Bananas growing in my back garden or the Lincoln Center?

6 Oct

bananas in nairobi back garden

Seeing as Nairobi is the fifth city – and Kenya the fifth country – I am now residing in, I may as well put all that accumulated hard-earned urban knowledge to good use and start an entirely subjective city-comparison guide.

(Plus, this will be my attempt to boost my morale about having moved to Nairobi just in time to be greeted by a large-scale terrorist attack.)

So here it is: a light-hearted comparison test between Nairobi and New York City – whence we moved six weeks ago – to decide, based on purely non-scientific terms, which is the better place to inhabit:

(I’m hoping Nairobi wins the test – although, continuing the non-scientific approach, I might just arrange things to make sure it does, just to give myself a bit of much-needed reassurance 🙂 )

In Nairobi… In New York City… Winner?
…bananas and avocados grow in my back garden (see real-life pic above). …I lived in a fifth-floor apartment and didn’t even have a garden.  NBO 1 NYC 0
…I live right in the city centre.  …it took me nearly an hour to get into the city centre.  NBO 1 NYC 0
…the clothes stores sell strange, shiny-satin dresses or clothing that gives more than a nod to the Eighties. …I shopped till I dropped in my fave Old Navy, H&M and co.  NBO 0 NYC 1
…the traffic really doesn’t move and the cars belch out thick black exhaust fumes. …the traffic does eventually move, and exhaust pollution feels a bit more controlled.  NBO 0 NYC 1
…but, drivers don’t seem stricken with road-rage, and don’t honk. …Manhattan drivers – (especially those evil taxi drivers) – are consumed with la rage, and will honk and/or tailgate you to death if you dare get in their way.  NBO 1 NYC 0
…oooooh, the tomatoes have FLAVOUR! Oh, the mangos! Oh the passion fruits! Oh the oranges! Fruit and veg tastes so good – and is cheeeeap… …the tomatoes taste of…hmmm…water – and cost a lot. Fruit and veg decidedly expensive and lacking flavour.  NBO 1 NYC 0
…public transport = rickety ‘matatu’, minivans pumping deafening music, whose drivers change the fare depending on the weather or time of day, or equally bedraggled-looking buses also blaring music….worst of all, you’re stuck in the immobilizing traffic not going anywhere. …New York subway – crowded, sometimes smelly, you’ll be accosted by preachers preaching the word of Jesus, but it works well, goes underground and whizzes you from A to B. Oh, and the fares only go up once a year, not several times in the course of an average day.  NBO 0 NYC 1
…hubby’s employer is paying for a housekeeper and nanny for us. Felt extremely weird at first about people working for us – still do some of the time – but how pleasurable not to have to do the housework. …never even had a weekly cleaner so all domestic tasks had to be done by us (or more likely, ignored by us until crisis-point). NBO 1 NYC 0
…no MacDonald’s? no Starbuck’s? no American fast-food chains? No globalization – could it be? …Starbuck’s, McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King,  the list goes on… NBO 1 NYC 0
…arts and culture – it is here but you have to hunt it out. …oooh those nice museums, those quirky little art galleries, the Lincoln Plaza cinema – my fave cinema showing all those lovely, dark French films…. NBO 0 NYC 1
…even paving stones – what’s that? Pavement altogether? Watch where you’re going or you might just fall into a pothole. …yes, there are potholes after the snowy season, but walking on the street isn’t an assault course. NBO 0 NYC 1
…combo of high altitude and location just south of the Equator means a temperate, hot but not humid climate nearly the whole year round. …freeze or fry. Yuck. NBO 1 NYC 0
…for a reasonable price, have joined a classy gym in a posh hotel, with access to a gorgeous rooftop pool. …Was a member of ‘Planet Fatness’ (where they give free bagels every Monday, and free pizza on the first Tuesday of the month) in the Bronx, the cattle class of all gyms. NBO 1 NYC 0
…no kosher food (except, that is, for a few packets of egregiously out-of-date Bissli imported some time in the last century from Israel). …kosher food galore – oy! the chicken soup mit lockshen and matza balls…….plaintive Yiddish sigh… NBO 0 NYC 1

And the winner is………drum roll……no surprises here…NAIROBI, with a score of 8 to New York City’s 6!

Woe unto you, poor bedraggled Manhattan; who would’ve thought a far-flung city in East Africa would trump you so badly?


7 Responses to “Bananas growing in my back garden or the Lincoln Center?”

  1. Chagit October 6, 2013 at 18:33 #

    Well done Rebecca! 🙂 I want to visit

  2. shulamit October 6, 2013 at 22:13 #

    hm really interesting and entertaining Rebecca but you forgot to mention the lovely people in NY that did not go with you to Nairobi

  3. Aliza Hausman October 6, 2013 at 23:02 #

    Haha, even though you know that I am a Manhattanite to the core even here from LA, I loved this!

  4. katja October 7, 2013 at 12:50 #

    having also spent time in of these great cities, i would absolutely agree 100% with your conclusions – especially on tomatoes! i can’t wait to come back to NBO and visit you there. and i recommend you look for “tree tomatoes” – nothing like tomatoes but they are delicious. xx

    • rebeccainspace October 24, 2013 at 12:18 #

      Oh yes, I tried the tree tomatoes – a bit strange but kind of yummy xx

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