Brown bread with Dutch cheese

Bruin brood met oude kaas  1A night out on the town with friends, watching our favourite Dutch talk show, visit to a beauty salon for a pedicure, lunch in town with the girls, swimming laps in the pool, a cup of coffee on the lounger in the garden, a large double bed with crisp white sheets and brown bread with Dutch cheese….
That does not sound like a motorcycle trip through Africa where most nights are spent in a tent. Yet we had all of this and more when we visited our good friends Wouter and Agnes in Nairobi!

From Lake Naivasha we drive on a busy main road towards Nairobi. At first we ride through the Great Rift Valley, but at the end of the morning the road winds up along the steep cliffs at the edge of the valley. Heavy lorries have difficulty reaching the top. The road becomes a two-lane highway that leads through the outskirts of Nairobi. As we drive further into the city, it is getting busier with many cars, ‘matatus’ (minibuses) and ’boda-boda’s’ (motorcycle taxis). We follow the GPS that leads us further into the city until we reach a beautiful green neighbourhood and stop in front of the home of Wouter and Agnes. A beautiful bungalow in a large walled garden with tall avocado trees, tropical birds and two tortoises that scavenge the garden. A beautiful place and a true oasis in the busy city.

Bruin brood met oude kaas  2After a trip around the world of more than one year, Wouter and Agnes settled in Nairobi when Agnes found a job there as a kindergarten teacher at the Dutch school. Initially for a short time, but life in Kenya was good. Wouter found a job at a Dutch flower grower, they moved to a beautiful house, had a son, Seth, and now, nearly five years after they arrived in Nairobi, they are not even thinking about going back to the Netherlands any time soon. The last time we saw each other they came to visit us in Amsterdam. We had only just began to think about making a trip around the world, so we listened with great interest to the inspiring stories about their trip. It is very nice to see them again after such a long time and to hear about their live in Kenya, this time in Nairobi on their lounger in the garden. We join for a late lunch with juice, eggs and freshly baked brown bread with Dutch chocolate sprinkles and even Dutch cheese! As Dutchies we really miss our sandwich with Dutch cheese, so this is a real treat. It tastes heavenly!

The next day I join two friends of Agnes to surprise her with a lunch in the city and a pedicure. All this to celebrate her maternity leave now she is eight months pregnant of their second child. At the end of the morning we step into a bright pink beauty parlour. With soft feet and pink toenails we  leave an hour later to enjoy a delicious lunch with salad, fresh mint tea and chocolate cake. After four months on the motorbikes with mostly men around me, it is great to get pink nails and be in town with the girls and chat about typical women stuff!

And after my afternoon with the girls, Peter also gets his night out with the men. Together with Wouter and Rik, a friend of Wouter, he visits a kick boxing match. A great evening with burgers, beer and lots of flashy shows.

Bruin brood met oude kaas  3We end up staying a few days with Wouter, Agnes and Seth. We sleep in the delightful guest bed, play in the garden with Seth, enjoy the swimming pool of the Dutch school, watch the Dutch news and our favourite Dutch talk show, go out for a lovely dinner, talk endlessly about our trip, their life in Kenya and plans for the future and enjoy more brown bread with Dutch cheese. Wonderful days on which we look back with great pleasure!

On one of the days we were at their place, we went to the centre of Nairobi to the headquarters of Kenyan customs to get a stamp in our passports. We are now more than three weeks in Kenya, so it is about time. Driving in a big city is not our favourite activity, but for a stamp we will have to. Well after the morning rush hour, we arrive at the business district of Nairobi. A long row of buses, matatus and cars is waiting for a green traffic light. Despite the green light, there is no movement, traffic is stuck. Just until the light turns red. At that time the line of cars in front of us suddenly begins to move. This is odd. We ride along with the crowd, ignoring the red light in a very Kenyan way and driving to a roundabout. Then it appears that the traffic lights are mainly hanging in the city as decoration, because the traffic is controlled by police.

The police does not have a good reputation in Kenya. Police officers are known for stopping you for any reason and only letting you go after you have paid a ‘small fee’. A fee that does not disappear into the state treasury, but in their own pocket. At least in part, because the fee should be shared with his boss and the boss of his boss. They know exactly what amount to retrieve at which intersection. So the traffic lights work fine, but disrupt the earnings of the police force.

Bruin brood met oude kaasAt Nyaya House, where the Immigration Department is situated, it is busy. The waiting room is full and there are long queues. Our friend Pim already went to get his stamps earlier that week and let us know by email where we needed to go. According to his instructions we walk past the waiting crowd and go directly to ‘Room 18’. Not even 15-minutes later a kind man stamps our passports: “Welcome to Kenya , enjoy it to the maximum.”

For a stamp in the Carnet de Passage, the “passport” of the motorbikes, we need to go somewhere else. We walk along the high office buildings to the Times Tower. For this part Pim also gave us detailed instructions: first get in line outside for a security check, then get a visitors pass in the left tower, go outside to the right tower, up the escalator to the first floor and ask for “Mister Obonyo”.

Bruin brood met oude kaas  5We find Mister Obonyo in an office behind his desk. He is on the phone and at the same time playing a game on his computer. The sound is on and all of his colleagues and probably also the person at the other end of the line can enjoy the sounds of the game. He refers us to his colleague, Miss Catherine. She takes our passports and carnets and asks where the motorbikes are. When we explain that we left them at the Nyaya House, she looks worried. She was supposed to check the chassis number of the motorbikes, but when we promise we will bring the motorbikes next time (whenever that may be), she takes out her stamp pad. Great, this is settled!

Refreshed and rested after our stay at Wouter and Agnes, we pitch our tent at Jungle Junction a few days later. It is a camp site on the other side of Nairobi that is run by Chris, a German who got stuck in Nairobi after a long motorcycle trip through Africa. Jungle Junction is a place where a lot of overlanders meet, not in the last place because of the great workshop at the site. Among travelers it is well known that you can get spare pares at JJ’s in Nairobi for cars and motorcycles. But Jungle Junction is also a place where overlanders park their vehicle for a long time until they continue their trip. On the camping ground a long line well-equipped Land Rovers and Land Cruisers and as many motorcycles are waiting for their owners to return. The car of Jan and Margriet, who went back to the Netherlands for a short time, is also parked on the property. For us Jungle Junction is the place where Peter can do some maintenance on the bikes.

Bruin brood met oude kaas  4At Jungle Junction we meet Pim. A surprise, because we did not know whether he was still in Nairobi. His car is in the workshop on a jack while the mechanics at JJ’s look for the hole in his tire and try to fix his inverter. His car cannot be moved to the camping area, so he has put up his roof tent in front of the workshop to sleep. We also meet Johan and Ben, two Dutch motorcycle riders who have been riding the world for over 1.5 years (blog). They are now on their way home, because the money has run out. In Nairobi they wait for an Ethiopian visa and a set of new tires. And as is often the case in Africa, it takes just a day or two longer than expected. They have now been at JJ’s for 10 days.

At Jungle Junction we not only work on the motorbikes, but also on the website. The Internet is super fast. Great, because that gives us the opportunity to do some maintenance on the site, to download new software and apps and to Skype with family and friends. To prevent that we are staring at the screens of our computer or iPad all the time, we also take enough time to sleep, cook in the public kitchen of JJ’s, do laundry and exchange exciting stories with Pim, Johan and Ben while enjoying a beer.

Bruin brood met oude kaas  7And we take our time to shop! Nairobi has a number of large shopping malls where you can really get everything (or so it seems when you have been traveling through Africa for a while). The first time we entered such a mall (which was already in Nakuru, on the way to Nairobi), we experienced a slight culture shock. For weeks we had been buying our food in small villages where you ask at a little window in a corrugated iron hut whether they might have bread, marmalade, fruit or matches. Usually they have one of the sought items and you need to go to at least 5 or 6 shops before you have everything you need. In the Nakumat supermarket (which I imagine is the East African equivalent for Wallmart) we could suddenly choose from 15 kinds of toothpaste, 30 kinds of marmalade and 15 different types of water.

For the much-needed variety to our menu we can find exactly what we need at Nakumat. Some pesto, Thai curry paste, brown bread, dried fruit and of course many things we do not really need but which are simply delicious. Since we have no fridge and we cannot keep meat in the African heat, we mostly eat vegetarian meals. The nuts and peanuts that we find in Nakumat are great to add to our menu.

Jungle Junction is located in the beautiful Karen district. The area is named after Karen Blixen, the Danish author of -among others- the book “Out of Africa” (later made ​​into a movie with Meryl Streep in the lead role). At the beginning of the last century she owned and ran a coffee plantation in this area. The plantation has now made way for a large number of beautiful houses, but the home of Karen Blixen is still there. After seeing the movie and reading one of her books (“Shadows on the Grass”), a visit to the house was inevitable. Together with Pim Bruin brood met oude kaas  6we get a tour of the house and the garden. A special house of a remarkable woman, that was definitely worth a visit!

After ten days in Nairobi, we feel it is time to move on, but not because we want to get out of Nairobi. Contrary to what you might think when you hear that ’Nairobbery’ is the nickname of the Kenyan capital, we found it a very nice place to spend some time. We understand very well that Wouter and Agnes enjoy living here. But we also want to see some other parts of Kenya. In a subsequent post you can read about our ’Tour in Kenya’.

Distance travelled to Jungle Junction in Nairobi: 13,984 km (8,689 miles)

Click here to see the photos in this post.

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| Leonie | AFRICA, Kenya

4 Reacties (Comments) - Brown bread with Dutch cheese

  1. Danielle van den Dungen


    Ik sluit me volledig aan bij Honey, we missen je nog iedere dag. Maar vertel ook trots, aan iedereen die het maar horen wil, over die stoere oud-collega die met haar vriend twee jaar op de motor rond de wereld aan het reizen is.




    ps. De bloempen mocht ik pas lenen nadat ik beloofd had hem direct (!) na de jurisprudentielunch terug te geven, of anders….gelukkig is het gelukt 😉

  2. Irish Dave

    Wonderful update, great to hear you are still moving forward. Your blog makes me want to have a good cheese sandwich. Hope our path cross again somewhere down the road. Ride safe, Irish

  3. Honey

    Hoi Leonie en Peter,

    Fijn om te lezen dat het goed met jullie gaat. Ik liep nog een beetje achter met het lezen van je blog, maar ik ben inmiddels helemaal bij. We missen jouw aanwezigheid nog elke dag. Ik blijf je blogs trouw volgen zo heb ik toch nog een beetje Leonie bij mij. De bloemenpen gebruik ik nog steeds.

    Goede reis and travel safe . XXX Honey

  4. Nicola

    Great reading about how far you have come since meeting you in Egypt. We hear you about have a hard time keeping up with the blog. We are having the same trouble. I laughed at your joy at the nakumat. We had the same feeling. Being in New Zealand now we are able to get all the foods we have been missing. I am still not able to eat Indian food even though they have some nice restaurants here. I found my favourite hot sauce in the international section of the grocery store when we arrived in NZ, such excitement over such a small thing. We have rented a car for 2 months so are able to fill the boot with food with out the hassle of carrying it on my back. In a few more months I will open my cupboard at home to all the wonderful sights. The novelty will wear off soon I suppose and will make me want to hit the road again. I can’t believe our year is over. I’m happy to be heading back to canada but it may only
    Be all the stories of summer starting. Can’t wait to read your next post.