Mike Stanger's Nairobi Blog #1
Glasgow, 10.00 hrs 28 January 2007
I was conceived in Egypt, born in South Africa, and brought up for the first six years of my life in North Africa. But Iíve never been to central Africa, either east or west. So my trip to Nairobi to watch the World Cricket League promises a new adventure at a personal level as well as the cricket.
Iíve also never been detained for any length of time Ďat altitudeí. Nairobi sits at 5,500 feet above sea level. Indeed, thatís why itís where it is, because the Victorian Brits, fed up with the mosquito-laden atmosphere of Mombasa, wanted to escape to an altitude where the little blighters couldnít survive.
Nairobi started as the Crewe Junction of East Africa, a huge railway interchange serving the huge continent. Astonishingly, Nairobi, founded in 1899, became Kenyaís administrative centre in seven short years, and has just marked its centenary as the countryís capital city.
Iím told that newcomers to living at altitude feel lethargic and fluey for the first 48 hours, while their haemoglobin levels adjust to the lack of oxygen in the air. But maybe the Hilton Hotel, where the teams are staying, adds extra oxygen to its air conditioning? If not, why not?
Anyway, our cricketers will have had more than 48 hours to recover, although Ryan Watson and Glenn Rogers, I hear, are the latest victims of Mombasa Belly. Peter Drinnen and Dick Auchinleck texted me to bring extra supplies of dioarhhea tablets, probiotics, digestion enzymes and energy drink additives. Thatís tipped me into excess baggage costs, I suspect!
Iím travelling with Willie Dick, the right half of the Kelso/Dick empire (which must mean that Kelso is the wrong half, I suppose). Willie decided months ago that this was the competition to be at, with five or six games in the space of seven or nine days, rather that three games in 12 days at the Warner Park Stadium, St Kitts.
Iím just hoping that itís my presence that makes the difference to Scotlandís fortunes! I was, after all, in Ireland when they won all their games in the ICC Trophy in 2005. This should be much the same, I reckon - although, last time, Keith Graham was my companion. Maybe weíll just cross our fingers.
So, as we depart today, Iíd just like to thank those nice people from KLM - and the even nicer Nicky Hawkins of Trimedia, the airlineís PR consultants in Scotland - for sorting out our incompetently-booked air tickets. If it all works out, we arrive in Nairobi at 07.15 on Monday, bright-eyed, eager for the sun, desperate for success, and ready to report on your behalf.
Watch this space.