Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cupcakes and Elephants

Where to begin? Today was so jam packed full of fun things!

We started the morning off by visiting the animal orphanage in Nairobi. If you are ever visiting Nairobi, do NOT go to the animal orphanage. It was expensive and not worth the price at all. The animals were kept in tiny cages that left them pacing around their fences and growling, and there really wasn't very much to see at all. There were a bunch of cheetahs, lions and a leopard, but none of these cats seemed very happy at all. It was basically just a really small, crappy zoo. We were pretty grumpy that we paid so much to go when it was so lame, and a little sad to see all the animals in such small pens.

After the animal orphanage, we went to Seldrick Elephant Orphanage. We were expecting more of the same here but figured we'd give it a try since we wouldn't be back in Nairobi long enough to go another time. It turned out to be well worth the 300 ksh. There were 19 baby elephants that all came out to be bottle fed at the same time and were rolling around in the mud being super super cute. They got close enough to touch! The organization rehabilitates the elephants and releases them back into the wild. By wild I mean a game park but close-ish to the wild.

While we were on Safari at Sweetwaters, we met a women who is from Nova Scotia but who has been living in Nairobi for the past five years. Her husband works for the High Commission and she has two sons, one of which is our age. We met up with her for lunch today at Westgate Mall in Nairobi. Oh man! This was the nicest mall ever! There was even a store that sold Mac computers and ipods. It was so surreal. It was like being back home for a few hours! But, I found a cupcake shop in the mall which made my day complete. I've been hoping to find a Kenyan cupcake at some point but had basically given up hope. It was delicious!

After lunch, we met up with Henry again briefly. Both Christina and I mentioned that we would love to live in Nairobi once we're done school. Next thing you know, Henry is on the phone setting up a meeting for us with one of his connections at either CIDA or the University of Nairobi. He wants us to meet this guy and talk to him in September before we leave because apparently he can hook us up with really sweet jobs in Kenya once we graduate. Oh Henry....he always knows someone convenient!

We headed to a giant outdoor market that had hundreds of different vendors all selling art work and jewelery and carvings and pretty much anything you could possibly imagine bringing home from Kenya with you. Of course this meant about an hour of being pestered by every single person selling stuff. "sista, come to my shop", "Sista, I give you good deal". We were about to punch the next person to call us "sista". After walking around the entire market once, we decided what we wanted and didn't waste time getting down to business. We were bartering up a storm, and being extremely firm. Maybe a little too firm...we had this old lady and her son basically yelling at us because we wouldn't budge on our offer. We eventually had to give in a little, but seeing how unhappy they were with us made us feel fairly confident we weren't being ripped off. I got 2 pieces of art work that I am really excited about. One canvas oil painting and one framed watercolor painting. I'm not sure where I am going to put all the stuff I've bought yet since I don't own a house and only have a small bedroom at school with limited wall space, but I'm sure I'll find a spot for everything eventually. I'm really really happy with all my purchases so far. It;s a good thing I have an extra suitcase to go home with though or else I would not be bringing very much back at all.

Tomorrow morning we're going to feed some giraffes and then say goodbye to Nairobi, bye to salads and un-fried vegetables, and bye to free internet. We'll be heading back to Meru where we'll be right back into the grind of report writing and school work. We picked the perfect weekend to come to Nairobi though. Only 2 weeks until we head to Masai Mara for the Wildebeest migration. We would have come next weekend instead though if we had known that the African Athletics Championships were going down. I would have loved to get tickets to go watch!


  1. So glad that you had such a great weekend. The baby elephants would be so adorable. Can't wait to see some pics.

    I told you that you two were mega barterers. Poor old lady! Er- what will Henry have you doing in your "sweet jobs"??

    You will be starting your last month of work when you go back and the game park will be amazing I am sure.

  2. I have heard mixed opinions of the orphanage. Interesting to hear your take.

    Did you get down to the coast? I would have loved to get there my last time down.