Things I’ll Miss

As I pack up ready to leave Nairobi, these are the things I’ll remember fondly

  1. "How are you?" – it only takes a few seconds, but how much nicer to preface each encounter with a friend or stranger with a short enquiry into their wellbeing or news
  2. Monkeys – they may have nicked bananas and bread from my kitchen, terrorised my cat and genally caused mayhem, but having monkeys in your garden is pretty cool
  3. Stars – the night sky is completely different here, with barely a spot of darkness between the fine mist of white dots and bright galactic smears
  4. Tea – from black, sugar-loaded brews favoured by govt officials in Khartoum to milky, sugar-loaded mugs made by Kenyan farmers, African hospitality can’t be beaten
  5. Jacarandas – most African cities are a bit of a mess, frankly. They are difficult to love. Until the Jacarandas blossom, turning grubby streets into glamorous, purple-edged boulevards
  6. Safaris – Africa is big. Very big. But getting from A to B can be fun if you are not in hurry and prepared to turn up the music and soak up the epic scenery along a roadtrip
  7. Markets – want a 1940s Bakelite telephone, tomatoes, head of baby crocodile turned into an ashtray, Nottingham Forest 1992 away strip, cheap Chinese radio? You’ll find them all here
  8. Cousins – my taxi driver’s "cousins" have helped me move house, eased process of gaining  a work permit, tracked down Obama relatives, confidential documents and much, much more
  9. Goats – surprisingly tasty if you can persuade the chef to serve it a little pink. Livers, fried up with a bit of onion and green pepper, should be a delicacy anywhere in the world
  10. Matatus – or whatever else they may be called might infuriate me when I’m driving, but these minibus taxis trailing thumping tunes and acrid fumes are always filled with life