Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wild Ride...

I have to tell you that driving in Nairobi is like nothing I have ever seen anywhere else. No, I am emphatically NOT doing the driving for, as our cabby today put it so well, "Driving here, it would keel you!" And that is no overstatement, believe me. Not only is the traffic heavy at seemingly every part of the day, not only are the noxious diesel fumes enough to make the eyes water continuously, not only is there perpetual road construction everywhere, but there seem to be no traffic rules at all. Especially hair-raising are the traffic circles, or roundabouts, where traffic enters from several different directions at once, with drivers apparently "playing chicken" to see who enters, who gets the right-of-way, and who can slip most successfully through the smallest spaces. 

Can't tell you how many times I was convinced today that we would hear the crunch of metal or the scream of tires or the blare of horns- but didn't. Instead, our intrepid driver, Edwin, calmly, coolly, and collectedly got us through places
where I would have sworn no vehicle could fit, weaving through traffic which threatened to set my hair on end. At one point, when I could draw breath, I asked Edwin if there were many traffic accidents. "Oh, no," he responded, "and we have no rules...just go. Nobody minds." and he smiled broadly, totally at ease. 

Thankfully, today's visit to the Nairobi National Museum was lovely...
informative, slow-paced, and enjoyable, capped by a nice lunch at the museum cafe, so heart rates had a chance to settle back to normal before the return trip. And as an experienced cabby, Edwin knew the best routes home avoid some of the traffic...getting us back to the Wildebeest safe and sound. But travel by road here in Nairobi is a challenging experience for sure and we'll be doing more of it in coming days, so send lots of good thoughts and prayers for our safe travel- even as we trust in the uncanny ability of our drivers to seemingly go "where no one has ever gone before". 

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