Published On: Mon, Dec 24th, 2012
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The Grand Tour of Kenya’s Capital City — Nairobi

Just as Hollywood has done an amazing job convincing the world that all of us in America are rich [except the blacks who all live in the ghetto — except Oprah Winfrey], Hollywood has also convinced a lot of Americans that all Africans live in a country called Africa. And they’re all poorer than the blacks living in the ghetto.

Of course my photos from Mlolongo, Kiambu and Wangige doesn’t help the stereotype. And Mombasa, though it has amazing resorts, isn’t quite the most modern city in the world.

But Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is another story.

Nairobi, Kenya Skyline

Nairobi, Kenya Skyline

Skyscraper-Nairobi, Kenya

Lonrho Africa House, home to Lonrho PLC, which has been operating and developing projects on the African continent for over 100 years and historically has been a worldwide conglomerate.

0668NairobiKenya

The clock tower is Parliament; the other structure on the right with the cross on it is the Holy Family Basilica.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family is a Roman Catholic cathedral and basilica dedicated to the Holy Family located in Nairobi, Kenya. The basilica is the seat of the Archdiocese of Nairobi. The church was designated a basilica on February 15, 1982.

 

4095Nairobi-Kenya

Nation Centre

9752IandM

I&M Bank Tower

 

The first thing I noticed was what was missing. Downtown in the city center is extraordinarily clean. Not relative to the stereotype, but it’s really clean. There aren’t any newspapers sweeping down the streets like tumbleweed. There are no trash cans [or as they say — trash bins] overflowing with debris. And since smoking was banned in Nairobi several years ago, there are no cigarette butts collecting at the curb. If you’ve ever been to New York City, well, this is the opposite as far as cleanliness.

Public Smoking Centre in Nairobi, Kenya

But if you really, really, really have to have a smoke, look for a public smoking centre.

 

But what Nairobi succeeds in with cleanliness, it utterly fails with the traffic. When we say we’re stuck in traffic in Washington, DC, traffic is at least moving at a crawl. Even if it’s just 5 or 10 mph, it’s moving. In Nairobi, bring a book. Mzee brought a newspaper. And when it was obvious we were just contributing to global warming but not making any progress in reaching our destination, he just turned off the car. And read the Daily Nation.

Traffic Jam in Nairobi, Kenya

I could’ve taken this picture half an hour later and it would’ve looked the exact same!

 

Since I didn’t bring anything to read, I just looked around. And my goodness does Kenya have some over-sized billboards! And apparently people have been complaining about them for years. And it’s not that Nairobi as hug billboards, but they’re everywhere!

The situation has not be helped by the fact that even streetlight poles, some spaced too close to each other, are now attracting huge advertisements especially on highways and at junctions.

Largely by design and not necessarily by default, regulation of the multi-billion outdoor advertising has remained unclear for long. There has been no national policy, so far, on outdoor advertising which policy would have informed a sound regulation.

To attempt to fill this evident void, financially struggling local authorities have been reduced to watching helplessly as the influential advertising shenanigans erect all forms of sizes and shapes of billboards at any available space within commercial and residential areas.

 

9725CokeBillboard

I only took a couple photos of the billboards. Can you see the guy in the lower right corner (barely) to put the size of the billboard in perspective?

9726KissOfNature

This one disturbs me.

 

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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