Category Archives: Travel Diaries

Bonjour France! 

For the longest time ever, the romantic notions tied to Paris and the Eiffel Tower have always appealed to me. Those Mills & Boon books I read as a teenager cemented in my mind that falling in love, being romantic, going for long walks, candlelit dinners with clunking of Champagne only ever happens in France, and especially Paris. 

The journey began with a quick detour in United Kingdom, a 21st birthday party attended with full jet-lag and some ski gear shopping thrown in. 

Because of the heavy partying the night before, the shopping was a bit of a chore. Yes, I know. Even I gasped at myself. 

An early morning trek to Gatwick airport was uneventful. The hired car was returned without ceremony and way was made towards the terminal. A quick self-check in, a panini breakfast and a quick stroll around the shops later, we headed towards the designated departure gate. 

Taking off from Gatwick, I could barely see much of what was going on due to the heavy fog but a few thousand feet above in the air and it seemed like I was on the way to Mombasa because of the blue skies and sun. 


I loved how from low visibility we were suddenly flying amongst blue skies! 


We landed at Geneva airport and from there we were going to get a luxury coach to Courchevel. I was like a delighted little child seeing the snow! 


Before we knew it, without any ado, we were suddenly in France. We passed a toll station which indicated that we had crossed the border. 


Before too long we were at the coach station to change coaches to get to Courchevel. 


The French Alps are stunning, no doubt, and I was most certainly in awe of the white mountainous region. I probably thought of every cliched word to describe the breathtaking view, which, by the way, the photographs do no justice to. 


I’m really looking forward to the adventures tomorrow because I’m going to learn how to ski for the first time. More on that tomorrow! 

@kamz26 

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Adventures at Chicago O’Hare Airport 

So the flight from Chicago O’Hare to Newark was delayed by 3hrs. Eventually we boarded, taxied & had to come back to terminal.

This was because flight staff can legally only work fixed hours. Fair enough. Been at carousel for hour & half waiting for baggage.
No sign of bags. Staff gone home. Shuttle to hotel stopped. (Past midnight) On hold to hotel reservations for 37 minutes. Yes. Thirty seven.


It’s 12:25am & we are exhausted. We have precious cargo with us. The bride-to-be!

The next time I feel I lead an uneventful life I should remember this incidence & keep calm. Not like the guy I named John Doe.


John Doe went ballistic talking about lawsuits. I cheered up at his vocal stand. He had the attention of a few of us as we nodded along.
John Doe talked to Tattoo Guy on his way to Vegas. TG gets worked up hearing JD’s story saying he’s been bumped off a flight since 5pm.
JD senses an opportunity to protest even loudly & advises TG ‘you have a case dude’ & carries on telling him more about our dramas.
More protests ensue as they all agree American Airlines is ‘the worst f***ing airline in the whole of America’. Me, I just stare at carousel.
Carousel is spinning but no sign of bags. Passengers from our airline dejectedly start dispersing.
Here I am, blogging all this. I need to sleep. 😲

India – The first impressions

Last week I wrote about my encounter with cows on Linking Road in Mumbai and I was asked what my first impression of the country really was as a Kenyan in India for the first time. I’ve often said I have no known relatives in India. For my family and me, India is just another holiday destination to tick off from the places to see on the Bucket List.

I was in my twenties when I went for the first time. The India I knew was only from Bollywood films and the anecdotes my Mum told us from her very recent trips to India when she had gone for pilgrimages. My eyes would widen and my mind would race in delight as I imagined everything she related to us – from the beautiful temples she visited with historical value right down to Roshan Di Kulfi in the narrow alleys of Delhi, the wonderful tales of shopping in little boutiques and stalls and haggling away until one was satisfied that one had landed a bargain.

roshan-di-kulfi-karol-bagh

I went with the determination to see Mumbai, I wanted to go to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and maybe go to Amritsar, my Mum’s ancestral town and Jallandhar too, my Dad’s family town. Along with that, I had dreams of shopping for Indian outfits, lots of bangles, anklets and a big supply of Lakme eyeliner, which I’d seen in Indian film magazines. Of course, the need to catch up with my favourite Bollywood stars was also on the list.

Lakme Kajal

So here’s what actually happened. I landed in Mumbai and someone ran his trolley on the back of my foot and tore off a chunk with the sharp edge and I hobbled to catch a taxi to get to my hotel. I cheered up to know that the designer Anna Singh who only ever dealt with the colour purple had her boutique opposite my hotel. Later, after a rest, I walked over to Chowpatty beach and watched monkeys do tricks and dared eat a samosa and pani puri from the beach stalls. I survived that! I didn’t get to see Amitabh Bachchan but I did pass by his house and that was sort enough for me to go back home and boast about.

chopatty beach

Hyderabad was an experience and a half. I checked into a palace that was converted into a hotel. It sounded grand when the travel agent talked about it but it had rats in the courtyard! I quickly got into a taxi and went to a more upmarket ‘known’ hotel and finally relaxed. I got myself some pretty pearl necklaces and bracelets from the City of Pearls and then headed towards Punjab.

amritsar_temple

Seeing the Golden Temple has been one of my most memorable moments in life – for some reason I just couldn’t stop crying. I loved being there and loved seeing the places within the Temple that had been narrated to me during religion classes, by my Grandma and Mum too.  I didn’t get to go to Jallandhar but I did visit Ludhiana and also the most beautiful city in India, Chandigarh. I fell in love with the place as soon as I was driven through it and was very impressed at how clean and organised it was.

I will be lying that in this fortnight when I first went to India I didn’t fall ill with horrendous food poisoning. It wasn’t even food I might have eaten from roadsides because after eating at the beach I was warned by the hotel people not to do that or I’d fall ill. I have no idea what triggered my food poisoning but I do know that I was at least three kilos lighter by the time I came back.

Honestly speaking, seeing India for the first time was a culture shock for me. I didn’t speak like them even though I spoke my mother tongue Punjabi and a little bit of Hindi. They laughed at my pronunciation and the way I spoke and I kept telling myself ‘We don’t speak like that!’ and wanted to come back home and say ‘sufuria’ and ‘kisu’ as if they’re Punjabi words. True story. We don’t think twice when we speak a mixture of Punjabi and Swahili and everyone at home understands what we are saying.

India is beautiful, no doubt, but there’s no place like home.

The Travel Diaries – Nairobi to Dubai

Goodness… I just found this old write up lying unpublished. It’s from my trip to Macau earlier this year when I’d gone to cover the IIFA awards. Fun trip!
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It was a hectic weekend trying to get everything in order, on a personal front. I had to get the house plants taken out, the dog food organised, the kids packed off to my parents’ place and I sit here typing this as we fly over India headed to Hong Kong, I’m fretfully trying to recall if the helper had remembered to take out the goldfish or not from inside! I’m sure he did. He’s quite good like that but I always have a tendency to fret that I might have left an electrical appliance switched or something or the other.

The traffic from Westlands to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was completely clear. HAHAHAHA! Ok relax. I’m jesting. How can it be the first of the month, a Monday and there’s no traffic? I was in a taxi and at one point in an hour we barely moved a hundred metres. I got to the airport on time surprisingly and well before Naftali who is accompanying me on this trip to Macau for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards. Dharmesh, our lucky winner from East FM was stuck somewhere in traffic.

Eventually Naftali caught up with me and we went to Java to get a drink of water. And have a giggle at the glass counter that seemed to have croissants in abundance. Us Kenyans and our sense of humour!

We embarked the plane and had an uneventful journey to Dubai, where we waited for an hour (in the plane, unfortunately!) as we refueled and picked up more passengers towards our final destination, Hong Kong. We will be getting a ferry to go to Macau.

I’m writing this draft as we are flying over Kolkata, according that map that shows us where we are in real time. I’m really tired and sleep and this thing of being cramped for so long in my seat is getting to me. I’ve been walking up and down the aisles to keep the circulation going and even went right to the back to have a chat with the stewards. By the way, I’m loving the attention and polite service on board our national carrier, Kenya Airways.

I’m thinking of indulging in yet another mindless nap as Naftali gently snores on the seat next to me. He’s in denial about it, by the way.

I guess I’ll post this as soon as I find an Internet connection! Let’s catch up in the next Travel Diary.

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Finally at Hong Kong airport…