A Travellerspoint blog

First night out in Kenya

and a visit to Malu.

sunny

Sunday, August 16th:

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What a weekend! After three days of school, it was time for some fun time! Job, a Kenyan music teacher at our school, and some of the newbies headed out for some classic Kenyan nightlife on Friday. We began at a delicious sushi place in our local mall, random I know, with rounds of sake and martinis.

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From there we progressed over to Gypsy's. A local establishment with an amazing people-watching crowd. Highlights include dancing to Michael Jackson in the midst of a fog machine and Kenya's version of Hugh Hefner and all his African girlfriends. The crowd was a mixture of locals, expats, and creepy old men. We decided to mix it up a bit and headed over to Pizza Garden next. Being the only white people in the place didn't stop us from hitting up the dance floor! A random guy came over to our table to ask some of the ladies to dance, and I was sacrificed. Thanks a lot! Eventually the whole group joined us on the dance floor and partied the night away.

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Today, a bunch of ladies (and one baby) made the 1.5 hour drive to Malu, a restaurant and scenic area with a thermal spa. The ride went quickly, until the last 11 kilometers which took us almost an hour! The road had so many rocks and bumps, and "speed humps" that we had to drive at a snail's pace. The lunch and lounging in the pool were worth the drive. So were the sights: more of the Great Rift, local animals and people, men on bikes, out of control matatus, and beautiful fauna. An exhausting but great day.

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Posted by BlakeSims 07:26 Comments (1)

Barbara's Birthday Bash!

The newbies celebrate

Sunday, August 9th:

Jambo, Jambo! After another day of prepping for school to begin, the ladies escape to a spa right down the street for manis and pedis. Reason to celebrate: Barbara's Birthday!!!! Relaxing and chatting was a lot of fun, plus some of us had our fortunes told, as well as match makers hard at work. We then went to hang out at John and Barbara's for some delicious appetizers and party tricks. We reserved the school bus for the night, so we all climbed on and headed out!

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We all ventured to a local italian restaurant, Mediterraneo, for some good cooking. The gnocchi with gorgonzola and prawns was absolutely delicious! I attempted to increase the Euroing crowd, and it is slowly spreading to Kenya. We got two rounds of limocello on the house before heading back on our school bus and heading home. Our first night going out, with many more to come!

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Posted by BlakeSims 01:22 Comments (0)

Intro to ISK

Friday, August 7th:

After many days of orientation and getting to know the campus, admin, and staff, I've finally started putting my classroom together. The kids don't arrive for a few more days, so I've been busy organizing, putting up bulletin boards, the ordinary, and boring teacher stuff. That, on top of lots of meetings and information overload.

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Aside from school stuff there hasn't been much time for exploring. So many people have shared wonderful stories about traveling opportunities and I can't wait to take advantage of everything Kenya has to offer. I also will begin driving on the roads here shortly, which scares me to death. Roads vary from cement with mammoth sized potholes to just plain rocks and dirt (and not pebbles, but massive stones). Not to mention the Matatus, people selling anything from clothing to pet dogs in the middle of the street, and roads too narrow for two cars to legally be driving in opposite directions.

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Oh, and did I mention there are rolling blackouts throughout the country? I have power 2-3 days per week and hot water varies. I'm getting along surprisingly well considering all of the adjustments. It's not as hard as I thought it would be to get used to not having the comforts of home. It's also the cold season here, so I'm considered the weirdo when I'm not fazed by the 50 degree weather. People are layered in sweaters, down jackets, and even have heaters running. I'm sure I'll be in the same boat, drowning in my own sweat, when the heat rolls around.

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Miss you all!

Posted by BlakeSims 11:53 Comments (0)

Kenya, here I come!

Monday, August 3rd:

Jambo from Kenya! I made it here safely yesterday morning and have been busy ever since! My school had warned me about hassles at customs, but when I arrived, while the line for getting through with my visa was long, I had no trouble getting through and grabbing my bags. I didn't even have to lie or avoid eye contact!

My principal met me at the airport and we jumped into a school bus and headed to my apartment. The roads were lined with walking travelers, construction, and there is red dust everywhere! Driving was a surreal experience: first they drive on the other side, second, most cars are stick shift and also opposite in every way imaginable. Pedestrians are basically in the road, cars speed past each other on two lanes and disregard all lane assignments on larger streets. There are no stop lights, and even when there are, colors make no difference. I've nervous about the circles, turning and fellow drivers!!!!

My apartment is large and spacious, with too much room for me. Planning a trip my way and I've got spare room. I have 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a large kitchen, living room and dining room as well. My building has a beautiful courtyard with a fountain and small pool.

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After looking around, we headed to a local cafe for lunch. I was shocked to see more non-Africans than Africans around. There is a very large Indian population here, and everyone speaks English.

Since we had the afternoon free, my principal, two other teachers, and myself took a drive out of the city. Our destination: the Great Rift Valley, on my first day!!!! I stared out the window the entire drive. A few highlights: cows in the back of a pickup truck, women with massive bundles on their heads, shanty towns, lamb pelts and hats, matatus with numerous men hanging out of the side door going 60 mph, fields and fields of coffee beans and lush foliage. The sky was a little hazy so the view at the Rift wasn't great, but the drive alone was worth it.

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Today all of the new staff got together at the school for orientation. I got to see my classroom and tour the campus. It is absolutely stunning. I didn't have time to take pictures, but they'll be up soon.

Posted by BlakeSims 11:07 Comments (0)

Ein, svy, dry, veer, fenf, sex, zeben, oct, nenf, zane.

My spellings of 1-10 in German. I practiced for two days and still couldn't get it right!


View Prague on BlakeSims's travel map.

Friday, July 31st:

My last day in Vienna and Europe with the ladies, sad!!!! We begin the day by seeing another city market, a tradition that I've come to love! Naschmarket has aisles of olives (which the kind gentlemen working let us sample), wasabi nuts, fruit vinegar, meats, all kinds of seafood, and souvenirs.

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Marie was in scientist heaven chatting about fermentation processes with the vinegar stand woman. A lot of the stands offered Greek or mediterranean foods, which got us all salivating. Suzy and I get a falafel sandwich to go and we sit to people watch and enjoy some wine.

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Our next stop is a beach located along the Danube. This is not a pretty, or sanitary river, but the beach did have sand! We enjoy our sandwich with Radlers and are perpetually stalked by bees! On our way out we stop at a tightrope set up and give it a try. Marie almost made it across! Balance is not a skill of Suzy and me.

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Suzy had been ranting and raving about a famous cake from Vienna, Sacher Torte. We each get a slice of the delicious sponge-cake with dark chocolate frosting and fig jam between the layers. Perfect for an afternoon snack.

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After doing some much needed laundry, we head out for dinner at Pizza Bizi. The spinach and goat cheese pizza is delicious! Now all we need is ice cream to complete the meal and head to ZoniZoni. The scoops are to die for!!!!

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We end up at the Rathaus again just in time to see the Cleveland Orchestra music film. We return to our favorite booth for Radler and make friends with some expats in Vienna. We teach John, Mustafa and Tom how to play golf and close down the outdoor fair. We head back over to the Museum Quarter for some late night drinks and dancing. The DJ is decent enough to rock out some classic moves as well as a little bump and grind.

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Posted by BlakeSims 06:27 Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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