I was in Nairobi after the Grand Tour of Masai Mara, and was a little disoriented from lack of sleep that first day back after dropping travelers off at the airport the night before. I was so happy to find a full-service DHL office near the Intercontinental Hotel,  and they helped me to prepare a box of souvenirs to send home. I wouldn’t have to store them in Nairobi or schlep them home to Matoso in my smaller luggage. (I sent my big suitcase with my safari-mates, loaded with the heaviest carvings for under the plane.)I sent off everything, about one hundred dollars’ worth of cloth, small carvings, and miscellaneous stuff, and happily paid the 34000 shillings, thinking I had paid $34.00. I was wondering why no-one had told me about this great option to mailing or carrying stuff home!


The next day I had to take an Uber back to DHL, from my beloved Flora Hostel (no more Intercontinental for me), hauling the rest of the souvenirs and a couple things I figured I didn’t need any more, just to lighten the load a little more. This time, after finding the right size box, wrapping the Masai knife and other pointed objects really well, padding them carefully with fabric and shukas and preparing the detailed list of contents and values, the total came to about $300.00 dollars! I totally freaked, told the lady (who had also helped me the day before), “That’s impossible!”, and tried to explain that the larger box yesterday had only cost $34.00 to send. She patiently found the reciept from the day before, and showed me that in fact, I had paid thirty four thousand shillings, not thirty four hundred. The cost to send those souvenirs home had been $340.00. I felt rather dashed and for a moment, like quite a schmuck! Now I am just happy that I was too brain-dead to know how much it was actually costing, so my load will be lighter and it is too late for regrets–it’s enough to enjoy the luxury, and to be grateful that this is not life and death for me, as it would be for some.

The Flora
Tam in front of the Flora Hostel, Nairobi

Postscript: I actually started this post on April 9, so these events are a month old now. I still have the souvenirs from the second box, to bring home under “my” airplane. Now I know why people cheerfully pay the $50 or more excess luggage fee!


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