While it may seem like all our weekends involve exotic animals, overnight train adventures, and ghost towns, we spend our fair share of time in Nairobi, looking for local things to do. And sometimes, despite our best efforts, we just have a fail of a weekend. Last weekend was one of those weekends.
After some research, we decided that we would go to Alliance Francaise to see a play called Madame Kenyan President. I love watching live theater, and we figured it would be fun to see a play in Kenya. We were wrong.
First, we almost didn’t make it to the play because we couldn’t find the venue. Nairobi is tricky like that. Streets aren’t always marked, and the maps are inaccurate. We wandered around the central business district and asked for directions about six times before we finally stumbled across the Alliance Francaise.
The play itself was also a disaster for us. The actors and actresses spoke in Kiswahili about half of the time. I could pick up a few words and phrases, but generally had no idea what was going on. Even their English was hard to understand because they spoke so quickly and with thick accents (to our ears). Let me tell you, there’s nothing like watching a play you don’t understand to really make you feel like an outsider. We ended up leaving early, mentally exhausted from trying to follow the plot.
Next, we went to the Kite Festival. Of course, we got lost on our way to the Kite Festival, too, at one point finding ourselves at the Golf Club of Nairobi. (Apparently our taxi driver got “Golf club” and “Jockey club” mixed up– the kite festival was held at the Jockey club.)
In my mind, I had a specific image of what a kite festival should look like, namely that it should involve kites. Probably lots of kites, preferably flown by professionals. Wrong again. The kite festival was a sad-looking collection of tents, and several port-a-potties. There wasn’t a kite to be seen. I would have more to report, except that the festival organizers were charging 750 Ksh to get in (I could get two pairs of Bata shoes for that amount!). Instead, we walked back to the main road and took a matatu home.
These fails make me more grateful for the multitude of high quality, and often free, events that take place in big cities in the U.S. And lucky for us, there’s always another weekend in Nairobi, so here’s hoping we find some great entertainment.
Photo by: sailn1