Friday, 1 April 2011


Ngara is to the east of the city centre, and Junction, where I live, is to the far west. I was in Ngara, and decided to start walking it, figuring I would call a taxi when I got tired.

Ngara has no pavements, and lots of tiny shops. I suspect it may not have a wonderful reputation. I was heading to the great Globe roundabout, one of the biggest in Nairobi. I asked a safe looking man if I was going the right way, and he confirmed I was, and then called after me: "But take the long way! The shortcut is dangerous."

I passed the shortcut, and concluded that I must really look like I got off the plane yesterday. The shortcut was clearly dangerous. I took the very long way round the roundabout, and already hot was seriously tempted by some very ripe pineapple being served from a very dirty wheelbarrow. It looked juicy, but I recalled a similarly juicy experience in Mexico, that lasted for months afterwards, and decided I better just stay hot.

Cold Fanta downtown, at the Nairobi Safari Club, and onwards down University Way, turning onto Arboretum Drive. A couple of university students walking in front of me, with some very valiant flirting on the gentleman's part, that was frostily received by the lady.

Onto to State House Drive, past the Kilaleshwa Circle Road, then to Mandera Drive. Which never ends. I concluded that what had been a walk would now be more in the nature of a royal progress. Also, I thought I might be getting sun stroke. I sat in the shade by the side of the road. A big man went past wheeling a small girl's pink bicycle. I passed the Egyptian embassy, outside of which stood a portly young diplomat, and I practically wanted to embrace him weeping, I am so proud of all of North Africa. Clearly, I had had a lot of sun. Finally I passed a hairdressers with a pale purple front and jaunty paintings of happy customers, which seemed to do a sideline in food, so I stopped for a Coke. I read my Naipaul book and chatted to the owner, who was most satisfyingly horrified when he heard where I had walked from.

Onwards and sadly very much upwards to Nyeri Road, and then to Othayo Road, where I saw a sunbird so small he did not even bend the grass stalk he was perched on.

Finally, Githongo Road and thank god for Creamy Inn. Three little girls came up after me, and I said, Go ahead, and one said, Oh no, you first! And I said, I don't know what I want, then they all laughed and said Neither do we! And we spent a good five minutes pondering the not very huge variety of choices. Oh, I had forgotten about the generally good manners of children in Africa.

Korosho, Hendred, and Mbaazi Ave, and then at last: our flat.

I had a cold shower.


  1. hi there our children have good manners. they do. do you think it is because there is always the possibility of a hiding if you are naughty?

  2. I do think that! Also, I think there is a culture of respect for the old, rather than the young . .