China week

What do these three things have in common?  None of them would be possible without the recent influx of Chinese investors in Kenya.  I can not tell you how many roads, bypasses, highways, and buildings I've been told are being built by Chinese companies.  And with Chinese investors comes Chinese businesses.  Thanks to that, both T and I are continuously being surprised by the options and opportunities we are discovering here that we never expected to find as we moved to Nairobi.

After briefly sporting a boy cut three years ago, I have since been growing out my hair until it recently became the perfect length to get caught in everything.  And as I have my mother's incredibly thick hair, it was also too heavy to stay tied up for long.  It was also becoming increasingly more of a chore to wash, dry, and brush each day.  All this to say, I was ready for a change.  However, having 'mzungu' (or foreigner) hair, it's hard to find any salons even willing to touch my hair let alone for a reasonable price.  While researching salons online, I read about one woman claiming to have spent 10,000 KSh (approx $117) just to get her hair cut.  While there are plenty of salons in the states that charge more than this, there are also many that don't.  Living off of a teacher's salary, I was always thankful for bargain options.  Additionally, most of the cities I've lived in have had enough of an Asian community that they included Asian hairdressers who know how to handle Asian hair.  I, of course expected to forgo such luxuries when moving to Kenya but was pleasantly surprised to run into a Chinese hair salon one weekend.  Thereafter, the wheels were put in motion.  Countless hours of researching hairstyles online and 1200KSh (~$14) later, the deed of was done.  I literally felt ten pounds of hair lighter!

San Francisco and New York City may have their China towns, but Nairobi has it's China Center.  Rumors of a grocery store led us there a couple weekends ago and it was more than anything I could hope for in the middle of east Africa.  Imagine taking China town (sans the curious white tourists) and squishing it into a multi-story shopping complex... there you have China Center.  The shop owners must have thought us really strange as we didn't speak Chinese and kept pointing and gawking at everything we saw.  "Look, dried mushrooms!" "OMG, it's black bean sauce!!"  Black bean sauce of course meant one thing: jja jang myun!!! ... which we feasted on for dinner last week.  :9

Driving down Ngong Rd one day, I thought T was having a heart attack as something he saw rendered him speechless and gasping in disbelief.  Later, when he regained his ability to speak, I learned that what he had seen was a 'Little Sheep Hot Pot' restaurant.  Now it was my turn to sit in stunned disbelief.  I don't remember running into any Chinese hot pot joints during the two years we were in DC.  Who would've guessed we'd have to come to Nairobi to get some?  To kick off our China week, we went there for dinner early last week and gorged ourselves on hot soupy goodness.  Maybe its because I grew up eating Korean BBQ, but there's a special place in my heart for interactive cuisines... you know, the ones where you cook or assemble your food for yourself at the table.  It makes the whole experience so much more involved and fun!





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