Some time in July, I made a one-week trip to my old city- good-old Nairobi. The weather was harsh; too harsh I can’t even begin to describe the socks, camisoles, jackets, sweaters and scarves I wrapped myself in before getting under the light duvet Meridian Hotel had to offer.
Back to Meridian; this hotel, in all ways,
is convenient- located right in the city centre. The first time I was at the
Meridian, the hotel was undergoing major renovations; the rooms were dusty,
carpets seemed damp, TV signal poor, the view from some of the rooms give the
otherwise beautiful Nairobi City a bad image! And the noise, especially the
early Morning Prayer call right outside the window; the lifts were the type
that you’d imagine would stop halfway and keep you in there for a few scary
Going to Nairobi is almost, always a pleasant experience, even if I’m going for one of those office-related trips where the tight schedule makes it impossible to catch up with friends and family! I attended part of my education in Kenya; the other part in Uganda and my formative years in Sudan. Each of these countries, I proudly call home.
Nairobi, however, holds special memories because university experience is probably one of the best years - with no high school-type rules (well, minimum rules). In the United States International University (USIU) where I spent four fantastic years (and the same Meridian Hotel used to be our school pick-up point BTW), we would grumble about certain regulations. One such rule was ‘no alcohol in the rooms’ but that rule was broken by even humble souls like me! USIU is the party animals dream destination. Lectures ended on Thursdays and Fifi’s Club, located near the university gate, would be raided immediately after the last lecture!
|Hopefully, they are going in there to study and do useful research.|
|Some day I should go back and 'experience' this beautiful building.|
|The USIU hostel where I spent four years brings back wonderful memories.|
There were many parties—right from the Orientation party, the Director’s (now chancellor) BBQ, mini Olympics, cultural galas, etc. The trips; yes, those ones: Masaai Mara, Mombasa beaches, graduation dinners, etc, and of course Club Sting at Safari Park Hotel and the marvellous Carnivore. What I liked about Carnivore was that the school bus dropped and picked students...I wonder if that still happens, though! God Bless Vice-Chancellor of Dr Freida Brown for making our stay there so memorable!
|The Yearbook reporters and editors...Beautiful locks (far left front row).|
|A photo Journalism class trip to Naivasha. My friend Pat (Left) is doing well for herself.|
|The reading table in my room at the Meridian.|
This time, however, the hotel’s general outlook was much better. The rooms were clean and seemed more spacious, the lifts were nothing to be afraid of and the reception staff was very friendly and courteous. But if Meridian improved in certain areas, the services are still wanting. Basic requirements we were entitled to were not provided in our rooms (even after requests they be provided). The hotel waited for the last night of our stay to pamper us with everything we deserved! It was not just annoying but very patronising and I’m embarrassed on their behalf...
A colleague from Rwanda who could not tolerate the food would frown each time his meal was served (and I don’t think he even realised it). He amused us when he said the word ‘BAD’ did not begin to describe that food!
That aside, it’s always good to visit Nairobi. Even with the tight programme, I squeezed time to see a good old friend. It was nice catching up with Julie, a hilarious woman who says it as it is—and that’s what I like about her. No pretence; just frank talk... I hope my next visit to Nairobi will be longer, just so I can visit more friends and spend more time with my big sister’s family!