Some things we postpone for too long. Like getting an umbrella, renewing one’s drivers license, waxing armpit hair, learning a second/third/fourth language, going to Arboretum..writing about going to Arboretum..then one day it rains and you have to experience the supply-demand theory in relation to price of umbrellas first hand, or a traffic cop asks to see your driver’s license, and you have to drive up Kenya’s bribery index, or you go upcountry and you can’t speak to your grandmother, and you have to sit there and grunt like a savage..or you see someone’s photoshoot in a park and you feel jealous.
I had a free Sunday late last year, and I didn’t want to watch my sports team disappoint me again, and I decided that Arboretum, even if it does not live up to expectation, would not do to me what Arsenal does to me. Good news is that I did not regret going to the park at all, in fact, it only made me realize just how bad postponing, as a vice is. Packed my bag, camera, picnic blanket, and headed on out. My friend Audrey is a medicine student who lives near the park, and being that she is also in my squad, she didn’t ask why I couldn’t let her enjoy her Sunday in peace.
The Arboretum is located in the posh, upper hill State House area, and the walk from the CBD to the park can either be leisurely, or torturous, depending on how fit you are. If you like walking, you will pass university dorm rooms, with worn out sports shoes hang out to dry, colourful bed sheets fluttering in the wind, and loud music and smoke you assume is from incense, and not marijuana, wafting into the Sunday breeze, (I find weekends in parks particularly relaxing, with the diversity in the crowd at the park). If you are not a walking person, or you just feel lazy, you can take a motorbike for Kes 100 at PCEA St. Andrews, although you can walk and buy five smokies if you asked me.
A visit when the sun is shining would be really good timing, because your picnic blanket won’t get dirty, and the monkeys come out to play. Feeding them is not allowed, but they are so hungry sometimes, with their non-stop nagging, that the only way to get them to leave is to throw them a nyamabite or a piece of fruit. Some very wicked people have managed to chop a few limbs and tails off the monkeys, and seeing the monkeys without an arm is one of the few sad sites that you will see in the park. That and the toilet situation.
There are toilets that SHOULD be maintained by the people in charge of the park, but aren’t. The result being that the toilets look like more of something you’d find on an obstacle course to test your faith on creaking planks of wood, than a social amenity. Also, the smell is something else, and you might want to tend to business before you start eating, or else you have to take care of business while trying not to throw out the snacks you just had.
If you have a camera, even if it’s those old ones where you took a picture and crossed your fingers hoping the image was what you expected, you’ll need Kes 1,000/= for the photography fee, but phone cameras are allowed, and you can take as many pictures as you’d like. I learnt about the camera fees the hard way, and I had to have KWS rangers expalin to me why I would pay for a 12 megapixel camera and have a 16 megapixel phone for free, so please stick to the rules, so that your experience is as pleasant as possible. If you want to take Instagram pictures, or those profile pictures for whatsapp and facebook where you can tweak the truth and say you were in Mzansi for the weekend, then the park is for you, there are a lot of places in the park that look so magical, you will want to keep visiting parks and exploring what it is about them that makes them make you look so good.
The Nairobi Arboretum is really nice, the trees have information about them, you can jog in there, take photoshoots, have picnics, have alone time and think about whether there is more to life than making your series guy richer, or just walk and take in the sights and sounds of nature. It might also help you get more serious on procrastination, and your drivers license, armpit hair and all those ittle things we postpone, will be happier for it
Stop procrastinating, and visit the Nairobi Arboretum.