Day 44 to 45 - Nairobi...even the tooth fairy gets mugged
Mar 2, 2012
|Saying goodbye to Tom and promising to come back for a visit in a fortnight, we left Naivasha, driving up the steep escarpment behind some very slow trucks towards Nairobi.
Once upon a time my map reading skills were as good as my karaoke singing. Awful. But necessity has honed the map reading (however sadly not the karaoke) and we arrived at our digs in Nairobi, a quite leafy guesthouse and campsite run by an Australia couple, Wildebeest camp.
Briefly throwing up a tent it was more map reading to take us to Gertrude's children's hospital. On second thoughts maybe the map reading could do with some improvement as we ended up on the wrong side of a dual carriageway with oncoming traffic screaming past both sides of Fatboy. We weren't the only ones though - a procession of cars followed huddling behind the safety of Fatboy's chassis. After about 5 kms of this a break appeared in the central reservation so Jason maneuvered Fatboy back onto the right side of the road. Random Nairobi detour but we reached Gertrude's hospital only 10 minutes late. Given the state of traffic in the city this is positively early.
Harry had a midday appointment with a pediatrician and without going into too much detail, it's amazing the things you notice after spending this much time with your children.
While we were waiting in the doctors office, Jason leaned over towards the specimen fridge and asked Harry if he'd like a Fanta. "Only joking. No Fanta in this fridge. Maybe a pickled foreskin?" The joke went over Harry's head and the doctor walked in as Jason and I were stifling laughter.
Armed with some magic cream and a bill for $40 we had to drag Olie out of the waiting room. He was so enjoying playing with the toys, the first toys we'd come across since our time in England, we had to promise KFC for lunch in order for him to part with the mega blocks.
The Junction shopping centre sits incongruously within a stones throw of Kibera slum serving up a large dose of first world consumerism for those who have the means. First stop at the Junction was KFC for the hungry Hornes. I haven't set foot inside a Kids Fattening Centre (as Saba refers to KFC) since circa 1985 but something about the shiny clean counters and incandescent menu board mesmerized me and before I knew it, "Can I please have a large Zinger burger meal" flew out of my mouth. Those stray three kilos that had deserted me in Kigoma were about to reappear in all their spicy, finger lickin, deep fried glory.
Slurping up the last of my watery coke, that familiar post-fast food binge feeling of regret combined with revulsion propelled us out the door and towards the apple store. I couldn't believe their was actually an apple store in Nairobi. Not a single iPad on offer as once a shipment comes in they fly out the door.
Olie's dreams came true at the Junction. A Swiss army knife as promised fell into his nimble hands with a stern warning. Treat it with respect and it will be the most useful tool a boy could have. Misuse it and kwa heri pocketknife until your sixth birthday.
As soon as we returned to Wildebeest camp, Olie was urging me to have a Tusker. The bottle cap opening function had to be tested so I willingly obliged. Deftly he opened both our beers then watched each sip carefully waiting patiently for us to order another one. "Go on then" I agreed and he popped the lid. Before I'd even taken a sip he asked me if I wanted another. I had to draw the line now, remembering the TV commercial of the kids getting beers for their parents from the fridge and the sombre voice warning that this is entirely inappropriate or words to that effect. After thousands of nappy changes and sleep deprivation for the best part of seven years, there had to be some perks of being a parent. Your offspring popping the lid off a cold Tusker had to be one, but the guilt of that advertisement spoiled the moment. Thanks nanny state Australia and your helpful tax payer funded parenting commercials.
Pushing thoughts of questionable parenting out of my mind, we enjoyed a buffet dinner at the camp and got chatting to the owners, Alan and Lynita. Both Aussies, they've lived in Kenya for five years and built the camp up to be an oasis in the middle of the chaos of Nairobi. Over dinner the Spanish inquisition launched into a cross examination of Alan and Lynita with the opening question "Does Santa come to Africa?" Saba had asked Tom the weaver the same question the night we had dinner with him. "Only to the mzungu children" Tom had replied before I had interjected with "you have to believe to receive". "But the children are so poor already" Saba had lamented "couldn't Santa just bring them something little each?"
Next it was the tooth fairy in the witness box with Alan assuming the role of defense lawyer. "Does the tooth fairy come to Kenya?" the public prosecutor asked. Harry had a wobbly tooth and the DPP wanted to know whether her brother would receive the same generous stipend for this tooth as he had for previous teeth. "If the tooth fairy left money in Nairobi it would probably get nicked" Alan told the prosecutor. The city isn't nicknamed Nairobbery for nothing.
The next day was a rest day spent at Wildebeest camp and thankfully Alan and Lynita's four year old son, also called Oliver provided a much needed playmate for the three Hornes. The campsite had a little pond which became the playground of the busy foursome. The pond kitchen produced a four course meal of mud pies served up to the adults on the terrace. Thomasina, the campsite leopard tortoise tried to escape from the clutches of the mud pie crew especially one of the Oliver's (not mentioning which one) who I caught trying to surf the tortoise.
A trip back to the Junction and Plant Yogurt beamed us into it's force field. The futuristic interior of the yogurt space station promised frozen dairy heaven with toppings of fruit and sweets. A self serve set up, I chose vanilla and mango frozen yogurt topped with exotic fruit, penance for my Kids Fattening Centre binge of yesterday. The kids helped themselves to a small serve of frozen yogurt then lashings of skittles, marshmallow, brownies and sprinkles on top. The dietary freedom of youth.
That night Jason and I slept in one of the camps luxury ensuite tents while the kids slept outside in the dome tent. Saba tried her best to convince me the prudent thing to do would be to swap beds with her. I resisted and had a wonderful sleep in crisp linen lulled to sleep by the sound of rain on canvas.