Daws.ca
Saturday, March 2nd, 2002

Nairobi, Kenya

Went on an archaeology fieldtrip to the Rift Valley from Nairobi one day.

Jambo! Habari gani???

 

Hehe like my Swahili?? It’s not really that good, I just know a little bit :P the basics to the beginning of a conversation.

 

We're in Karen now, which is a suburb outside of Nairobi. We haven't actually gone right into Nairobi though cause its too dangerous but hopefully we'll get to see the outskirts of it at least or at least drive through it sometime... oh well. Karen is really nice but we all thought it was really weird to see big buildings, street names on the roads, and roads with multiple lanes of traffic. It was weird, almost like our first experience going into a grocery store and seeing all the aisles and stuff on the shelves.

 

We spent a day in the Kenya National Museum. It was really neat. There were models of all sorts of African mammals. I went to the prehistoric part of the museum and saw skulls of many different hominids (Australopithecus bosei, Homo habilis, Homo erectus…), the nearly complete skeleton of a Homo erectus (the Turkana boy), fossils of elephants and monkeys... it was neat to see because we're studying them all in archaeology. The skull of A. boisei looked surprisingly similar to the skull of an orangutan. Our archaeology class got to go into the labs and see other fossils and skeletons of different things like: stone tools, giraffe skulls (ancient and modern), tortoise skeletons, and a huge buffalo skeleton. I swear its horns were 4 feet long each! It was pretty neat. Unfortunately Maeve Leakey was out of town so we didn’t get to hear her talk.

 

We later went on an archaeology field trip which was great. We went to an active site in the rift valley called Oligosalie. It took us 2 hours to get to it from Karen, Nairobi. We walked around for about an hour looking at all the stone tools left behind in the ground by Homo erectus. It was really neat, there were so many. We even found a new site where there were hand axes and a bone sticking out of the ground. We got to see an ancient elephant humerus bone that they excavated as well as hippo bones, an ancient baboon skull, zebra lower jaw, hyena skull .... it was really cool. After lunch we got to go down and find "raw material" and try to make our own stone tools. That was super fun! I got a good "core" and it was flaking really well as I hit it with another stone just like our ancestors once did. But still harder than I thought and impressive that people did that in the past.

 

One night we went out to the restaurant, Carnivore. Everyone got all dressed up in their kangas (i.e. sarongs) and clean shirts…some of the girls even put on makeup…I have no idea why they brought that but oh well. It was a really fun night. We were served the all you can eat meat buffet and the waiters would come up to your table with a huge slab of meat on a giant knife/sword looking thing and cut off various meat, such as beef, chicken, pork, lamb, crocodile, ostrich, zebra, oryx (antelope type animal), and put them on your plate. Holy protein overload!!! Rafael you would have been in heaven, they had ribs there too :) After feasting on various meats and potatoes and salad and ice-cream we went next door to the "simba saloon" which is a night club for the customers of the carnivore as well as for all the locals. It was really fun, 70 and 80's night...

 

I can't believe how much it rains in Nairobi, it rains every night pretty much! I totally didn't think I’d be seeing that much rain in Africa.... but it's really nice falling asleep to the sound of rain on your tent.

 

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