Sunday, August 13, 2006

When Everything Goes From Bad To Worse

I am in Nairobi.

After being awake for nearly 36 hours (I do not count plane sleep as actual sleep), I managed to sleep most of yesterday day and all last night. I woke up this morning (if 10:40am can really be counted as morning) groggy and disoriented, yet ready to make some productive use of my time. I had breakfast this morning, including fabulous instant coffee. I will never understand why, when Kenya and Tanzania are two of the largest coffee growing regions in the world, everywhere serves instant coffee. I have heard that the same is true in Nicaragua. I have purchased water and batteries, then came across this lovely internet cafe with browsers that have been updated since 1996. So my productive use of time came to an end as the internet became possible.

The few waking hours I have spent thus far in Nairobi have been pretty miserable. I hate traveling by myself when no one comes to meet me in the airport. As I got off the plane, there were tons of little groups chitter chattering with excitment. I saw men and woman reunited with loved one just outside of customs. What do I have waiting for me? A man with a wooden sign and a piece of paper with my name taped onto it, ready to provide me with service from the airport to my lodgings. He was very excited that it was my first time in Nairobi - since I hadn't slept for 36 hours, I tried to tune his excitment out.

Upon arrival at the hotel, I gave them my Visa card to pay for my room. So what happens? My visa card is declined. Now, this is my bank card. I was just at the bank on Thursday and I have over $6000 dollars in my account, ready to use. So I went to a cash machine - same thing. Checked my email, and one of my automatic payments was unable to go through as my account has been blocked. Why has the bank blocked my account when I am in AFRICA?!?!?! Luckily, I took out enough travellers checks to pay for most of my stay in Kenya. However, those were largely supposed to go towards paying for my permits, so in order to keep doing my research I'm going to have to get cash somehow.

I can't check my bank account online as online services are down. I hate you Washington Mutual. I HATE YOU.

Once my credit card was declined, I had to find someplace to cash in my traveler's checks. In Tanzania, this was easy. In Kenya, more difficult. The FOURTH BANK I went to finally had the means and the willingness to change my traveler's checks for me. It was at this point that I was basically ready to curl up into a little ball on the curb and sob, while rocking myself. But, instead I went back to the hotel, paid for one week, and went to sleep in my room. I woke up only briefly to feed myself in the hotel restaurant. Mmmmm, I did forget how much I like chipatis.

And that's basically where I am right now.

2 comments:

  1. Oh God, I'm so sorry! If it's any consolation, I hate Washington Mutual's online services, too. In fact, I will spit on the WaMu building when I walk home tonight, as a show of solidarity.

    I'm still cheering for you - I hope things get better!!

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  2. Kenya Travel Visa

    As you plan your trip to Kenya, make sure that you know about the visa regulations in advance. We have listed some of the essential points to be considered. However, it must also be noted that the Kenya travel visa regulations are subject to change on a regular basis. So it is always safe to look for the latest updates before going about your planning.

    Citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth countries do not require a visa while traveling to Kenya. However, there are a number of exceptions to the rule. Citizens belonging to some of the Commonwealth countries need a visa to visit Kenya. They can either obtain a visa on arrival at the airport or from any Kenya Embassy or High Commission before departure. Those countries are:

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