Thursday, 27 September 2007

Signed and sealed

Huzzah! We have signed the lease. On Monday we will be moving into a beautiful home - 4 bedrooms, wooden floors throughout, gorgeous shady porch overlooking a gorgeous shady garden with a banana grove and two avocado trees... the cynic in me suspects that the plumbing and electrics must be shocking, so good is the place.

The whole process has been lengthy and tedious. There is a tendency in Africa towards the bureaucratic, which can be solved by palm greasing. But, good people that we are, this is not an option for us. So many things cost more and take longer. Anyway, we're there now.

Up next is the process of furnishing the place. This is exciting. In Kenya, custom made furniture is cheap - it's the store bought stuff that costs a packet. Of course 'custom made' doesn't mean 'artisan quality'. The process involves carefully examining a wide range of items usually on the side of a surburban road, dodging potholes and the odd goat, to find a carpenter whose work meets with your approval and then negotiating hard over design, delivery date and, of course, price. We should have our first delivery on Monday - can't wait.

Our freight has made it to Mombasa so far which is heartening. Alas, there is a botteleneck at the port and we will still have to wait a few weeks for delivery. But we're getting there...

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A Broad Abroad

Time for a name change.

This blog is no longer Scottish and the vistas I have more recently been admiring are not of snow capped peaks across wind swept lochs. Although the visual banner may have to wait until I get more organised - wouldn't want to shock you with too much change all at once!

I asked for suggestions for a new name and the definite winner was Stay at Home Dad who came up with two gems:
Ken ya Kenya - which is so clever that I fear those without Scottish (or, interestingly, South African) connections may not get it; and
A Broad Abroad, which it is to be as, being a title which packs well, means I will never have to worry about renaming again.

Asante sana, SAHD!

Life here is going well. Our temporary landlady has taken it upon herself to show me around Nairobi. Yesterday was spent visiting an Indian vegetable market (so brilliant I cannot begin to explain), a roadside furniture market where you can get a full six seater mahogany dining room table and chairs for under $300 (negotiable - everything is negotiable) and a Pakistani butcher (UK Health and Safety would have had a field day there!).

We also may have found a house. But until the lease is signed I will not say more for fear of jinxing it. Suffice to say, if all goes well, I will be a very happy, good woman. With a guest room. And no furniture...

Thank so much for all the comments on my last post. I really look forward to a broadband connection so that I can catch up on your news too soon.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Safe as houses

We're here! And its been quite a ride. In the past month I have walked the ancient ruins of Scara Brae in Orkney, shopped in the souks of Abu Dhabi and Dubai and hand fed a Rothschilds Giraffe. As has Bambi. If she ever tells me her life is dull, I'll just remind her of August 2007.

Now begins the next stage - finding a home and getting settled. Fortunately, we've landed on our feet and found a lovely two bedroomed cottage on a lake as an interim let. It means that we're not in a big hurry to find something right away and can wait to find something right for us. So far, most houses I've looked at have been monumental - full of glass, marble and fake gold or really quite frightening with bathrooms that would leave me uncertain as to my ability to actually get clean in them.

In general, my first impressions of Nairobi are really good - it is beautiful, lush and the locals seem very friendly and helpful. Driving is, um, creative - especially on the routes through the city so we are scouring maps to find backroad routes. But Nairobi seems to have an oversupply of rivers and an undersupply of bridges - nowhere is to be reached as the crow flies.

Shopping here is a doddle compared to Lusaka - everything is available and very reasonable too. I'm hoping to slip in a trip to the Indian market later this week - I hear the fruit and veg are amazing.

We've found a lovely Montessori school for Bambi, which we're trying for a week to see how she goes. Judging by this morning, she'll have no trouble - anything to get out of traipsing around more houses with me!

And I've found an internet cafe - which should allow for the odd, irregular posting until our freight arrives...