MONDAY 4 NOVEMBER The flight was uneventful and passed quickly. The aircraft, a Boeing 767, was old and tatty, the food was unremarkable, and the in-flight movie, Home Alone, was funny but in such eye-straining colours and ear-splitting volume that it was hard to sit through.
We touched down in Nairobi just as the sun crested the horizon, shining across the fog-shrouded savannah around the city. Along with our new friends Marina (NZ), Linda (Oz), and Neil (NZ), we caught a black London cab into the city for KSH60 (Kenyan Shillings) each. It was rather incongruous to be sitting in a brand new Hackney cab with open savannah speeding by outside the windows.
In town we booked into the New Kenya Lodge, four of us in a room for KSH75 each. It was early in the day so a whole bunch of us set off to walk over to the Post Office to check for our mail. Linda got 3 letters: two of them from her mother and one from her friends Jennie and Lydia. Once the mail was collected, Linda and I set off in search of a cheap flight to Pakistan. It took us most of the morning and a lot of hassles before we finally were able to secure tickets from Gulf Air for US$252 each. We ended up putting the cost on my Visa card as the rigmarole involved with changing exactly the right amount of money and supplying copies of our currency declarations was too much effort.
After that, we went back to the hotel and crashed out along with most of the people we had arrived with. At five o’clock, it began to rain heavily and the downpour lasted for an hour and a half. When it stopped, Linda, Neil, Marina and I walked up to the Iqbal¹ for a cheap meal of beef and potato stew with rice.
¹The Iqbal was a Nairobi institution among the backpacker fraternity. Lovingly known as “The Dog-Bowl” it was a scruffy, bug-infested shit-hole…but it was cheap, accessible and you could get an inexpensive feed there.