Kenyan in London

It was the 10th of November 2018. I had just landed in London from Mumbai, it was the first time I’d flown business class(we have got to come back to this experience later you guys… ), first time in London and I was there to receive an award, so basically #GoodFeels!

While on the immigration queue, an Indian guy behind asks one of the lady working there (I later found out her name was Anab – a Somali young lady) if he could skip the queue because he had a baby… boy you should have heard the response 😱
Anab: No, stay on the queue. What is wrong with people these days? Next he’s gonna say I’m pregnant
All this very loudly .. at this point I was thinking woahhh.

Ya3ni, I understand everyone has got to be on the queue but perhaps just say it politely? No? Okay.

So I reach the immigration lady and it was a black sister probably in her 40-50’s, I can’t tell, Black don’t crack.

I give her my landing card and she notices there’s a part I’d left out (which i hadn’t seen while filling it 🤦🏽‍♀️). Soo I ask if she can help me with a pen… woiiii..

Immigration lady: is this your first time in London? Are you traveling alone? (I figured she assumed I was a teen).. didn’t your mama teach you to use please and thank you
Me,shocked me: 😱 I’m sorry ma’am, I did however say please (note: she hadn’t given me the pen yet, she was rolling her eyes looking at her colleague expecting some support which wasn’t coming her way).
Immigration lady: I bet you haven’t travelled anywhere before. For someone’s first time here, you sure are pushing your luck
Me, thinking: What the hell is wrong with this lady?! Did someone who looks like me hurt her (by that I mean, a teenage looking Muslim Arab’sh girl)? What is it? But I smile politely and take in the entertainment.. (I was sorta getting angry because it was already midnight India time and I was tired). She then tells me to go back to Anab and ask her for a pen to write that ONE line I’d missed 😂. So I walk back and in my head thinking how Anab is about to hit me with that attitude (at this point I still don’t know her name).

So I go to Anab and say ‘excuse me ma’am, could you please help me with a pen’.. she looks at me and says(very loudly with a very conc Bri’ish accent), ‘sure love, wai’ a sec, did you jus’ call me Anab?’

She had a huge smile on her face and looked like she wanted to hug me. I’m confused by her change of attitude but happy of course. Then she realizes I called her ma’am … for small talk’s sake I ask, is your name Anab? It would have been cool if I guessed it. She smiles etc and in a second, I wrote that bloody hotel name, thanked her and went to the next attendant who was an old Indian man, extremely kind and welcoming. Anab at this point almost blew me goodbye kisses.

Now I’m in the car thinking, what the heck is wrong with this place? Are people only nice to their own? Must there be a reason to be kind to someone?

Kenyans, I love you!

Or maybe it’s because I’m Kenyan and they’ve been nice to a fellow Kenyan too so it’s the same thing? Is it?

Have you had such an experience?

(This piece was written on my taxi ride to the hotel the same night, fresh feels. Note: within my stay in London, I met extremely awesome people who changed my perception of Londoners (like Clooney ,HA) but this experience was quite something.)
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Halal Travel

“A woman cannot travel alone.”

That statement is among the most famous one that hit me when I started #SoloTravelling, so let’s tackle that first, shall we? 

It is permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram provided the way, destination and return journey are safe and provided she does not meet with any harassment jeopardizing both her safety and religion. This has been agreed upon by many Muslim leaders but also, through hadiths: It has been narrated through ‘Adiy Ibn Hatem (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet told him, “And if you live a long life, you will surely see women traveling from Hira till they circumambulate the Ka’ba, fearing no one except Allah” [Bukhari and others]. Imam Ahmed’s report of the hadith includes: “By He in whose hands is my soul, verily Allah will bring this matter [Islam] into completion till women travel from Hira and circumambulate the Ka’ba without being accompanied by anyone.’

 

Now I understand that there’s different opinions but post Quran and Hadith being our sources of knowledge , the third and fourth is Ijma and Qiyas so I’ll leave the rest to you. Allahu ya3lam. With that said, let’s talk about halal travel and that one place I’d highly recommend as at now. 

 

 

I’ve had the opportunity to travel to quite a few cities in many countries like  South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Tanzania, England, Canada, Malaysia, UAE, India (I lived here for almost a year so this one deserves an entire blog but let me not digress) and Kenya. I should have started by saying, hi, I am Ibtisam, also known as @hijabeefied on the instagram streets. I am a Kenyan woman who enjoys exploring and recently discovered solo travelling. I am one of those people who believe travelling makes you rich. But this isn’t about me… Must admit, writing these countries down got me excited. Now I’m thinking of my next holiday which is coming soon, in shaa Allah

 

Out of all the places I have visited, my most pleasant and highly recommended that fits halal travels would be LAMU. I have been to Lamu thrice now. Before going back in 2019 with 8 of my friends, I’d been there 10 years ago when I was young and broke (I probably still am but hopefully wiser, we won’t dwell on that). I’d recommend it for both a solo traveller and group travels. Lamu is an archipelago along Kenya’s coastline, about 240 kilometers from Mombasa and an hour’s flight from Nairobi. An archipelago basically means its made up of many islands. While there’s many little islands within Lamu archipelago, Shela within an Island called Lamu is my fave spot. (Fun fact: Lamu archipelago has an island called Lamu and the island called Lamu has a town in it called Lamu! Yes! You gotta be specific when you mention Lamu :D) .

For Shela, the beautiful sandy beaches, the food, the beautifully designed villas (Airbnb is the plug), the coral walls with the tiny lanes and the affordability of it all makes it such a dream. If I must say, the sun sets differently in Lamu (the island, ha.. )… its breathtaking. I must also mention, there are no cars in Shela. Not a single one. There are about two government owned ones in Lamu town and that’s about it (one is an ambulance). The streets are tiny. People walk and goods are transported on donkeys. Ah, so rich in history. Aside from the new beautiful villas, that island has managed to retain its culture and history and it’s all so beautiful.

If you haven’t been to Kenya, Muslims only account for about 11% of the population, most of whom are concentrated along the beautiful Coastal region. This is what makes the Coast very halal friendly. In case you are wondering what on earth ‘halal friendly’ means, well, I am here for this:

1. Access to masjids: It means you have access to prayer rooms or masjids every other corner. The home you choose to stay will gladly show you the qibla too. No need to stress on missing salat while on a tour. This was something I struggled with in London as I found inclusivity and diversity there to be more theoretical than practical. I remember being told to use the changing rooms in malls to pray because there’s no prayer room nearby. But that wasn’t the worst, I was in a hotel for an event once and the receptionist told me to use the washroom to pray because… erm.. what is inclusivity? Those aren’t problems you’ll have in this island.

 

2. Access to halal food: Halal food is norm, one could go as far as saying, you’ll only get halal food in Lamu but that’ll be pushing it. Most of the hotels only serve halal food and some don’t even sell alcohol. While I love fish, I struggled once again in London when most of the food joints didn’t have halal options so I could onlyyyy eat fish! I WANT TO CHOOSE IT not forced 😀 Anywho, seafood is a specialty in Lamu, fresh and so affordable. Order for a fresh lobster from the ocean before you go for a swim then come have it for lunch! I know, yum!

 

3. Modesty wear: Swimming in a burkini will not get you kicked out of the beach nor get stared at awkwardly like in France. The struggles covered Muslims have in this world, alhamdulillah. Walking in an abaya or modest outfits will not make you feel uncomfortable because the entire island is modest anyway 😊

 

4. Activities: There is a variety of activities that can be arranged for you, including sunset sailing, island tours, water sports, meeting locals, yoga classes, cooking classes, heena application… Basically, activities that won’t leave Muslims feeling left out.

 

I hope this little piece makes you want to visit Lamu 😊

Have you visited any place that fits into my description of halal friendly? Let me know

 

What ‘they’ don’t tell you

On a previous #ThoseAvoidedTopics episode from Hijabeefied, we talked about periods. A lot of you shared your two cents and we had a great conversation ✊🏽

I’m here to share a little about MY story on this. I got my periods when I was 13 and didn’t have cramps then. None whatsoever. I started experiencing intense cramps when I was over 18 and I was told ‘Wanawake wengine huwa waumwa hivyo. Ukishazaa itakwisha’(some ladies tend to have such pain. It’ll end once you get a baby). Now there’s some ladies who actually attest to this story, indeed their cramps ended post a baby 🤰🏽Yet for some, they can’t get pregnant to begin with 😏 without knowing those cramps had a link to it. The famous ‘they’, don’t tell you the WHY behind the cramps because they too, have always gotten a meh explanation.

Severe cramps could be caused by so many different reasons and perhaps seeing a gynae, a good one , is a good first step.

The reason I call out a GOOD one is because last month, after a lot of procrastination, I decided to once again seek for help. I get severe cramps. I must admit it’s better now alhamdulillah than it used to be a few years ago. Then, I fainted, missed a day of school/work for sure, had to go for injections and drips every month .. it’s not the same anymore. Anywho, so I see this gynae at Aga khan and without doing any test, simply by asking me a few questions, decided to prescribe meds. So because I’ve seen a few doctors on this before, I dare to ask ‘what are you treating me for? Don’t you want to do some tests?’ 😂 her response was ‘we could.’ Sorry what? We could?! Ya3ni what is this? How was she giving me meds just like that? Are you treating cysts? Fibroids? Hormones? Endometriosis? What are the meds for? Anywho, out of respect. I politely smiled, took the prescription and left. I also threw it once out but oh well.

This month, I went to see another doctor. Her name is Dr. Baleth and she’s based at Nairobi south hospital. Girrrrrrl, I don’t know whether her diagnosis and solutions will work for me or not but I highly recommend her. She sat me down and explained all the possible causes of my pain and how we should tackle this one at a time. She also has her own ultra sound machine so you don’t need to go pay someone else at the imaging center nor queue for it because she does it right there! May Allah bless her soul and continue to grant her knowledge that will help the ummah. (Edit because I’m getting questions on it: you don’t need to book an appointment. First come first serve. The hospital is in South c).

Incase you’ve got any gynae related issues, I’d highly recommend her!

For all those suffering from whatever it is Allah is testing you with, I pray Allah gives you ease. Allahuma ameen.

Lamu trip

I went to Lamu in September and the frequently asked question was: how much did it cost for the Lamu trip?

Tbh, MY answer to that question might not help you very much so I’ll try answer it in a way that can help you plan both Lamu and wherever else you wanna visit.

Travel: I booked my September flight to Lamu in April #SaveThemCoins. Earlier the better, just don’t cancel later hey (I’ve booked my January flight in July already). I used Skyward for Lamu and we knew we were choosing a cheap option but girrrrl, if you ask any of the girls I traveled with they’ll tell you it was horrible. The flight had those tiny cockroaches, the aircon had issues and we were visibly sweating, but I guess that’s what you pay for? It shouldn’t be but oh well! I hear SafariLink is your best bet from Wilson (I used it once to Kisumu and don’t have any complaints). The return ticket was 12k. You could however consider a road trip. Take SGR to Mombasa and Tawakal bus to Lamu(I guess if you have a squad that long trip might be cool? And cheaper!).

Accommodation: this really depends on how many you are. We were NINE (everyone is surprised how we managed to get a group of 9 girls to actually align on travel dates and do it 😂, we also didn’t kill each other despite staying together for a week and as one of us called out- even though 2 of us were on our periods- HORMONESSSSS, we had a blast!).. I digress as usual. Since we were 9, we got a 5 bedroom villa which cost about $350 a night which technically means it’ll be about kshs 3000 per person per night, a steal! Now because I don’t expect everyone to find 9 people to travel with, what my girl Luchi and I do when we travel, we spend lots of time on Airbnb app then booking.com. Just put in the number of people you are and your budget, Khalas 🤷🏽‍♀️ it is the PLUG! I recommend you stay in Shela part of Lamu cause its pretttyyyyyy🖤

Other: food in Lamu is cheap and yummmmm. We spent about kshs 600 per day on food (you only get tea for that in Nairobi 😂). If you plan to do lamu tours, do carry some modest clothing as a sign of respect to the locals. A week is enough for Lamu btw, there isn’t much to do but it’s stunning for a break.

If you don’t wanna go through this work of booking, planning etc, use a company like Halal Safaris to do it for you.

Total budget for 6 nights including flights , a dope villa with a pool and sunrise and sunset views, food, tours .. ya3ni everything , was around 60,000.

When you go, hit me up on comment section to give you contacts of dope people 😊

Where else within East Africa would you like to visit or would you recommend me/us to visit? We are planning on the next trip in shaa Allah 😍

#Travel

4 years later…

On the 3rd of August 2015, I signed my contract with my current employer on my very first day at work… 4 years later, here I am sharing this story.

Firstly, this is me wishing self a happy 4th anniversary💪🏽 in today’s corporate world with the millennial mindset, apparently that’s a LONG time to be committed to one company! And I don’t disagree. Because I’ve seen lotssss of people join and leave within these 4 years… I digress.

When I signed that contract on that Monday, it was after at least 4 rounds of interviews including aptitude tests (if you are about to apply for a graduate trainee role, please google these), discovery center(which was an interview that started at 8am and ended at 4pm🤯) and a ‘round’ table interview with what I believe was 13 directors of the company (I lost count out of fear when I walked into the room)- @wanjira, do you remember how many they were? – Yet one of my ‘friend’ had the nerve to ask me ‘who got you the job?’- story for another day!

From the day I signed that contract to at least 3 months that followed, I hated my decision of joining the company. I knew I’d made a mistake and I wanted to quit every single day. School was easy, I knew which book to read to pass an exam… it wasn’t the same here. I had to figure life out and nobody had warned me of ADULTING. They’d said ‘finish school and enjoy life’, they’d lied! Life was everything but fun. I didn’t know how to maneuver through adulting. My brother, who had also recently set foot into the corporate world convinced me it got better with time… this didn’t settle well when I got a 3/5 rating during my 3 months review! The over-achiever in me was ready to quit and go back to Msa to accept the stereotype that a Muslim woman isn’t for the corporate world. Please note that it already took everything for my peoples to ‘accept’ me living away from home… then ‘failing’ while at it 😂 *sigh* adulting is for testing your everything!!

Fassssst forward to today, 4 years later! Phewwww! Alhamdulillah alhamdulillah alhamdulillah. It’s been a rollercoaster but I look around and now understand that adulting isn’t a walk in the park. Whether employed, an entrepreneur, a full time home manager .. rich or poor.. we all have our own versions of struggles. We’ve just got to figure out that balance.. figure out how to enjoy the hard times too knowing they too shall pass. I can’t believe I’m saying this now, Ibtisam from 4 years ago would be shocked but, I actually love the struggle! I don’t always get it, I still get mad and cry and want to beat people up(of course I’m humbly reminded I’m too skinny to get physical😬 ) but… I get it! It keeps me challenged and keeps my brain alive .. keeps me busy, away from the random crap happening out here.. of course it also helps that it pays my bills and my travel tickets 😂

What I’m saying is: if you are starting out, don’t quit as yet. Put in your all and try follow through. If you’ve been in the game, try find the positive in the BS too, your boss today, the one you prolly hate and makes you wanna quit, may quit before you.. don’t quit because of someone. This work- life balance they keep talking about, it’s REAL! Find it! Your mental health is sooo important, create time for it.

Okay maybe I should have considered a video for this cause I’ve got lots to say … only because I’ve interacted with so many women and I know a lot of us share the same struggles and it really helps to remind each other WE GOT THIS! Until I get my confidence together to create a video, I hope this helps someone out there. Share with someone who may need it 😊

Happy hustling my ladies! www.instagram.com/hijabeefied

Why I like Mumbai – Part 1

The two most common reactions I get when I tell people I am in India:
1. Who isn’t well? (Ha… us Kenyan’s have come to India for medication a little too much hey?) 🤔
2. Why India?? (This is for those who are passed question 1…)

I get it, we don’t know any better. Just like people from abroad keep getting shown national parks, slums and photos of children with mucus dripping from their noses as KENYA, that’s quite similar to what we have been shown about India. But our friend Sheikh Google and Instagram sure is trying to help us know better right? And your friend, ahem, ME, is here to tell you a few things I like about India now that I have been here for over 3 months (I just counted the time using my fingers, does it bother you when adults can’t do such easy math in their heads?) For the record, I stay in Mumbai so my views are mostly based on this one city.

1. FOOD
Ok, this had to be noted as point 1 because the Coasterian in me wasn’t very happy with food in Nairobi. Pilau Njeri ilinikataa (it refused me?😂). There’s something for everyone here, biriyani, sushi, hummus, daal, pasta, burger,… (🐄beef is banned but that’s a story for another day). The food is also available from Rupees 10 to your thousand’s depending on how much your pocket has.. and the 10bob ones by the road still do your stomach justice. No sleeping hungry.WhatsApp Image 2018-07-22 at 21.17.51(5)

2. Arabic shower
Yooooo, I used to take this for granted back in Mombasa then I moved to Nairobi and THE STRUGGLE WAS REAL! How do people use tissue only? I know I know, Muslim people things but seriously, the rest of you..how? OK I digress as usual. Point is, Arabic showers are in almost every toilet here and that was such a relief. You don’t wanna be seen going into the loo with a bottle of water now do you? You also don’t wanna have kidney problems because of holding your pee in all day long until you get home🤦🏽‍♀️

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3.Mobile data
Data here is ridiculously cheap (getting a sim card is a nightmare for foreigners but that’s a long story for another post, for real, my sim card right now isn’t even under my name)🤷🏽‍♀️. There’s different packages but let me give you an example of the one I use. I pay about Kshs 750 (Rps499) every month and I get 75GB (That’s more than 2GB daily fam… even this Instagram addict doesn’t finish them), unlimited local calls (this is what helped me realize why everyone is always on call) and 97 messages(not that we still use this after WhatsApp but okurrr).

4. Interior design
I should have named this ‘little cute cafes’ but it’s the interior that makes them so adorable💡. I have visited so many adorable tiny cafe’s in Mumbai that left me in awe. They have managed to convert tiny spaces into adorable hang out’s especially through lighting and hanging’s (I will share more pics of these on https://www.instagram.com/hijabeefied)

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This picture was taken by Nariman, you should def check out her gram for more pretty India shots cause I shall not claim to be good at photography :https://www.instagram.com/_cassiopeiaa

5. Pretty finds
There’s a lot of pretty finds at very pretty prices. I will just show you pics instead of explaining this one because the few things THEY got right is that, a picture is worth a thousand words.

You get it right?

That’s it for now, but I hope you have a slightly different(read better) view of India! 😊

Ramadhan Away from home

Being away from home hasn’t been the easiest but the thought of Ramadhan away from home in a non Muslim country was the most scary. I don’t have family nor friends to have iftar with and share my evenings with. Working hours are more of 9-8pm and maghrib is at 7pm.  The masjids here don’t have a women section because they believe women should only pray at home so goodbye jama’a taraweh which you all know is so helpful in bringing the Ramadhan vibe to a peak.

Amidst all the fear and heart ache, I felt so much love today. I woke up to Ramadhan wishes from my colleagues, that they knew it was Ramadhan in itself made me feel some sorta relief. I then got a pack of some Indian dessert called Khir, which I like, my colleague brought it and said I should boil it for suhoor *ah, my heart* At this point I was getting very emotional (Thank you Yamini). Then Shweta came and brought me a Ramadhan timetable from a friend of hers and even took the time to explain to me that it reads suhoor and iftar times… *now I am balancing tears of joy*

I am typing this over lunch break on day one of Ramadhan, which means saum is at it’s PEAK… but Alhamdulillah, for all the positive energy.

It shall be well. (TBC after a few days)

(I wrote this a year ago…. saved it and never logged back in here,shame. But Ramadhan 2018, turned out to be such a blessing. Maybe I will get to share the rest of the story some day.)

Meet Salman

To understand where my head is at, you’ll need to read Welcome to Mumbai (you will probably be back after 5 minutes since it wasn’t a long one)…..

Five minutes later…. Welcome back, hellooooo!

I reached ‘home’ that day exhausted, confused and overwhelmed. I had just relocated to India. I was now staying alone, left my everything and my everyone back home. I had left home, home. Yet I needed this, for so many reasons I needed this move. After all was said and done, it was among the best things that could have happened at this point in time.

I didn’t have a local line as yet so WhatsApp was the only mode of communication available. Arjun didn’t have WhatsApp, not that we could chat (but maybe he could read English?), I digress. So I sent a WhatsApp text to the Car hire company and requested for a driver who could speak English. Her response a day later:

X: Sir I will send another driver today evening

I am already in my feels because of a million things and this woman didn’t want to confirm if I was a Sir or Ma’am before messaging me… My conclusion, I text like a man (This isn’t the first time I have reached this conclusion btw, so maybe it is true). Now before you think this Sir/Madam thing is some serious hierarchy issue, it isn’t.. there just seem to be a culture of calling each other that way out here.

Evening reaches and I find a new guy outside the office for me. He looks a little over 50 and he introduces himself as Salman shortly.

Salman: Salaam alaikum , hawaya? My name is Salman. (is that how you would write some Bri’ish accent?)

Me: Wehhhh, from a man who can’t speak any English to one who sounds like he just landed from London from British airways – not even KQ because he could have gotten some ‘ME I’ influence there. Also, a Muslim man! (Oh, all this were in my thoughts not out loud.

Now out loud: Wa alaikum salaam SalmanJi(equivalent for Sir).

And at this point, I told myself it wasn’t all hard, this move. Thing are beginning to look ok.

Over the next few days, I learnt that Salman had worked in the hotel industry before and acquired his accent from the relations he made there. I also learnt that he had been a little extra that first day because while he spoke great English, that accent wasn’t as intense as the day we met. So impressed with his wit. He and his colleagues had sat down to discuss me and my colleagues and their conclusion about me was that I am Bangladeshi .

Africa is one big country and Mandela is our president apparently.. and African’s have got to be black and speak like the Black Panther cast or we aren’t real.

No, for real. This is the stereotype. Everyone I’ve met has had to re-ask where I am from… I am from Kenya is mostly followed with ‘and your parents?’… them too and their parents too … but okurr! (was very tempted to add a T and sound CardiB )

 

(This post should have been published a month ago…)

Ramadhan Muslims

Ramadhan always gets here when we need it the most. Sometimes we don’t realize we need it and sometimes we know a little too well. Sometimes we take it for granted assuming we will make it to the next yet we also know too well there are some people we had last Ramadhan that didn’t make it to this one.

But here we are now, Alhamdulillah. Remember to be grateful for the extra time given to make things right. While every second of the day can be used to RESTART and make things right, it’s always so much ‘easier’ to restart during Ramadhan. The vibe is different. I am reading this paragraph and I feel like I sound extremely HOLY … if you stop reading here you’d probably call me a ‘Ramadhan Muslim’.. that phrase always cracks me up. It’s been used so negatively before that people have come to hate it.

Let’s talk about ‘Ramadhan Muslims’ shall well?

I can’t talk about the guys much but I have heard a lot about the sisters. I even remember participating in such conversations until I realized my ignorance was deep, forgive me. A lot of sisters make changes during Ramadhan. Some sisters only pray during this month, some only hijab during this month, some stop listening to music, some open the Quran, some stop clubbing, some stop smoking, some stop drinking, some quit gossip and cursing …. during Ramadhan. And most, relapse into their old ways immediately the month is over. For that, they get judged a LOT. They get told to stop being Ramadhan muslim’s. They get told not to ‘pretend’ in Ramadhan if they know too well the ‘new them’ is temporary…it’s similar to those who get told to remove the scarf all together if they’ll show off their fringes. Either 100% or zero hey? Story for another day.

Now if you are among those that believe above too, that people should either be angels or devils, not in between, not actually human… then think again. WE ARE HUMAN! I know, shocks me too… but we are. Sinning is part of us and that’s why Allah has reminded us many times that He forgives.. because He knows we sin. Get it? So if people are going to try to be better Muslims in Ramadhan, then let them be. They may or may not relapse after but they may have connected to Allah better than you ‘full time Muslim’.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” Sahih Bukhari

And if you are among those they call Ramadhan Muslim, own it. Fast with sincere faith and pray for further guidance from only Allah cause these other humans who consider themselves angels shouldn’t have the power to bring you down hey.

With that said, this Ramadhan Muslim wishes you all a RAMADHAN MUBARAK!

 

Welcome to Mumbai

So on a Tuesday morning, a week after my Namaslay moment, I was on board a Kenya airways flight. Now I know it’s not the best thing for KQ when the flight is half empty but I absolutely loved it. Don’t judge me yet!IMG-0770

Nairobi-Mumbai is a 6 hour direct flight via KQ , thee only direct flight from Nairobi, which if you ask me, is pretty cool. Don’t ask me why it was half empty, your guess is as good as mine. Now I lack the important skill of sleeping while seated so the 2 empty seats next to me were heaven sent . I quickly converted my seats into a bed and my abaya into a duvet and started dreaming. I slept before and after breakfast, the smell of eggs in between the snoozes is what woke my round 1.

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Now the other reason a half empty flight is great was because of the breakfast. We had poached eggs and mbahazi/mbaazi(peas). These two are a recipe for farts! But in the spirit of euphemism: they make you contribute to air pollution. While the toilets were mostly occupied, at least the flight wasn’t highly affected since we were well spaced out. Smell your own fart bro! 

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6 hours later, I had spent enough time sleeping, eating, sleeping, watching a movie, listening to Pop music, watching the beautiful sun set AND thinking about my life (six hours is a long time, you can’t even comfortably count to 6 with just one hand). The company driver was out waiting for me with a company name placard. So I introduce myself and he says his name is Arjun, he looks like a quiet guy and all seem to go well until…

Me: How long does it take from the hotel to the office?

Arjun: Sorry, ok.

Khalas, Arjun doesn’t speak English and he is about to be my full time driver in Mumbai.

How will we explore this city with the language barrier?

Well, Welcome to Mumbai.