This morning my driver (David) took me on a tour of the city but first i needed to change a travellers Cheque... what fun ... no one seems to accept them - we tried the usual spots .. but banks, hotels etc just wouldnt do it ... so he marched me around all sorts of shops, alleys etc (he is about 6 ft and takes one stride to three of mine) and finally (me panting) we found a very bizarre looking place in what looked liked a derilict shopping centre which he assured me was official who would change it. So I waited in the queue with about 10 locals studying me (probably wodering why im seating so much) and made it to the front to be told if i dont have the reciept they wont change it (i didnt have the receipt)... so then I end up having to beg and plead - weird - they obv didnt trust me! Anyway all sorted - ok rate and real notes so im happy.
So anyway the tour was good - viewpoints, railway museum, where the embassy was blown up - that kind of thing and then me and David where just chatting and we started talking about the slums .... long story short I expressed an interest in seeing it and he sums me up and says he thinks im sociable and friendly and thinks I could handle going there and basically do I want to go ... Obv I jump at the chance (with mixed feelings). I really really wanted to see what it was like but I am self concious of feeling like the tourist that comes takes pictures of the 'animals' as they are made to feel and f's off .... so anyway we discuss it and he assures me its ok - he knows a few people and will look after me and just a few basic rules - the main one being do not be seen to take photos of the people and just be friendly. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE .... Never felt such horror and elation all at the same time - it was mostly young guys I met as David would speak to them but they were so nice and keen to talk and ask questions ... the setting however is horrendous, the smell of burning god knows what, no drains etc ... It was like being in one of the films I love so much (think the alleys in slumdog millionaire or city of god) Anyway so all good, looked around greeted people, had a drink and we are heading back out but before we get out (you couldnt dream this stuff up) we get a flat tire from a nail - luckily we had passed a tyre place just round the corner (tin shed with tyres outside) so went there and he got it changed - and this was the best experience - totally impromptu in the middle of East Africa's biggest slum and Im sat on the step of a tyre shop smoking a cigarette (much to the locals amusement). All I can say now is I got lucky with my driver as I have had the best time and no problems at all with bribes and beggers etc. Big thanks to David!!! Right this internet thing is going to bankrupt me so I better go - till the next time xxx Added a few pics in an album if ya interested!