A Travellerspoint blog

Party, Party, Party

I'm still exhausted!

Saturday, Jan. 23rd:


January has flown by! First New Years, then back to school, and finally a weekend long birthday celebration with so many rounds of fried chicken I couldn't even keep track!



For starters, we stayed local for New Years. I finally conviced people to try smack the blat, and it was a hit! A new party favorite here in Nairobi. Later, a group of teachers met up at Tribe Hotel, a very swanky new spot in town for the countdown. Our favorite band, Sauti Soul was performing. I, of course, wore a special hat for the occasion. Fireworks, champagne, and two idiots in the pool helped ring in 2010!





I've climbed my first mountain! Mt. Longonot is about an hour outside of Nairobi and a straight vertical climb up! However, the view was definitely worth the climb...and the sore legs for days afterwards! Once we got to the peak of the mountain we walked around the crater enjoying the view and avoiding the water buffalo scattered along the ridges. The climb was a challenge, but one of many mountains down.




Next up was Philip's bday. I'm always shocked when I see a Cubs or Packers shirt on some random Kenyan, and our visit to a local soccer match was no different. I think I saw Reggie Greene in the crowd! The game was quite an experience...hundreds of Kenyans screaming and dancing, trying to get an autograph of a Cameroon player that is on a European team.




And then, on to the birthday! Round one of fried chicken: the staff canteen at lunch. A special item appeared on the menu board: Brake's fried chicken. (Kenyans pronounce Bl like Br, so my official nickname here is Brake.) When the day finally ended, Lindsey and Emily picked my up from school with a change of clothes and a greasy paper bag filled with fried chicken. I almost hit some innocent pedestrians with the empty bones on the side of the road.





Then, I was surprised by a group of friends from school at a local tapas bar. The table was decked out in balloons, party hats, toys and bling. After a few rounds of dirty martinis we were off on our next leg of the adventure...bowling! My skills at the wii version did not translate well into an actual game, and the drinks might have had something to do with it. I saw plenty of students while there, and eventually got into a very competive game of "who can hit the bumpers the most times and still knock pins down"? The night was finished with some hard core dancing at Black Diamond.









Saturday was a fancy dinner with the newbies, followed close behind by more dancing and drinks. However, the real big day, Sunday, was by far the icing on the cake. About a dozen friends came over to the apt. for a pool party and fried chicken fest! I have eaten enough chicken to last me all year...excpet for when I come home and have the real deal from KFC, of course!




Posted by BlakeSims 10:11 Comments (1)

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 30th:

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy New Years everyone! As shocking as it may sound, I miss the snow and cold of Chicago, especially these last few days! The music in the malls, the santas in cowboy hats, and the fake xmas trees with plastic snow just haven't helped me get into the holiday spirit.

However, I have been enjoying my "winter" break immensely and have done some fun traveling...which I will highlight below. For starters: I would have never imagined that after snorkeling with manitees last Christmas day I'd be at it again this year. But...vacationing on the Indian Ocean has its perks. Lindsey, Gwen and I (along with our 3 visitors) spent 4 glorious days in the Lamu Archipelago off the eastern coast.




We lived like the rich and the famous for a few days, with a Swahili-style palace, including two house attendants and our own chef. Laying along the dipping pool and venturing out into old town was very relaxing. It was much quieter...no mattus on the island. Actually, no cars whatsoever. Everything that needs to be moved is loaded precariously onto donkeys and carted around. It was a unique experience zig-zagging through alleys only 4 feet wide, side-stepping over the donkey poop, and needing to flatten against a wall when a donkey needed to pass by. The architecture, dhow boats, and views were stunning and it was very sad to leave.




Yesterday we woke up early again, (6 am!) to head out to Nairobi National Park again. The early morning commute was well worth it because one of our first animal spotting was two male lions and their prey, a giraffe. Wether the animal died naturally or was stalked, I'm not sure. And, I feel fortunate that the lions weren't enjoying their food when we arrived, just lazily laying around in front of it, keeping others away. My first lion sighting here in Kenya!!!! And, have you ever seen a lion pee before? There's a first for everything!




We continued driving around for another few hours, enjoying the endless supply of zebras, gazelle, water buffalo and giraffes. We unexpectedly came upon a black rhino and lost him quickly in the bush. However, after scanning the horizon with binoculars, I spotted three more rhinos not too far off into the distance. It was reassuring that even without professional guides, Lindsey and I could find animals on a safari!




I've got another week and a half of vacation time to relax and travel some more. Where I'll be on NYE and in the next few days is still a mystery. However, I'm sure there will be good stories and pictures wherever I end up. Miss you all!

Posted by BlakeSims 01:13 Comments (0)

Holy cow, it's December!

Where has the time gone?!

So the other day I realized it had been over a month since writing! Yowza! So, I'm going to keep it short and sweet with lots of photos to tell the past month for me. Enjoy!

Karen Blixen home. Have you seen Out of Africa? This is Karen's house, turned into a museum. Not much to see, but the peace and quiet was great. AND, she drove a John Deere tractor. Awesome!

Happy Halloween everyone! After much debate over group costumes, Halloween crept up on the newbies unexpectedly! So...what did I have in my closet that would suffice for appropriate attire? Cowgirl, of course! I tried to get a group of yeeeehaa going to no avail. And what is Emily you may be wondering..speed bumps. Doesn't get much easier than that!

Newbie night out at K1 club. BTW, never go here for food! The guy walking around in the chef hat with the tray of fresh samosas may be my newest obsession, but the food took almost 2 hours to arrive and was cold. I didn't realize buffalo wings were that complicated!

The garden at my apartment. I did mention it's December, right. How's the snow?

Woke up at the butt crack of dawn...and arrived at Nairobi National Park by 6:30 am. Still missed out on the predators though. Highlights include complaining that all we ever see our giraffes, a mama rhino and her baby, and a crosswalk dominated by herds of water buffalo. Oh, and the cutest baby zebra ever!

After eating at Carnivore, a restaurant here known for serving the wildest of wild life, we just had to see where the ostrich meat came from. And, to ride an ostrich as well. However, of the thousands of ostriches on the farm, the riding one was sick (doubt it). The chicks were adorable...in a "I may eventually enjoy you as a meatball" kind of way. Sorry for those leaning towards being a vegetarian, but ostrich meatballs are delicious!

After K1, my cravings for samosas was only heightened. Emily, Philip, Lindsey and I made a day trip in search of the perfect deep-fried goodness. Machakos, while situated on a pretty hill, failed miserably. Oh well, it was also just nice escaping the pollution and noises of Nairobi.
Day trip to Machakos

Day trip to Machakos


On the way back from Machakos we popped in to Small World "Country Club". Um...if you've got good eyesight, check out the menu items. Interesting.

Ok, you're pretty much caught up on my life. Those who I haven't heard from in a while, don't be shy! I miss you all and the snow (some days). If I'm as late getting to my next entry as this one, happy holidays and new years!! I want to see LOTS of pictures.

Posted by BlakeSims 06:59 Comments (1)

Vacation on Tiwi Beach!


Tuesday, October 20th:





I just got back from an amazing mini-vacation in Tiwi Beach, a resort town just south of Mombasa. What an amazing place! When we arrived, the management upgraded our housing from a 3 bedroom cottage to a beautiful mansion, Angelina's. Heavenly!




The views outside our front porch were breath-taking. Clear blue water as far as the eye could see. Low tides in the morning meant we could venture out about 200 yards, looking at the sea urchins (watch out, their spikes hurt!), star fish, and whatever other wildlife we could spot. We had plenty of swimming options to choose from: ocean, plunge pool in our house, or the hotel's pool. Decisions, decisions.







The only time we left our beach was to venture to Ali Barbour's, a restaurant located inside the caves along the beach. Supposedly a spot where treasures were hidden way back in the day. Very cool. Other than that, it was just laying out in the sun, reading, and relaxing. What better way to spend a vacation?



Posted by BlakeSims 02:40 Comments (0)

What a weekend!

One night til 4:30 and the next 7:30...partying like a rockstar!

Sunday, October 11th:



Emily's birthday weekend started off with a bang at Carnivore on Friday night. Over a dozen different kinds of meat, unfortunately no zebra, rhino, etc since the gaming laws were put in place, but the ostrich was delicious! After a round of Happy Birthday from the entire staff, the night just kept getting better.


Next stop, the Loft for some late night drinks and debauchery. Lindsey made friends with a statue, enjoyed some hookah, and danced the night away with a bunch of Danish teenagers. What could be better?



Last night Nairobi hosted the Mama awards...mtv awards for African artists. Beau knew somebody, who was the uncle of someone nominated, so we got ready, took an hour long cab ride and then waited anxiously as the note was sent in hoping to result in tickets and all access passes. The gods were smiling on us, and success! BIG TIME!



Not ony did we get VIP status, and were within reach of Wyclef Jean and Akon, but we also met MI, the mystery connection. He welcomed us into his dressing room after the show, posed for photos with his two awards, and insisted we join him and his entourage for all the after parties. Amazing!




After trekking back and forth across Nairobi, I finally rolled into bed at 7:30 am. Absolutely exhausting...but well worth the lack of sleep!

Posted by BlakeSims 07:31 Comments (0)

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