Walking up Museum hill from the Uhuru Highway – Waiyaki Rd roundabout, you can see the monstrosity that is the new super highway. Although still under construction, you can see the glory that will be beheld by all who’ll see it. But still, right next to it is the sewage infested river that carries the name of this great city. The stench is overwhelming, it is a wonder that anyone stays at Hotel Boulevard at all. But going up the hill, the botanic garden seems to flourish right before your eyes, a little oasis in the concrete jungle.
The entrance of the museum is unmanned, and pedestrians can just stroll in, motorists however don’t share the same luck. Inside a humongous sculpture of a dinosaur, maybe brontosaurus, looms overhead (side note: this reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine and she asked if I was going to the museum with the dinosaur, and I took this (as any logical person would) as meaning a fossil skeleton, kumbe that’s what she meant….sad). Clear directions are given to the highlights of the compound (though why anyone would go to see plants is beyond me), and the main museum building was first choice.
Inside, reasonably priced tickets are sold for access to the galleries and the snake park. There was a group of Chinese tourists in the hallway (and yes I know they were Chinese coz I can tell the difference) looking tired and hustled, who said vacations are restful? Anyhow, branching off to the left, right after the ticket office, lies the temporary exhibitions space. Therein lays works of art by local and foreign artisans. Sculptures and paintings highly prices due to their rich African heritage (bet if you went outside Westgate you would be able to get the exact same thing for 10 times less). But seriously, some of those pieces were really beautiful.
Then the creepiness started, and horror movies sprung to mind. Enter the animal segment of the museum. Birds, mammals and human evolution. Its official, taxidermy is the worst job in the world. It’s creepy to see animals with open staring eyes (night at the museum obviously messed my mind up). But besides that, eagles are huge!! Like seriously, they could reach past your knee, and that’s just a bird!! And lions, you’ve got to give the Maasai mad respect! How they are meant to kill one of those monsters with just spears is beyond me! I mean, I’ve always known wild animals are big, but to see them up close like that and be able to compare with oneself, that’s epic (reminds me of Americans (quite possibly the largest human beings on earth)). Also, there lies (or rather stands) the remains of Ahmed, the elephant from Garissa with the ridiculously long tusks.
Then there were the usual attraction, history and the future for Kenya. That was pretty mundane, but props to the Mau Mau. To see those homemade guns, those guys, though uneducated in the conformist definition, were genius. Using wood and whatever metal around them, they were able to make some deadly looking weapons (eat that Dr. James Watson).
Then onwards to the snake park (yippee!!! (Or so I thought)). It’s pretty nice there, inside a cool building, though it was kind of difficult to find it on first trial. Inside was heaven, for me at least coz I’m not afraid of them, but cautious (note; cautious, not scared). Anyway, with a double glass barrier even a scaredy cat has nothing to worry about. At least that’s what I thought till I found the snakes ‘open enclosure’. That’s where it stopped being “oooh, aaah” and became, “what the hell!!”. The damn snakes were free, okay, although I admit it would be pretty difficult for them to scale that wall, which wasn’t very high. Haven’t they ever watched every horror about animals…EVER?!?! They are clever buggers! As I was dragged away from that display of blatant negligence, we went to see fish. Now, I have a confession to make, fish are my least favourite type of animal after birds so I don’t have much to say except, that catfish was mathaf*&^ing huge! Like seriously! Now Franken Fish doesn’t seem like fiction anymore. There were also tortoises, alligators and crocodiles, but we didn’t linger to click away at the cameras as it was then 5:30pm, closing time.
All in all, it was fun, and it was nice to see all our national and natural treasures on display for the world to admire.
Nairobi National Museum; check.