KAREN, KENYA – Here we are in this suburb of Nairobi which either is or isn’t named after Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen), depending on who you talk to. Karen was the site of Blixen’s coffee plantation which forms the backdrop of Out of Africa. Back in the day this was the bush, now it’s a suburb.
We’re staying at a relatively new hotel, Hogmead, in Karen for one night to catch our breath from travel and to wait for Maria. Hogmead is in a large, beautifully restored, colonial house. I wonder how they get away with the Harry Potter name? They’ll probably be getting a nastygram from Harry’s legal team. Here it is captured with my Alpa TC, Phase One IQ 180 back and 35mm Schneider Digitar lens.
NAIROBI, KENYA – Here we are – out last day in Kenya. We went on a “food safari” in local markets with Hubert des Marais (an American from the Carolinas), a prominent chef who has become Fairmont’s executive chef in Kenya (or maybe East Africa). Our first stop was a large covered farmers’ market where local residents bring vegetables grown on plots in Nairobi.
Cell phones are the primary means of communications; many residents lack electric power so business that offer the charge cell phones, like this one in the market, are common.
There’s a food court in the food market where it possible to buy lunch. The word “hotel” on the sign means “restaurant” in this context.
The largest foreign food influence is Indian. The Indians were brought in by the English to build the railroad from Mombasa to Lake Victoria. Indians also came to the region as traders, merchants and professionals. Here we see an Indian pastry shop.
This is a former aircraft hanger, from the era when the airstrip was in the middle of Nairobi, converted to a mall for small merchants.
Hubert des Marais at lunch at Chowpaty, a terrific Indian dive. In terms of Indian regional cuisines, what we appeared to see was everything pretty much mixed together.
Finally before packing for our flight back to New York we managed a few hours in the Nairobi National Museum. It focuses on primarily on natural history, ethnography and geology, geared roughly to a high school student. Here is a group of high school students lined up for admission:
NAIROBI, KENYA – We spent the morning visiting another remarkable charity: AmericaShare, which is sponsored by our safari organizer. It right in the middle of an extensive shantytown – a favella if it were in Brazil – and it provides a variety of services (including education) to badly at risk children in the area.
One of the needs identified by this program is reusable sanitary napkins which facilitate school attendance by teenage girls. They are manufactured on the spot.
In a study in cultural contrast we had lunch at home with Anna Trzebinski and her father, Michael Cunningham-Reed. Anna is a talented fashion designer, her father a remarkable raconteur.
NAIROBI, KENYA – Sadly, here we are loading our bush plane to return to Nairobi where we have planned a busy day
In Nairobi we visited the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage, one of the two remarkable charities on our itinerary. Founded by Dame Daphnne Sheldrick the orphanage rescues orphan elephants (the most come cause of the mothers’ death is ivory poachers). The animals are cared for intensively for five years, and then reintroduced into the wild. You can walk among them at their feeding time.
Our constant companion on the trip, Patrick, playing soccer with an elephant.
NAIROBI, KENYA – We spent the day touring around Nairobi. Starting now and for the rest of the trip I’ll be showing more than one picture a day – typically four or five. I’m capturing 500 – 600 images per day – boiling this down to a single image per day takes more editing time than I have available. Here’s a link to a New York Times article on what to do if you have 36 hours in Nairobi: 36 hours in Nairobi Here we go:
Maria makes a tall friend at Giraffe Manor, a Scottish hunting lodge set in what is now the outskirts of Nairobi (Giraffe Manor)
Lunch at the Talisman Restaurant – this is a large bird in the garden of the restaurant – we had not gotten into the habit of asking about particulars of gender and species is at this point so I don’t have any notes as to what this is.
Maria and Nancy at One Off Gallery – a delightful art gallery owned by Carol Lees. She represents (among many other artists) Timothy Brooke, who’s paintings from the set of the film version of White Mischief adorn the walls of the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel.