Kenya

A few months ago I walked into a kibanda — the makeshift, street-side eateries made of wood beams and aluminum panels — in Uthiru and had my last cup of tea and chapati in Kenya. After eight years of living and working there I had decided to move on.

Tea and chapati in Uthiru, Kenya
Tea and chapati in Uthiru, Kenya

Continue Reading

The Sky is Falling, Travel

Just cruising down the Ibadan – Lagos expressway at 120+ km/h when traffic from the other lane of the dual carriageway suddenly joins ours:

Welcome to Nigeria! This bizarre (but somehow functional) experience came to summarize my general feeling about Nigeria when I spent a few days working there last week. It’s something tragically comic, like, “How can this possibly be normal?

I had intended to write about my experiences — watching Chinese tourists passing wads of US dollars to airport officials, airport security asking for “some Naira” from my pocket during frisking, the unavailability of any coffee except Nescafé, etc — but when I started thinking about it all I realized it was actually just tragic.

Continue Reading

Kenya

There’s hardly a better way to spend a Saturday in Nairobi than touring a 100-year-old tea farm in Limuru. In a city with very few green spaces, Kiambethu tea farm is literally a breath of fresh air — within forty-five minutes you can be away from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi gazing upon a rolling, green sea of tea leaves.

A sea of tea leaves in Limuru, Kenya
A sea of tea leaves in Limuru, Kenya

As if an escape from a loud, dirty city wasn’t motivation enough, the excursion is educational and they even cook you lunch!

Continue Reading

Pictures, Travel

If you like food, history, or architecture, you need to go to Istanbul. With the introduction of Turkey’s new e-Visa program in 2013 and excellent metro connections from the airport, it has never been easier to explore Istanbul as a tourist. You can even see quite a lot during a 7-hour layover through Istanbul.

Now that I think about it, you should probably be ashamed if you haven’t been to Istanbul yet!

Constantinople

After over 1,000 years as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires, modern-day Istanbul is a cultural melting pot with influences from all over Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia — perhaps you’ve heard of Constantinople, established in 324 AD? Nothing is a more obvious reminder of this rich legacy than the dozens of minarets spiking the skyline; beautiful mosques in the unique Turkish style are everywhere you look!

The Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish), for example, is nearly as old as Istanbul itself, and has existed as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, then as a Roman Catholic cathedral, and finally as a mosque. As you can see, the building looks stunning in the afternoon light of Istanbul’s summer:

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Continue Reading