24.07.2009 - 24.07.2009
I'm actually leaving Nairobi.
No really, I am.
Yes, REALLY really.
And i don't need to come back. Well, ok, I do, but i'm not. Not after the events of a couple of days ago.
My life suddenly has a large hole in it that will take some filling.
I can't say that I am all that upset to be finally leaving Bush House, nice place and home for much of the last few months though it has been. In fact, it has been my home for longer than some places I have officially lived in. Cheap by Nairobi standards and scrupulously clean, nether-the-less after so long you get to see things in a different light. I have been electrocuted by 5 different things (the front gate buzzer in the rain, shower, socket, drinks fridge and power point) although none severely. The staff have generally been very good and friendly, although there have been isolated incidents where a different side has been seen: And the night 'watchman' is one of the most useless and biggest wastes of space (and, I assume, money) that I have ever come across. Hot water has not always been reliable – and sometimes is so hot that it is basically steam – and that was even before Nairobi as a city, simply ran out of water.
The electricity supply has also failed totally on a couple of occasions, and whilst Internet is free, it is very temperamental and slow if/when you actually get it to work. The orange building went from garish, to comforting to the point where it eventually started to get to me, as did smaller things like the insistence of the staff of moving 2 of the bunks in the dorm when cleaning to a position that means you then can't shut the door. And silly things like lightbulbs not being replaced (the downstairs toilet was out for well over 2weeks before it was finally replaced, despite complaints) and soap/toilet roll – who cleans a bathroom but doesn't bother to put in a new toilet roll? And whilst I love how they try and accommodate all guests, it doesn't always make things easy for longer term guests, as 8 different beds in 6 rooms during my final 9 night stay confirmed.
All of these things slowly build up over time, and nag at you and impressions change, though my time and experiences has obviously been coloured by my health/general state, and the fact that being off-season (at least to begin with -by the time i returned for what now seems the final time, it was full and i had to spend my first night back in a guest house down the road), the hostel was often mostly or entirely empty of other guests.
Despite all that, and the fact that I am desperate to get away from the chains of Nairobi, I am still sad in a way. It has essentially been my home for the last 12weeks or so (well, so has Nairobi Hospital and the Nairobi traffic) and it has fulfilled its job of a cheap, comfortable and friendly place to sleep, stay, recover and meet people, whilst not sending me even more stark raving mad than I already was. For that i will always be grateful.
I still need to go and get a couple of injections at another decent hospital of my choice (ahem) but that can be done almost anywhere. And after this week,it will definitely not be Nairobi unless I really can't help it.
But I now have a small hole in my life. And despite my excitement and relief at finally being passed fit-ish and able to leave this damned city, I have absolutely no idea where I will go next. Part of me never expected this day to come, and so I have done no planning at all towards it. Original thoughts and ideas of heading to Ethiopia for a few weeks (Along with Eritrea, I have always wanted to visit), and then either Djibouti to jump a freighter or north to Cairo and then the Middle East are no longer really viable due to assorted circumstances, whilst short term work opportunities in Ethiopia, Sudan, DR Congo and Tanzania have now long since passed.
Still, I'm sure i'll think of something. I normally do.