just 10 girls awkward-walking back and forth from the center of the stage to the edge where the guys are lined up like Meercats. It was like watching a Beauty pageant for 6 year olds in Northern Alabama. 3.) All of the girls were clearly imported – Nepalese or something. I’m sure they’re making a ton of money compared to back home, and they’re doing literally nothing to make it, but it felt weird. When not involved in the lazy stage loitering, two girls sat on a bench at the back of the stage just looking sad and disappointed, before they had to get back up into the “action.” “Yeah, us too, and your resting bitch face isn’t making it more fun for anyone.” 4.) These Indian guys are going NUTSSSS throwing money everywhere, and just freaking out over it. “Look Baba, you can see her hair! It is so hair! Oh my Shiva!” They’re showering these women in cash for their sad-prancing awkwardness. Adrienne and I are sitting there just completely dumbfounded, and Ian seemed pretty pleased with shocking us. So naturally, Adrienne pulled out 100 shillings (about $1.05) and joined in making it rain until we literally almost fell asleep from the boredom.
The rest of our Nairobi adventure included petting and playing with Elephants, Ostriches, Giraffes, and some great expat nightlife – hanging with local celebs, and getting to see Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) in concert, standing about 6 inches away from him. My Umi said, “that ish was the illest.”
Read Adrienne’s post to hear about our crazy African adventure day into the bush a few hours outside of Nairobi. That day was everything I wanted from being in Africa.
We closed out our trip with a day at the African Heritage House – one of, or the largest collection of African Artifacts in the world. The founder and owner is somewhat of a legend in the art world; hailing from Colorado, but having lived in Africa for the last 50 odd years – He’s an awesome soul. This place was crazy; hundreds of years of art, furniture, and crafts, from hundreds of different cultures in one house. The owner, Alan Donovan actually had Iman model his jewelry collection, which was her first real modeling gig. Google “Iman,” if you don’t know – one of the most famous super models of all time. He’s lent artifacts to tons of movies including one of the most famous movies about Africa, Out of Africa AND gave Adrienne some 30-year-old African earrings made in a traditional way. I think the house was just added to the list of UNESCO sites, so you know, see it and stuff, it’s great.
Now we’re in Istanbul, people here call me Osama, I’ve eaten no less than 25 Doner Kebabs per day, and we’re going in a hot air balloon in definitely the most insane location I’ve ever seen this week.