Kenya

How Do You Know You Are In Nairobi

Some of the ways you know you are in Nairobi:

1.Greetings: First things first, dear travelers drop the Jambo! I know google says it’s how we say hello but seriously drop it. No one says jambo at all.  Are we together? Try saying “Sasa, Habari or niaje” but please in the name of what’s good drop the jambo. It’s odd and screams hey! Scam me. I am a foreigner. Okay not really but do not jambo anyone. Officially we speak English and Swahili, but we also have Sheng, a language that combines the two.

2. Matatu Culture: One of the things a first timer will notice is the dominating colorful matatus that blast loud music. Matatus are more than a means of transport; it’s our culture and matatu owners in Nairobi are extra with the vehicles. I am talking gigantic flat screens that hang inside the vehicle extra. It’s like a party bus that’s on the move with speakers that blast loud music. The exterior is also a sight to behold with graphics that are designed to send a message. Although most of the time matatus are a nuisance, it’s hard to imagine Nairobi without our party buses. Want to experience this culture? Why not get a Nairobian to take you on a nganya ride? Your ears will be bleeding by the time your trip is up.

A matatu- Notice the drawing of Bob Marley on the side?

3. Clubs: Nairobians throw the sickest parties. Well, after Ugandans in Kampala but Nairobians are pretty good competition.  Thursday is the new Friday and Sunday is the new Saturday with “Sunday school” having a whole new meaning.

a club in Nairobi

4.Pickpockets, scammers, and petty thieves: Now that we are on this topic, if you ever see me at the CBD walking, please do not tap me from the back or try to surprise me, I kid you not I will scream. In fact, let this rule apply if you ever see me anywhere in Nairobi. I am not paranoid. The city is nicknamed NaiROBBERY for chrissake!

5. Religion:  It plays a huge role in most people’s lives. If you are not religious at all and you like your sleep then do not make the mistake of living next to a mosque or a church otherwise heaven will provide an alarm for you. A human alarm.

6. Football: There is a rivalry between Arsenal fans and Manchester United fans. It’s always been there since the 90s such that there is a song dedicated to this rivalry. It’s interesting. The rivalry, not the song. Yes! It’s that serious. Fans invest feelings and money. They win? They drink to celebrate their victory. They lose? They drink to drown their misery. So at what point do they not drink? Refer to number 3 above.

7.  Road Trips: Weekends are perfect for road trips in Nairobi. You can easily get away for the weekend to nearby towns like Naivasha, Nakuru, Nanyuki or better still take the SGR to Mombasa.

 

How to know you are in Nairobi
The standard gauge railway to or from Mombasa

 

8. Thrift shops: Dress like a hobo and set to shop in gikomba, ngara or toi market. Maybe do not dress like a hobo but it will work in your favor if you do not “look moneyed” by the way you dress. If you do not know Swahili, you better find a Swahili friend otherwise the sales will automatically level up three times the usual price.

How to know you are in Nairobi
A thrift market in Nairobi

9.Traffic:  Nairobi has terrible traffic. Human and car traffic. Chances of you running into someone’s car is slightly higher than running into someone you know. Yeah, that’s how horrible the traffic.

How to know you are in Nairobi
Traffic in Nairobi is a mess

10. Mobile Money: I am yet to see a system that can beat Kenya’s Mpesa. This mobile money payment is one of the best things that has ever happened to Kenyans, and you can literally go cashless and survive with the money on your phone as most places accept Mpesa payment. It’s fast, affordable safe and very convenient.

11. Social Media: Nairobi is vast with social media, and in my opinion, Whatsapp and Twitter take the lead. Kenyans on Twitter are hilarious. I promise there is never a dull day on twitter if you are following the right people.

12. iPhones: iPhone owners take most selfie mirrors in Nairobi. I am not in the mood to argue with you iPhone owners; I am not feeling well.Photo source: Google

What else announces you are in Nairobi?

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