Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Carnivore!

After the workshop finished up (and I collapsed in a heap on my bed), we went out for supper at Carnivore, the gastronomical and culinary pinnacle of East Africa. Well, maybe not. Almost every person I told I was heading to Nairobi suggested that we go – although everyone else in our group had been already and it’s quite “touristy.”

I felt a little stupid suggesting we go there, but it came highly recommended – and so I wanted to tick it off “my list.” (So when conversations go like this: “Oh, Nairobi? Have you been to Carnivore?” I can say “Why yes! It’s lovely/so-so/gave me diarrhea I’d never eat there again in my life!” Trust me, development people compare notes on their various travels so often, it easily turns into a one-upmanship game. But I digress…).

Carnivore’s niche is exotic meat. Kenya is big game country, and appropriately, big meat country as well. Giraffe, antelope, camel, snake – these and many more were supposed to be available for your tasting at Carnivore. And while, vegetarians are welcome (there’s a separate menu), they’re generally snickered at.

Walking in, you’re greeted by a large open air pit, with a double row of swords stacked around it, each skewering a different type of meat. I was hoping to see some eyeballs, or at least a head, but the closest thing I saw was a thanksgiving turkey getting a colonostopy. In fact, the most exotic thing they had on the menu that night was camel, ostrich and crocodile. (I was hoping for snake). The crocodile was fishy, the ostrich juicy and the pork sausages amazing. As one of my colleagues said, “The camel was a little dry.” Hardy-har.

The food arrives in shifts; with a soup and salad plate first, followed by some piping hot plates (I could feel myself getting a tan!) and a pyramid of various “sauces” to try with each type of meat. No A-1 Steak sauce here! Waiters wandered around with different spears, slicing off pieces in front of you onto your plate. The effect was quite theatrical; each waiter hoisting around slabs of steaming meat and large machetes, like they had just stabbed the animal and ripped the muscle right out of them. While there was a baked potato and some salad available, it was definitely a protein-heavy meal (I’ve had the stomachache all day to prove it).

But the best part about being there was that I finally felt myself relax a bit and let go. One workshop down, one and a half to go. No major catastrophes and only a minor bit of running around. What’s more, I got to know my co-workers a bit more – and they’re quite fun and funny. One of them travels in the region a lot and he is a friendly face I might see while in Malawi. It’s so nice when you like the people you’re working with.

This morning, we got up at 4am and took the 7:20am flight to Accra, which was brutal (the morning, not the flight). Africa is SUCH a LARGE continent that flying from Nairobi to Accra took well over five hours (take a look at a map!) We arrived in Accra after a rainstorm, in 90 degree heat, which was quite a shock from the sixty degrees and sunny weather of Nairobi. I’m glad I packed all that cotton!

After a quick trip to the Mission to hammer out some details, we’re now resting in the hotel and getting ready for supper. All my worries about our cantankerous client was wasted, as he was actually nice to me (because he wants my help) and didn’t make me feel like a secretary. I still feel a bit out of my league, but some of the unknowns have become knowns, so that takes the stress away.

Tomorrow night we’re actually having supper with the Mission Director (fancy invites and everything!) and it looks like this weekend we’ll move to another hotel with a seaside view. So far, so good. I wish I could post more, but it’s already too long as it is.

I’ll try to post more later.
M.

2 comments:

Kaydi said...

Congratulations on your internship! Sounds like you're having a good time. I miss you and can't wait to talk with you about all the stories!
Love ya!

Megan said...

I'll say it again: rockstar. :) I'm so jealous! I hope you're taking pictures, or at least gathering gut-wrenching hilarity best shared over good drinks. Love you tons!