Nairobi in black and white

Back in Nairobi.
More than 2 weeks since we left the Kenyan capital have passed. Enough time that the problems should be resolved on my motorcycle. In between I had talked with Kenyi, the manager of Yamaha Nairobi, and he had told me that they have found something wrong in my cooling system. Turns out the fan gave up on its job. As it turns out to get a new one is quite difficult. I had asked him for a african solution to get a new one, unfortunately with no luck. The mechanics just took the rear wheel apart! Oh great! I'm friendly but clearly, I am not pleased about it. Kenyi understood that, and did say something to his employees. After that we visited the areas where many dealers sell parts, on the search to find the new fan but unfortunately, without success.

What now? He grabs one of standing around 125cc machines, and proposes to drive to another workshop. Finally we get to the KTM shop by Ian Duncan, multiple rally champion of Kenya – so to say a (famous) star. He also has no fan that fits exactly. But we find out that the KTM fan motors are the same as with Yamaha,and that he has a new fan for me, but with a bit of damage to the housing... So we build from this into my old intact motor housing a new KTM Yamaha fan. Not exactly cheap, but it works. In the meantime Kenyi had to go back to his office. Thus, there is at least a partial success that day.

On the next morning we wanted to pick up my suitcase from Geoffriys house. He was not there, but his nephew opened the door for us. We wanted to quickly get my stuff, and take the brake pads from the suitcases directly into the workshop. By lifting the suitcase the front cover came off. OK, the box is open.... but wait ! I have locked the suitcase before we have left them. Someone has broken into the case. I'll clear everything, and unfortunately I must say that I did find some things were missing. My cash reserves in U.S. dollars (200-300 in small bills) and € (100 €), my anti-malaria (expired) tablets (got it from other travelers), my spare memory card for the camera!!!! and my glasses. All gone. We call Geoff and go to his school. He is shocked!. As it turns out later, his brother had guest in the house and those had long fingers. Even Geoff and his brothers were missing things.
In the evening we went once again to Geoff's apartment to have a talk with him and his brother. On the way back I sat on back seat of the Landcruiser, reading the news on my I phone while feeling the freeze from the half open window. Feeling a bit sad about the whole thing. Suddenly a hand reaches through the window and reaches for the Iphone.. Fortunately, I held it in both hands so that the thief had no luck. But I had enough.

Nairobi lives up to its nickname of all honor Nairobbery - the most dangerous city in East Africa!

We stayed one night in the Wildebeest Camp and another night in the Jungle Junction by Chris Handschuh. The Jungle Junction is a focal point of most German traveler and always well attended. Unfortunately, the rainy season had changed the grassy field in front of the house into a muddy mess, so we only stayed one night there. Camping in this mud is not really fun.

I never heard any news about about my stolen things, but we did get some good news. For five days we may stay in Susi's house, a villa in the upscale district of Nairobi, called Karen. We would not mind living like this in our own town. Everyone has his own room, there is a huge living room, a pool, a gigantic and well-equipped kitchen and a spacious garden along with six dogs, and a handful of domestic workers who worry about the estate and our well being. We had nothing against enjoying this lifestyle and catching up on some washing of our clothes and equipment. In the meantime I try to get my hands on my new front wheel rim that I ordered from Germany and that is someplace on the way to me via DHL. So I spend the first half day trying to find out about where to go in Nairobi because now my package could be delivered. And really no different as expected, it will be not delivered to the address I gave them, but to the main post office. But it looks like the package is lost and cannot find its way to Nairobi, it ‘s been only 3 weeks…and Easter was in between. So wait a bit.

In the meantime, we visit the branch office of SolarAid Kenya in Nairobi. That same evening in a disco, we met a television presenter of NTV Kenya and Gwyn managed to impress her with thei dea of the project. So it is that few days later we joined a television crew to the Sunny Money Shop, an outlet for cheap but good solar stuff, sponsored by SolarAid, in Kibera Slum! Since I still wanted to stop by the workshop ,I decided to drive in alone into Kibera after I finish. And what can I say..To walk alone through Kibera, ask for directions and buy delicious food is not really dangerous. Only time-consuming, since one is addressed every 10 feet . Most encounters are friendly, some very cautious, but no rude or unfriendly. Certainly it may be of advantage to be male.. It is a filmed documentary that shows how the cheap products SolarAid the living conditions in slums can change, since normally no "legal" power is available The report can be viewed here:

3 days later I am again in the main post. They even remember me, but could not tell me where my package was , and not only that they tell me it is lunch break and I should sit and wait for 1.5 hrs !After some arguing , one of the clerk ladies decided to be nice and go check in a different department, where the international packages come in. All of the sudden I see her standing there with a green piece of paper that has my packet number on it.With this I may go and queue in front of another window in the post office. After waiting a bit further, I got it !. My package. And I may even open it. No!. I have to open it.Musy show it all the customs officials. And then again seal and give it back to the clerk lady. Now another customs official comes in to calculate or better say estimate the cost for the customs. For this estimation there is no lists of items It is just about 5 minutes of number throwing on the calculator and the final number seemst to depent on the mood of the officer rather than on any official facts and rules. Turns out I have to pay an impressive estimated number of Euro 7.80. This, however, must be paid in the bank. And of course, the bank has already closed.. But I can leave some money behind so that someone I met in Cairo will then go for me and pay this tax fee when the bank opens.. And I even get a receipt. Yeah!. After 3 weeks of waiting I finally get my longed for part.

The next morning I leave early to the mechanics shop to have my new part put in . This will finally complete a new tyre on the front wheel. After lunch, I can pick up my bike again. Finally finished!?You think! The mechanics put my new wheel in wrong turning direction!. The profile of the Heidenaus gave perhaps a different direction, but there is also an extra arrow to the right on the tire that displays direction. They must have seen it, but thought that this must be wrong! Sure, "Engineering and Germany"?! Then, after re fixing this, I took a few stickers from Yamaha Nairobi and finally, I leave the shop with my bike. And I could have gotten a new oil filter… Unfortunately also, no new chain and sprockets.

Unfortunately, however, after only a few kilometers I noticed something is still not right. First, the steering is super, but after a few hundred meters straight ahead and into a first curve is the steering very difficult. Only after a stronger force used directs the machine, then it's off again easily until a bit more straight drive.. It seems that the steering head bearings will be awakened again on this straight set which messes up the fun of driving in the curves. So the next morning it was of to the next workshop. Ian Duncan, I know already and now he also gets time to face my motorcycle. Together with one of his mechanics I build two of the steering head bearings.. The bottom is completely black, the top is not much better. The next day one of his employees went to the city in search of new camps. We use the time a bit to maintain our website again and cruse around in the Matatus. By chance we found a newly opened local restaurant, or better food stall. Delicious food, great Masala Chai and at fair prices. Just as in the surrounding area, not the usual Nairobi price.

And so we have to get going, the owner of the villa is coming back home. We finally sort everything again, I cannot pick up my bike in time from the workshop, so we then leave the property but not Nairobi. We are still missing a few parts for the Land Cruiser. We roam around the streets in the Toyota East Africa as suddenly Allan stands before me. I wanted to call him this evening. He invites us to his workplace to visit directly. Allen is chief designer in the only animation studio in East Africa and motorcycle enthusiast. Since the beginning of the year the BBC shown Tinga Tinga cartoons originate from this studio.Very sweet and very successful. And it is Friday afternoon, which means there will be a screening of the latest episode before it is sent to London. There was cake and beer!

We spend a further week in Nairobi and come back in at Wildebeest. The owners supported us by the fact that we could stock our free pitch andonly need to pay for our food and drinks. Somebody tells the employees in the office that I am an IT professional, and there is more work for me. The Surf PC for guests while running on Linux, the system is so outdated that you can not update it any more. So I had to reinstall it,of course, a Linux distribution again. But that takes time… The operating system must be downloaded from the net which took 3 days of the installation process. We had to start new several times, but in the end it worked out. When I was checking out and and was ready to pay my bill, was as shocked as the cashier to find out that I got credited for my work and instead of paying I received money!

Since I still had a few of the "Big Five" missing on my list, I made the trip to to a breeding center for orphaned elephants with Joella on my bike. Only 12 miles from the center of Nairobi one of the wonderful national parks of this country can be found. Unfortunately, entrance fees to these parks are so high that they break our normal Buggets. But visiting the station is the amazingly cheap and the proceeds go directly to the station for good. And just as it is! We stand transfixed in front of this little giant.We got there just as the feeding time begun and the elephants were excited and energetic. There were fed with huge baby milk bottles. And they get the same milk as for human baby.. they are at least as crazy about it. Directly after feeding they then play with the keepers, cuddle and scare the visitors…this is easily done as all they just have to do is run towards us.

Astonishingly, the little elephants seem to like my motorcycle boots. No idea what they find in them, but my boots got sniffled from top to bottom. They didn’t seem to be bothered that the boots were attached to my legs, and so I came to very close contact with the baby elephants.

That's a successful conclusion to Nairobi!