Exploring Nairobi: Coffee, Nightlife, Brunch, and Fun

I finally ventured out of my guest house cocoon this past weekend (3/13-3/14) into the unknown districts across Nairobi.  Soon after arriving in Kenya I discovered a facebook group of expats living in Nairobi.  This past weekend was the first opportunity I had to join in some of their social events.

Jack, ALARM's logistician and driver, dropped me off at Westgate mall in the Westlands to meet the NES group for coffee at Artcaff√®, it was a bit like being dropped off at the mall by my dad.  I intended to call a taxi to pick me up, but my Kenyan colleagues despair what might happen to them if something happens to me.  They fear what my dad would do to them if I were to wander aimlessly in Nairobi lost.  Clearly, they have not met my father, who is not an intimidating force (except of course on the witness stand I'm sure or to opposing attorneys who have called him "the biggest baddest boy in Texas," which does not crack my mother and I up in the least...).  Conversation and coffee was good, dinner and drinks after were even better.  I went with a few of the guys from the event to dinner at the Black Diamond followed by people watching and fun at Havana and Casablanca.  "Mosquitoes," the nickname for maurading women at these clubs, were out in force and I had quite a bit of fun playing Pro or No throughout the evening.

Despite a relatively late night I made it to brunch the next morning, got to know some more NES people, and then a friend and I drove around the different neighborhoods of Nairobi.  We started at the National Museum (knocking #4 off The List) and walked through the gardens and admired the art. 
The museum itself was rather expensive to go in and from a previous boring experience at the National Museum in Butare, Rwanda, we decided to pass on the tour.  From there we drove through most of Nairobi and up to the Karen Estates neighborhood.  It's named for Karen Blixen, Danish author of Out of Africa.  We stopped for an iced tea at the Karen Blixen Coffee Gardens, site of the original hunting lodge/farm house on the Karen Blixen estate and near the restored house turned national museum where she lived from 1914 to 1931.  Sitting on the patio of a large, turn-of-the-century house felt like a country club atmosphere and could have easily been somewhere in Dallas, yet as we left we drove past the Nairobi National Park filled with rhinos, giraffes, and more.  I kind of knocked #15 off the list on the way out as well, as you can see by my picture below.

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