Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Kenya - Nairobi, and Dedications

Dedicated to...

Matt - the outstandingly fit numismatologist who flew over Mount Kilimanjaro to have his wretched appendix wrenched out, without painkillers.
Ili - Dreadlocked and debonair, our media magnate with a sharp wit and fascinating sharehouse history.
Erin - The other half of the Zanzibar dreadlocked duo, late night philosopher, and damn tough iron woman.
Magnus and Rachel - Our favourite Norwegian medics, a veritable Viking and extrovert Ethiopian.
Nick and Kaylea - Our English rugby lad and his Kiwi trainer,
Cam and Jenelle - The guitarist geologist with a contagious curiosity for all things African, and the patient patient of improvised bush camp surgery,
Kylie - Biochemist and beauty therapist, world traveller in style, and one of those lucky people who has found what she loves to do with her life,
Anet - Our dear Armenian darling, and one of those rare people who can support anyone through any manner of difficulty,
Sarah - The most dedicated runner of the truck, a gorgeous inspiration, and steadfast support for Matt during the appendix coup of Arusha,
Nicole - Our Canadian truck saint, traveller's social conscience, leaner-upon during evenings of overindulgence, and source of countless stories on all range of topics,
Kristen - Remover of thorns from feet, shark bite restorer, doctor without borders, scaler of Kilimanjaro and especially well-organised traveller.
Helen - Our indomitable truck leader, sous chef, Encyclopedia Africana, designator of nicknames, and CEO.
Vesal - Our driver, a South African with the whole of Africa deeply ingrained in his veins.
and "Modest" Nick.

Nick being born in the year 1987, an event duly recorded in the annals of world history for the life that was to follow. A man of great, if not yet fully defined, vision and ambition, he stems not only from a family of great wealth and royal connections, but from a battler's background of arduous legal conflict and real personal tragedy. Although noted by some for his risque taste in vintage liquor, he will be undoubtedly recalled by others for his tenacious but ultimately harmless domestic disputes with his nearly inseparable travelling companion. A cross dresser, contributor to the overfishing of Lake Malawi, mountain runner, air force supremo, ferocious haggler, generous loaner of five star couches, and wheeler and dealer in black market laundry services, Nick is a man without equal.*

(*Life story may be based on unconfirmed hearsay. All facts stated, if any, are entirely true.)

Thanks to everyone I have travelled with over the past month. It was a wonderful experience, and a real privilege to have met each one of you. Needless to say, if you ever pass through Canberra - or Australia for that matter - please let me know, and I'll be looking forward to catching up with you again. There'll always be a couch at my place for you.

Nairobi was a city of reputed thuggery, extortionate taxis, and highly professional hospitals and hotels.

Our truck mates finally separated, cumbersome luggage was unloaded, and Matt was torn away from his much-maligned appendix. This was particularly interesting as it occurred the day before he was due to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Nick, Ili and Kristen. Foot worms aside for their exotic novelty, this was a real medical emergency, including airlifts! Several of us were able to visit Matt as he recuperated in hospital, accompanied by Sarah who rearranged her travels for him. It was a great show of truck commaderie.

It was also wonderful to spend most of the night dossing on a couch in a five-star suite at the Safari Club Hotel. Real showers! Real soap! Clean towels! Sheer bliss.

My flight left for Cairo at 5am, and with a huge cargo of African artifacts, I arrived in Egypt five hours later.
There I learnt that Tanzanian schillings are completely impossible to exchange for any currency, anywhere in the world. I'm sharing this as it was an expensive lesson that very few people get the opportunity to learn.


Post a Comment

<< Home