February 22, 2013

Such a February face

Why, what's the matter, 
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?
- Much Ado About Nothing

Living and traveling between the north and south hemispheres, one can lose the routine of her seasons.  Last year I had two winters and precisely 10 days of summer.  (Although- let's face it- June in Seattle really remains more of a drippy early spring.)

But this year I did it right; it's just summer upon summer, all the way down.  And if you're a fan of the sun, a Nairobi summer is really something special.  Last weekend, I was taking a leisurely walk home in shorts a flip flops, sipping some fresh mango-passion fruit juice, and was overtaken by the thought February!  It's so nice to finally make your acquaintance, after all these years of hiding indoors and under covers.  

Unfortunately, Nairobi's not the best city for outdoor activities.  Sure, there's Uhuru Park downtown and the arboretum, and Blankets & Wine comes around the first Sunday of every month.  But there aren't any really nice places to go for a stroll or sit under a shady tree with a book, so you sometimes need to get creative to get your fresh air.  Creative like attending a kite festival at the Ngong Racecourse.  Because, how better to spend a sunny Sunday?

And........ FLY!  

Or drag.

Airborne!  Note the floppy bear kite in the upper right quadrant.

It's a teddy eclipse of the sun.  

Note to anyone thinking about this event next time around, bring your own kite.  We came unprepared and had to borrow from strangers after our attempts to construct a kite from an NGO pamphlet and keychain lanyard proved ineffective.  

For those in need of a resource for random Nairobi recreation, I'd suggest Nairobi Now, which is a pretty good list of music and artistic events as well as outdoor happenings around town.  I also recommend Nairobi Day Trips, which offers excursions to all of the best places both in and around Nairobi.  

Such a February face, so full of warmth and sun and blue skies...  

February 10, 2013

The je ne sais

I have some friends from the U.S. who are in town this month for various reasons, and one of them asked me what I like about living in Nairobi as compared to, say, Seattle.  I gave an answer at the time-- that I like living in urban areas, that being abroad feels akin to being unthethered, that the weather is out of this world-- though I'm not sure it answered the question, let alone answered it comprehensively.  

Then this video turned up online.  It seems to have been made as a response to fears and doubts regarding the upcoming presidential elections in March, though the gist is really just a highlights-of-living-in-Nairobi reel to communicate the emotion of this city.  It's got Yaya Centre, Brew Bistro salsa night, Blankets and Wine, Mercury Lounge, and all the rest of cosmopolitan life.  

It gives the feeling of living here.  The je ne sais quoi of Nairobi.  

And while I can't articulate (and apparently neither can the dialogue-less video) the overarching reasons to love Kenya, I can give some specifics:

That after a long hike you can get a round of cold beers with an adorably iconic label.

Tusker, winner

That work-sponsored team-building activities are just as silly here as they are everywhere else.


That Kenya is a country of tea.

Monkey Sunshine

And cheese & wine festivals where vendors proclaim yogurt passion.


That the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport looks exactly how you would imagine it to look.

And that the coast looks like this.

That local hospitality extends to everyone, and that all up-country homes I've been invited into are covered in macrame.

That rooster-fights in nature are so much better than in a betting ring.

I jump on your head!

No!  I jump on YOUR head!!

That the trees are purple.

And pineapples in the road!

February 4, 2013

Why not go

We all have those moments.  The ones when you want to just chuck it all to the wind, drop your daily life, unplug and run away without notice.  

So why not go with it and let yourself be swept away? 

To that end, I present Serenity Monday:

Infinity pool into Indian Ocean by dawn

February, you are most welcome.