6 April 2013- Nairobi, Kenya
Our last morning in the big smoke. We have been busy so its taken us a few days to finish the blogs and get them posted. We had several reasons to come to Nairobi and most of them we have managed to do.
Working on landy has kept us busy, getting her a bit tidy after the recent dusty and then muddy days, it was time for a service and a full check up and we’ve been told she is in great condition, music to our ears and a testament to Olly for looking after her so well. We also spent two days sorting our Sudanese visas. It involved a lot of running around (well, mostly sitting in traffic which is awful, it takes about an hour to go a km or two!). Using the most recent info we could find (there is no website for Sudanese embassy) we knew we needed a letter of introduction from our respective embassies, some passport photos, and copies of other bits and pieces. We obviously have to go to two embassies so it took a while. On Tuesday after speaking to the mechanic and putting our washing in to be done (clean sheets!!!!) we set off for the Aussie embassy. After much sitting in traffic and getting through security at the Aussie and British embassies (both heavy, esp the British) we finally had the letters in our hands. After more traffic we got to the Sudanese embassy, the woman behind the counter gave us the application form that is in Arabic and English (a first for us, it included a question on your religion and blood type) and then stood up and without a word walked out and locked the door behind her, the security told us she went on lunch and would be back at two! We came back at two and were told “No this wont work, these letters will be rejected”. Although the content of both letters from our embassies was adequate the letters MUST say at the top- Sundanese Embassy, Nairobi or they would not be accepted. The consul himself came out and had a chat with asking us where we live, we answered Australia and he said “Oh, I love Australia I will be happy to give you a visa… when you fix the letter”. So off we went back to the British embassy first, which was closed for the day. So 7 hours from when we started we went back to camp no further ahead, expect knowing what to do the next day. Yesterday we set off in the morning and repeated it all again. Both the Aussie and UK High Commission staff laughed and shook their head when we said what the problem was. They changed the letters with no hassle and we dropped them off with no additional hiccups. She even said we could pick them up that afternoon, so we went back a few hour later and now have Sudanese visas!
One of the main reasons to come here was to hopefully meet up with some others going north to do the next leg of the trip with. All along we had hoped to share the next leg with others for security and safety (its rainy season, if we get stuck etc). We heard Jungle Junction is normally a busy place with people going north and south, with the elections there are just not many people here and none going north so not to be.
Olly has been changing the broken shock absorber and we even stopped by a shopping centre- a massive new modern place the likes of which we have not seen anything like since Cape Town. I even had a hot chocolate!
Yesterday we visited the elephant orphanage, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. For one hour a day visitors are allowed to watch as the little ones, who are orphaned due to human activity (poaching mostly) are fed. Gorgeous! This organisation does great work and all of the elephants are ultimately reintroduced into Kenyan national parks.
We had to venture into the city to get our passports stamped out of Kenya, where we are crossing into Ethiopia has no border post so we needed to do it here, after being literally being ignored by important people behind desks we managed to persuade them to stamp our passports, and we met the best security guard who let us double park right outside the building.
A few days ago we ran into Monique, the lady we met at the Maasai Mara and she kindly invited us for dinner last night. So our final evening in Nairobi was spent enjoying the company of Monique, Augustino and Yannick, their three-year old son. We feasted on a very nice meal and had a good night.
We are off today- we will start making our way north. The next leg of the trip will likely be in some ways the most challenging and ‘different’ as we start heading for vastly different cultures of Ethiopia and Sudan. We are excited!
L and O