taleblazing . . . travel tales from around the world   . . .
  . previous tale  .
shopping arusha style
. next tale  .
feeling safe
. more tales  .
. . . . .

Check out Dennis' debut novel
Soul Identity - Dennis Batchelder's debut novel
. . . . .

on the road to nairobi
By Arlene Batchelder 5 May 2005

The road from Arusha to Nairobi is only 3 hours of actual driving time. It did not take us 3 hours.... We went through beautiful scenery, Masai villages, the TZ/Kenya border and police checks.

We were supposed to leave the ADRA compound at 2 pm. We actually left at 2:30 pm and had to go into Arusha first to stop at the bank, the insurance place and the printers. All business taken care of we were finally off and heading north along a paved road. Paved with potholes and speed bumps at odd places. Probably there was a junction of some path, trail, or family gathering at those places. Occasionally Max, the driver, didn't see them in time and we all went airborne. With no seatbelts to keep us in our seats and almost no shocks left on the vehicle it was quite painful for me and for the two girls riding in the back. I am thinking that I will never complain of the pothole in D.C. again and they are saying "here in TZ the roads are good, wait till we get to Kenya". That's when I started worrying.

The Masai people walking along the road were very colorful. They were herding goats, cows and donkeys. The kids all smiled and waved. We saw a group of Impala and I was surprised at how fast they ran in the wild. I guess in the zoo they are not running away from Lions. Then we saw my favorite animal, the giraffe, there were four of them crossing the road. What a beautiful sight. We also saw one monkey and four camels.

Max showed us one of the well that ADRA put in for the Masai people. It was crowded with happy people. And there were flies. It took us a few miles of driving with the windows open to get rid of the flies. I guess you have to be brought up here to co-exist with flies.

In Europe you can cross over from country and you hardly know it. There are no stops on the road. Not so here. At the first road block there was the place to file papers for leaving TZ with a check of passports. Then the paperwork for the vehicle had to be checked and we moved on to the next roadblock. This was an in-between place where the vehicle was in line for more checks and paperwork and the rest of us visited the local bathroom. (Bathrooms are another story.) Then we walked down to the next roadblock where we actually got our visa's after many questions and checks.

While waiting and walking around for Max and his visa's and vehicle checks we were constantly accosted by local salesman. Everything from changing money to buying carved giraffes, jewelry and cloth. But I was ready for the sales people. I had learned how to say no and how to bargain. Finally in the end I did buy some Masai cloth at a good price. I was going to buy some anyway and we had TZ shillings with us.

It took over an hour to get through the border and finally we were on our way again. They were right, the road did get worse and after the first really bad bump I knew I had to do something about my poor neck constantly being jarred. It was lucky I bought the Masai cloth. I took it and rolled it up and used it as a cervical collar. It was hot, but it stabilized my neck.

We went through four police checks in the last hour of driving from the border to Maxwell Academy. I don't know what they were really looking for but they waved us through after Max spoke to them in Kiswahili.

It was dark when we arrived at the Academy a little before 9 pm. So it seems a three hour drive anywhere else takes twice as long here in Africa. No one is in a hurry and there is always something that has to be done first. At the border one office stopped at 6 pm while they lowered the flag and saluted. I would have loved to have taken pictures at the border but I wanted to keep my camera for the rest of the vacation.

But all in all it was a good trip since we made it here and that's important thing no matter how long it was on the road to Nairobi.

on the road to nairobi - kenya