My days here in Nairobi have so far has been incredibly promising-- I've gotten many useful leads from my AP and BBC contacts, and things are starting to line up for me. Yesterday I spent most of the day in Eastleigh, Nairobi's Somali ghetto, where I was looking into (trumped up) links between piracy money and the ongoing construction boom in the neighbourhood. I felt like I was back in Somalia-- the people, the language, even the roads were so similar. I talked to a few businessmen and then hit the street, taking advantage of the crowd gathered by a KTN (Kenyan Television Network) film crew to siphon off my own focus group of about 20-30 people.
Nairobi itself is terrific. Bustling, cosmopolitan, friendly people, and outstandingly sunny weather (December-January are the hottest months, and it's not getting much beyond 25c during the day). I could see myself living here for a while. It's a great journalist town.
I'm heading to Mombasa early Tuesday morning, and it looks like I may be there for Christmas (not the worst place to be--I hear great things about the beaches). Through a contact at KTN, I've gotten in touch with the prison warden of Shimo la Tewa, the prison where hundreds of suspected pirates are being held, and she's agreed to give me an interview. I also hope to speak with a number of "pirate lawyers" about the way the Kenyan justice system is coping with the influx. It's an unprecedented legal situation, and the international and domestic legal instruments to cover it are being invented, twisted, and reinterpreted as they go along.
More to follow.