Tag-Archive for » Signs «

Getting Around Athi River Traffic on Mombasa Highway on the Way to Kitui

Traffic.

Wherever you go, you can’t avoid it. It’s a phenomenon that when you get on the highway, everyone else gets on at exactly the same time! And when the highway you’re traveling is one lane each direction; you have to share with massive trucks, hundreds of cars and matatus; and it’s Christmas — you best be prepared for anything.

We finally started our journey to Kitui for Christmas. It started off easy enough. Nothing like driving back from the coast [still the worst traffic ever]. We’re rolling, and the sign hung on the walkway over Mombasa Highway just as you get to Athi River should’ve been an omen.

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Within minutes, there’s a line of cars, none moving, stretching into the horizon. No movement moving forward and no cars coming in the opposite direction. Nothing. Everyone’s confused. Traffic can be bad in Kenya, especially Mombasa Highway, but not like this. This was a bad sign considering we just got on the road and could see cars literally to the end of the earth.

As we sat there, I knew it was just a matter of time before Kenyans did what Kenyans do when stuck in traffic. And any Kenyan reading this knows exactly what happens next.

It started with one person, running out of patience and making a break for it.

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Then the fun began… more…

On The Road From Watamu to Nairobi; Most of It Spent Stuck Just Outside of Mombasa

After a few days of fun in the sun, we started our long journey back to Nairobi. Between Watamu and Mombasa in Kilifi is the regional office for Plan International, the NGO that Nduku works for. At first Nduku just wanted a photo, one of those “I was there” moments, from the street, but it’s a bit off the road so I hopped out the car to get closer.

And closer. And closer. And how often are we going to be here? So I just rolled up on the building.

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Lightning Quick Day Trip to Boston

We really were on a short time schedule, with the pre-wedding celebration in the afternoon, but we headed out to Boston, 45 minutes away, to see what we could squeeze in. Even though the four energy drinks were still buzzing in my blood.

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Hydroplaning All The Way To New England

Road trips aren’t necessarily my favorite, not when we’re driving for more than two hours, but heading north isn’t as bad because of the scenery from the road. As opposed to driving south. We were headed to Massachusetts for one of Nduku’s friend’s pre-wedding celebration.

The plan was to leave before rush hour started, but Nduku got stuck waiting for a rental car to become available. Note to self: never rent from Dollar. And we ended up with a Ford Focus. Not the worst car in the world, but little did we know we were headed into a monsoon and the Focus wasn’t quite the best car for it.

Until then, though, we had pleasant weather. We made it through Baltimore enjoying the usual view from the highway. There’s skyscrapers, the boats in the harbors and ports, the sports stadiums and the tunnel taking us under the bay.

Exit to Inner Harbor, Baltimore MD

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The Grand Tour of Kenya’s Capital City — Nairobi

Just as Hollywood has done an amazing job convincing the world that all of us in America are rich [except the blacks who all live in the ghetto — except Oprah Winfrey], Hollywood has also convinced a lot of Americans that all Africans live in a country called Africa. And they’re all poorer than the blacks living in the ghetto.

Of course my photos from Mlolongo, Kiambu and Wangige doesn’t help the stereotype. And Mombasa, though it has amazing resorts, isn’t quite the most modern city in the world.

But Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is another story.

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300 Miles of Kenya’s Countryside from Nairobi to Mombasa

Just as soon as we were recovered from 16 hours of traveling with a restless child, we were back on the road for a 6-7 hour road trip to Mombasa. Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city, a resort town on the coast. The road there, Mombasa Highway, is a highway that you want to traverse before the sun goes down. Freaks don’t come out at night on Mombasa Highway; bandits do.

We rented a minivan, piled in nine deep and hit the road. With Nairobi in our rear view, I was looking forward to see Kenya’s countryside. How does the country look away from the hustle and bustle of the city? How do people live away from the skyscrapers and matatus [I’ll explain them later in this post]? How are we going to last with two two-year-olds who seem to like each other one moment and fighting the next?

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The Walking Tour of Bucharest, Romania Continues

More photos from our self-guided walking tour of Bucharest, Romania. We started this trip downtown Bucharest and walked the entire length back north to our hotel.

Bucharest, Romania

Kretzulescu Church

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The Architecture of Bucharest’s Buildings

We got our self-guided walking tour of Bucharest started at Strada Pictor Barbu Iscovescu and walking up to Piaţa Romană. Those are street names. I think. Advertising in Bucharest is quite bold. Larger than life. Coke and Pepsi are having it out with which company can out-scream the other.

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Breakfast in Bucharest Then off to the Metro

Our day started early our first whole day in Bucharest, only because breakfast is free at our hotel, the Green Forum. On the lower level is a restaurant that reeks of smoke. Nduku wants me to make sure I reiterate Romanians smoke every and anywhere they feel like it. Even with Najwa running around, they puff on their Pall Malls.

But we tolerated it. Again, breakfast is free.

As I learned from the last time we left the country, bacon isn’t the same as bacon back home. Actually, I’m not sure if our waitress understood me since she brought out slices of salami. And it was my fault when I ordered, from the menu, fried eggs, and they came sunny side up. The only way I like my eggs are scrambled with cheese. I thought that’s what fried eggs were, since you scramble eggs in a frying pan, right? They did their best to make them appealing, though.

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Getting Away to Fujeirah and the Rest of the Country

As our trip draws to a close, what better way to top what we’ve done so far by getting out of town? Dubai is but one of seven Emirates, but by no means does Dubai represent what the UAE is like in general. Friday would be a day we saw the rest of the country. But first, we got something to eat at Burger King. Bean Royale anyone?

Bean Royale

Before we got on with the long road trip, we came across Sharjah Institute of Technology [I won’t say the acronym joke] and University City Hall. They would be the last modern looking structures for many, many miles. Many, many, many miles as we drove into the deserts.

We decided to head east, cutting through Sharjah en route to Fujeirah. The road to the Indian Ocean was about what I was expecting from a desert country. All desert. Even saw some real camels roaming the sands. Miles and miles of road surrounded by miles and miles of desert. Well, until we reached the mountains.

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