Nairobi

Jacaranda trees, cool breezes, a downtown that feels something like San Francisco (for lack of a better reference point). Seventeen hours on a rickety train, terminating in a landscape that looks something like the high desert between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, or the llano further east. Except that there are giraffes running off the train tracks here, ostriches prancing wild, and bizarre birds alighting and something hairy and baboonish lumbering through the bush.

I must be in Nairobi. It seems like life has been drawing me here for awhile.

Everyone says to be careful about getting robbed. Don’t trust anyone, stay west of Moi avenue, don’t let anyone give you food or a beverage, beware of fake plainclothes detectives.

I remember that a friend had a gun put to his head on the back of a Muni bus in San Francisco in high school, while a ten-year-old apprentice in a Starter jacket squeaked, “That’s what I call gettin’ jacked!” And I remember that, having heard this story, I didn’t stop taking Muni. I find such thoughts strangely comforting: it can happen anywhere. Panic and blind suspicion can be as dangerous as obliviousness. Still, I appreciate everyone’s advice, and I promise to be extra super-duper safe.

Here’s what I need to do during the next few days: Go to a capoeira class at the National Theater (it’s been three horribly long months, and lack of capoeira is a major obstacle to any long-term plans to relocate to TZ); spend some time soaking up the middle-class East African experience (i.e., hanging out in Java House); see the Nairobi marathon; try to figure out the safest and least tasteless way (i.e., no slum tourism) to see the other sides of Nairobi as well.

I remain very open to story ideas and activity suggestions.

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