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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Little India in Nairobi Part 1

It's just like I always say -  if you can't go to India, let India come to you!

There is no shortage of Indian influence in Nairobi.  In the early 1900's, when the British were still at the helm in Kenya, they brought over hoards of workers from India to build the railway from Mombasa to Nairobi.  The current giant population of Indians in Kenya is the result of that.  So, there are tons of amazing Indian restaurants here, Indian shops, and lots and lots of Indian people.  Indian presence here is like latino presence back in the US.

One Indian shopping center here is called Diamond Plaza.  This place is seriously like stepping into Mumbai all the sudden.  I go there a lot - for one, they have some great Indian food vendors - okay, well it's more like crappy fast indian food that is fly infested but cheap and as long as you don't look in the kitchens you enjoy the flavor..it's an outdoor food court type place, not like fine Indian dining and remember -  there is no McDonalds here - we have Diamond Plaza.  The place is nuts - as soon as you sit down, you are literally, seriously bombarded by like 20 guys shoving menus in your face so you will pick their restaurant out of the whole line up of choices in that food court..it's nuts.  Aggressive and nuts but it's a part of how the place works.  The other reason I go to Diamond Plaza is because my tailor is there. It's these Indian brothers that are very serious but funny at the same time. And getting clothing tailored is SUPER cheap here. So I take stuff to them at least every 2 weeks, especially a lot of the African clothing I've had made that needs adjusting. Here's what we are talking about here:
The Grand Entrance

Chicken Tikka With an Ice cold coke - It's my Kenyan go to meal. No fastfood hamburgers or burritos here - but Chicken Tikka is a welcome alternative.

ohhh Maru's Bhajias - crispy fried potatoes with some kick. Indian French Fries. I can't have mcdonalds or Taco Bell but I can  have Maru's Bhajias! This is how the food stalls look. There are about 20 of them and they all compete for business when you sit down.

And you can buy these at Diamond Plaza

They have HOT mens fashion - that you can sport with your giant fro

You can buy anything here - from sari's to fake IPODs and other electronics to fruits and vegetables, and hundreds of colorful bangles and jewelry
How cute is this?

Dimple Tailoring - That's my joint!

The older brother runs the show. And they have just 3 staff members that work the sewing machines like nothing you have ever seen. They crank out your finished product in 20 minutes regardless of how complex the alteration is.

and they sell TONS of Indian Tunics

So beautiful and colorful and detailed - I love them.

I tried a couple on while i was waiting on my clothes to get fixed.

I actually decided to get this one. They took it in through the waist and back for me and it was perfect. It has some awesome bead work on the top and the sleeves and it's silky and slightly transparent. Love it.  Cost me around $20 and it's all hand done. But is it nuts that this was a size 3x in Indian sizes? Lawdy! I'm an Indian Giant Lady.

 Okay, so that is Diamond Plaza. It's like a little Indian world in Nairobi. It's a little bit dirty, a little bit chaotic, and a little bit out of my comfort zone - but I love it.


  1. Lenna, I love reading about your adventures in Kenya! What awesome fun. I think that I need to go to that little sewing shop and get a ton of fabric. I love it! So wish we were able to get there to visit you! Keep posting. xoxo

  2. I´m glad you had a nice experience of the Diamond Plaza. But I really want to warn people about one of the tailor shops there "Sai-Zara Boutique". Don´t ever go to this place to order a tailor made dress! They give the worst service imaginable, and treat their coustumers like shit. I ordered a dress that was supposed to be finished after one week, and when I came to pick it up it was not finished. Then I had to discuss with them for 30 minutes to make them give me a discount for the delay. When I came back three days later to finally pick it up, they had made a totally different dress than what I ordered and now they refused to give me any discount at all! I was so angry that I asked if one of the men where stupid, and then he called the police and accused me of "abuse" for calling him, a MAN, stupid. OMG. Don´t ever set your foot in to this place.

  3. Interesting post Lenna ! Actually if you are back in Kenya you'd be able to browse some of these shops and see their products via this Kenya shopping platform, which also has a collection of Indian Clothes in Kenya - http://www.mrduka.com/womens-fashion/indian-clothes/


So..what do you have to say about all this?