Monday, March 11, 2002

The Hilton was very nice. Of course, a bed of nails would have seemed comfy after our travelling ordeal. But, it was everything you'd expect from a Hilton. It's round tower creates pie-wedge-shaped rooms.

Nairobi Hilton's tower Nairobi Hilton entrance

Nairobi is a bustling city of over 2 million people. At times, the downtown core near the hotel seemed to be bursting at the seams with people! Here's the view out the window of our third-floor room. Note the people walking right in the street in the photo at right. Jaywalking is a concept that simply doesn't exist here.

View from our room View from our room

On our city tour, we visited Karen Blixen's house. Better known by her pen name Isak Dinesen, she was portrayed in the movie Out Of Africa by Meryl Streep. They filmed the exteriors for the film here, but the interiors of the house were re-created on a soundstage.

Karen Blixen's House Karen Blixen's House

The grounds around the house are very lush and beautiful. This view looks from the house across the backyard toward the Ngong Hills. Ngong is the Masai word for knuckles, and given the row of bumps across the top of the ridge, it's a very good name.

Looking towards the Ngong Hills

Our next stop was at the Giraffe Centre, home of several endangered Rothschild's giraffes. You go up to the deck on the second floor, so you can interact with the giraffes at their eye-level. Food pellets are provided so you can feed them.

Nairobi Giraffe Centre Nairobi Giraffe Centre

They're very slobbery but gentle eaters, and their tongues feel like a medium-coarse sandpaper. Here are Wendy and Mark taking their turn. Carol (taking the picture in the background behind Mark) had joined us on the city tour. She and her husband Paul would be the other passengers in our safari van starting tomorrow. Poor Paul spent today tracking down his lost luggage; it finally arrived a few hours later.

Wendy feeds a giraffe Mark feeds a giraffe

This evening, we had a culinary adventure at the aptly-named restaurant called Carnivore. All-you-can-eat grilled meats are the order of the day here! As you can see from the menu, in addition to beef, chicken, pork, etc., we also had the opportunity to sample two game meats: crocodile (it really did taste like tough, white-meat chicken!) and eland, the largest antelope in Kenya.

Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi Carnivore's menu

The food is cooked -- quite dramatically -- on large skewers around an open flame at the entrance to the restaurant. The servers then bring the skewers right to your plate. Here's Mark being served some delicious eland. I'd describe the taste as a cross between beef and venison -- I thought it was so good, this was the only meat that had me asking for seconds!. The restaurant seems to have a sense of humor about itself, too. Each table has a small flag on it, and they tell you to knock the flag over when you're ready to surrender, and then the servers will pass you by.

Mark being served eland Game meats roasting on an open fire...


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