Day 2 (Exploring Nairobi)

We ate breakfast and set out to see Nairobi and its landmarks.  Our first stop was the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) Building.  It had armed guards everywhere, something I noticed was very common inside the city.  We gained entry and went all the way to the top. From up there, we could see all of Nairobi.  I met up with my friends, who were on their own adventure, and we took lots of photos together.  

After the KICC Building, we took off to visit the city center market—but not before putting our camera gear back in the vehicles; we were advised that it was not safe for us to carry such expensive equipment there.  As I entered the market, the first thing that immediately caught my eye was some African art.  I was in love with it but I didn’t buy it.  Later, I found out that the exact same art could be bought from other vendors throughout the area.  Apparently, these reprints are very popular.  I did see a Maasai weapon that I absolutely had to have!  The vendor told me it would be 7,500 Kenyan Shillings, which equals about $75 US.  Sensing my lack of experience in such matters, my host mother told me “no, that's too much,” and we walked off.  Later, she went back and purchased the weapon for about $12.00 USD; she explained that it is common practice in those markets for vendors to charge white people(tourists) substantially more money for such items.  So, now I have a new weapon to add to my collection!  One very important thing that I noticed was the stern looks I got everywhere I went.  They weren't hateful looks, nor were they aggressive—just stern.  

After lunch, we headed to the Bomas of Kenya, a tourist village in the Nairobi suburb of Langata.  Our hosts took us there for some hands-on cultural education.  The Bomas (Swahili for “homesteads”) was rather tranquil as I walked around a beautiful forest with replicas of old historical tribal housing and huts.  Each tribe is quite unique with how they construct their huts and where the family members slept.  Each tribe relies heavily on what the landscape provides for them, and we saw a myriad of different techniques.  After walking around the Bomas, we headed to the auditorium to watch the Harambee cultural dancers.  This was really cool.  I'll admit I don’t understand the cultural significance of the dances, but they were absolutely captivating, and at times, even funny!  It was especially great when they pulled people from the audience to dance with them and look foolish.  One dancer brought a burning torch straight to me and told me to touch it.  I have some experience with this, so I quickly put my hand into the fire and then tried to grasp the flame several more times.  Day 2 was over and we headed back to the house for dinner.  It was a good day! 

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