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Spent a busy day at Nairobi. Met several prospects in different areas of city.
The Omicron factor kept cropping up. The travel advisories we’re changing every hour.
Omicron apparently started from South Africa, but cases were soon detected in diverse geographies. South America, North America, Europe, Australia, UAE were reporting cases though these were still isolated, not widely spread. However, the pattern was worrying. We were in East Africa and did not want to get stuck there due to ever changing travel restrictions. We decided to cut our stay short and get to Dubai, the last leg of our tour. We asked our travel agent to find a seat for us a day earlier. We were going to take Kenya Airways from Nairobi to Dubai. After much ado (about nothing), he got us seats on next day’s flight.
The challenge now was to get the PCR done and reported within 12 hours. We contacted Aga Khan Lab in Nairobi who said we had to go to the main Hospital for PCR. They also said their reporting time was 24 hours. We searched other approved labs. One said they could give report in 3 hours at a higher price. Otherwise, we would get the report in 24 hours. They also said the lab would close to public dealing in one hour. So, we rushed and got the test done. The report promptly arrived in three hours and one critical condition was met. This was our fifth PCR since we started travelling.
COVID PCR is the new expense added to the already heightened cost of travel. While we paid 6500 rupees in Pakistan, we paid 131 US$ for uploading to Nigeria immigration. We paid 100 US$ for the test to be done within 48 hours of arrival in Lagos. We paid about 100 US$ next day for PCR prior to travelling to Nairobi. We paid 100 US$ at Nairobi for PCR to Dubai. Had another PCR upon arrival in Dubai which was done without paying there. We must have paid in some other form. Finally, we paid 125 UAE Dirhams for PCR before travelling from Dubai. It is a heavy bill when we add up just the PCR bills. The hassle, the time, and the handicap of not being able to travel quickly are non-monetary costs.
I did not mean to bother you with these trivial details, but these have become critical for anyone who is planning to travel. Please keep the time and budget for PCR.
The food that Nairobi boasts about is Nyama Choma. It translates into ‘roast meat’. Kenyans also boast about being big meat eaters. Our host told us that the Maasai tribe people who are among the most well-known and major population, eat meat only. They don’t eat vegetables or other things. It may be so because they are among the oldest hunter-gatherer people.
Nyama Choma is served as several courses of different meats which are roasted on long, thick iron skewers, or grilled over charcoal flame. We could not enjoy this dish in this trip due to shortage of time, but I had the opportunity to take it in my previous trips. Our then host took us to a traditional place on the outskirts of Nairobi. It was a large open place. The show started with the traditional African/Kenyan dances performed by troupes. African dances are very high energy dances which can be performed properly by Africans only. Sometime during the performances, the roasted meat serving was started. The servers came with the long skewer on which a large piece of meat was roasted. You could take the quantity you liked. The meats served on that evening included beef, goat, chicken, crocodile, ostrich, gazelle, and pork. Minus the last one, it made a great meal, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The number of Muslims in Nairobi is also quite significant. There are several mosques within the downtown area from where Adhan was aired openly through loudspeakers. The market around one mosque was largely run by Muslim me, women, boys, and girls. We went to get few printouts and the girl who attended us was Muslim. We went to change currency and the girl there was Muslim. The point I am raising is that Christians, Muslims, and other faiths are living peacefully side by side. I may remind you that Kenya is predominantly a Christian country; over 80% population is evenly divided between Catholic and Protestants. On the contrary, we cry ourselves hoarse about being Muslim majority country and we have least tolerance. We have no respect for other religions who are a tiny minority and who are already powerless and marginalised. I fear that someday an aggressive, power-hungry maulvi will start running the campaign that non-Muslims in Pakistan’s must pay ‘Jiziya’ because they live in our Muslim country. Of course, such making shall be contested by the saner elements of society. The government shall also protest meekly, as it often does. But it will further polarise the society and disrupt peace. I pray it never happens.
It was continuously raining in Nairobi since early morning, and we were concerned that the already long route to airport would become even longer. However, our expert driver brought us to airport in almost usual time. We found that we had several hours before the flight.
On the 2nd of December, we took off from Nairobi airport and reached Dubai after midnight.
To be Continued……