My client, an Italian company, is very thoughtful. I told them that my travel involves an overnight stay in Nairobi and that hotel vouchers were missing from my ticket reservation. They took care and sent me vouchers for Nairobi Airport Hotel. Sounds very reassuring but there weren't any taxi drivers that knew were the heck it is. I got to them because the car sent by the travel company hired by my client didn't show up, of course.
I get a car and a driver “recommended” by an airport guy that says he will take me to the hotel but in five minutes of questioning I realize he knows shit and I seriously consider the possibility that I am being kidnapped. I wasn't, he was just looking for a fare...After ten tries and 20 minutes of driving around the airport the hotel reception picks up and gives my driver directions.
We enter into a slum area and I reconsider my position whether I am being kidnapped or not. I wasn’t, it was just the neighborhood of my “hotel” who proved to be in a closed compound of grey brick buildings looking much like barracks, you know, with those small square windows?
After bumbling through the compound we get thoroughly lost and we just sit tight until a hotel employee (actually THE hotel employee) turns up. We were about ten meters away from the hotel reception entrance that actually had a sign that said “Airport Apartment Hotel” in font Arial 38 points.
After I saw the dirty floor in the small room that was the “reception” I considered leaving and going to another hotel in town but it was really late by now and I decided to rough it. I saw worse in my time as a field geologist. The shepherd huts in the Carpathians didn’t offer toilet paper or hot water or towels either! True, in those days I carried my toilet paper with me …well, a bed sheet can be used as a towel, too if you don’t have a problem about skin diseases. And a cold shower never hurt anyone. Of course, the “hotel”is not actually a hotel. Three smal apartments in the building are being rented out…
The positive was that the boiled spaghetti with tomato sauce that was on offer as diner was soft and waterish and warmish -)) but the Internet was working!! That was really good; I could make fun with my daughter about our day’s experience. She had visited a primate sanctuary near Yaounde. After she told me how the gorillas were cared for and fed I started having second thoughts about evolution.
The entertainment on offer was a selection of Nigerian movies (the ones that have a production cost of USD 200/movie) but anyway, I was tired after the long day and I slept well under the mosquito net and had my revenge on the pesky bastards that were buzzing frustrated about ten cm from my head.
Morning check out was great, with dinner at just 10 dollars so I recommend the Nairobi Airport Hotel to really bankrupt backpackers. Still, I am not one…
P.S. To be fair, when I told my client about the experience he was quite upset and he will make sure the hotel is changed for the return trip!! (another Airport Hotel?;-))