Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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8/12/13: relearning to use these zebra crossing things

So, back in the UK!  But via Nairobi which I'd like to tell you about first.

Now, if you were told that you were going to stay in the Safari Club Hotel Nairobi, what vision would that conjure up?  I can answer for myself - a few miles outside the city, with giraffes posing majestically against the skyline.  Well, not quite.  'Safari' is simply the Swahli word for 'journey', so only in English is it associated with game parks and huge long journeys to see lions etc.  So the hotel is actually bang in the centre of Nairobi.

Now, DSM is busy but Nairobi is just totally gridlocked.  Here's a view from my bedroom window, the traffic is totally stationary for, apparently, hours on end (I may be exaggerating slightly);

Other views from the window are below:

Meeting was about the 'Strengthening Education Systems in East Africa' which is the project which took me to Kilifi a few weeks ago.  Jolly good to be able to meet with colleagues from other Aga Khan agencies in this great initiative.

So, straight onto the airport to come to Heathrow!  Have to say, love the results of long distance travel but find the process only just about bearable.  So, a flight which was due to leave just before midnight on Friday actually left somewhat after 2am. on Saturday.  But this doesn't stop the staff asking as you go in, 'How are you?'  Do they really want me to answer that question?  Tired, annoyed, frustrated, the list can continue.  But of course, the required answer is 'Nzuri sana' - fine thank you.  And then the announcement, 'We would like to apologise for the late departure of this flight, this is due to the late arrival of the plane into Nairobi'.  BUT THIS IS NOT A REASON!!!!  It boils down to saying, "This flight is late because this flight is late".  And then the wishes for an enjoyable flight - excuse me?  An 8 hour flight starting at 2am. is supposed to be enjoyable?

But we arrived safely - before computer failure which caused huge problems in the London airports yesterday.  It's cold here, I was expecting that and had several layers of clothing ready:

A slight contrast to my normal short sleeved shirt!  Also expecting an absence of bijajis and taxis offering me rides, and people to speak with an odd accent.  Driving a 'stick shift' (international speak for manual car) again was not as traumatic as I was expecting, just have to remember to put the clutch down when coming to a complete halt.  Nice sense of actually being in control of the car which I don't feel with an automatic - but is great in stop-start traffic.

The one thing so far which has taken me unawares was using a zebra crossing.  I came up to it, looked to the right - and the car approaching slowed down.  What's going on here?  Is he breaking down?  Ah no - that's what motorists do at zebra crossings, I remember now.

So, looking forward to seeing friends and family over the next few weeks.  Delighted to have some cheques waiting for me to pass on to Joshua and family , thank you for your generosity, very much hoping to raise more soon.  Sure I'll have some nice pictures to share in future posts.

2 Comments to 8/12/13: relearning to use these zebra crossing things:

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David Mansergh on 10 December 2013 08:23
Excellent writing Geoff - the bit about the flight made me laugh - you should become a travel writer! What is the watery background in the photo?
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Geoff on 10 December 2013 15:42
Thank you, David, glad you enjoyed the account of the flight, don't know if it struck any chords with your experience? Picture was taken at Farmoor Reservoir near Eynsham, Oxfordshire, a nice place for a walk, even I can't get lost walking round a reservoir! Trust all is well, Geoff

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