Arrival + Fun with Strangers

I made it!

I left my house at 3pm on January 18 and arrived at my Nairobi hotel the next day at roughly 10pm local time (2pm Toronto time). Which means I was travelling 23 hours straight and I was exhausted.

I flew with KLM, connecting through Amsterdam, and they were hands down the best company I have ever flown with. The SkyTeam was attentive, the food was actually delicious and the free booze was flowing. My second flight was particularly awesome, because it was undersold I got a row of seats all to myself. Bonus!

As we began our descent into Nairobi it felt like my heart was going to beat itself out of my chest. I was thinking of all the obstacles in my way before I could get to my safe hotel room…
– get Kenyan sim card, buy airtime, hope I correctly unlocked my BB, hope everything works and don’t get ripped off
– exchange $USD into Kenyan shillings and don’t get ripped off
– get Kenyan Visa and don’t get ripped off
– find luggage and don’t get ripped off
– find airport transfer guy and don’t get ripped off
– check into hotel and don’t get ripped off
Do you sense the theme?

Getting my phone to work and adding airtime wasn’t really a problem, neither was getting local currency (though I counted it all twice to make sure it was all there). The trouble came when I was trying to get my Visa.

As I was standing in a looooooong line an airport employee approached me and asked if I needed a Visa, being a total dumbass I said ‘yes!’ He told me to follow him and in a moment of absolute stupidity I did (sorry mom). He walked me down a hallway and he started asking about where I was from, what my plans were for Kenya and as he continued making small talk I started freaking out. Isn’t this how those kidnapping stories start? Some helpful bloke approached a young girl offering his help and the next thing you know he’s asking for ransom money. I dropped the niceties and demanded to know where we were going. ‘To get your Visa.’ And as we rounded a corner I saw an empty Visa counter and felt like a giant jackass. He brought me to the counter, made sure my application was filled out correctly and wished me a pleasant stay.

With his help my Visa was quickly approved, I got my luggage just fine and found the shuttle driver without a problem. Overall, a very smooth start to my trip.

Now, knowing what I know now I feel like I was a jerk to the guy. However, I still think it was dumb to go with him in the first place. Note to self – don’t wander around with strangers, no matter the country.


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