Friday, July 11, 2008

Miss Kenya 2004 and BFE Tanzania

Thanks for posting guys.
SHOUT OUTS (for the posters).
Angela, it's been too long.  How is that husband?
 Tom--the Xanax is all mine, get your own PCP.  
Brett--they wanted about $3000 for the ibook in the Europe mac store--outrageous.
Jennifer--if I could borrow your TV show of people following you around for a couple days out here; it would definitely go over well.  
Berta.  I do have some Lion King songs on the computer...I've been holding off so far.
Cath.  Where do Pete and Charlotte live exactly out here?
Who is the pediatrician?
Jack.  It's never too late to buy that ticket and come out here...I could use a 1st assist on C-sections.

So I get on the plane from Amsterdam to Nairobi, Kenya, and am about to pass out.  Staying up all night plus the first 2 flights + layover had long since taken their toll.  So I get my sweet window seat next to this young, quite nice, African woman.  I kept getting up to get to my backpack (for Xanax, btw), but she didn't seem the least bit annoyed.  I promptly pop my pills, and am off to la-la land again.  Subtle but powerful that benzo.

With about an hour to go in the flight, I begin to un-drowsify myself as waking up is hardly what I would call it.  My new friend stars nudging me and startin conversation.  Again, very nice.  Then she tells me she owns a club in Nairobi, and I should come by.  Told her I'd love to, but duty calls and I must be on my way.  (What a 20-something year old African girl is doing owning a nightclub is beyond me.  Maybe it was empty and she thought I was an American lush with cash.  I dunno).  So I'm thinking to myself--well, there you go.  Not all Africans are poor (ignorant, I know but it gets better).  Mind you, I have doubted what she was saying and still thought this was a scam.

This is where it gets better.  She says, "I am Miss Kenya 2004."

That was too much.  I was being internationally gracious with the whole "owning the best club in downtown Nairobi" thing.  I almost fired back with something like, "I'm Mr Universe" but I think we all know how many people are going to buy that.  So I told her I was Tom Cruise's stunt double in Mission Impossible.

No, I didn't say that.  But she did inform me she has a fiance, and she gave me her number, name and email address.  Juliet Atieno.  Go ahead, folks, google her...

Then waiting in line at customs (for like 2 hours, not happy), I struck up a conversation with a group of gringos (is there an African or swahili word for white person?), who interestingly enough were going to Rwanda on a medical mission of their own.  None were docs, and one was a news reporter.  After telling them just a blip of myself, she decided to give me her name and Denver, CO, contact info; saying she's always looking for a good story.  I immediately began to recount everything I knew about Nishant Shaw, telling her if she ever wanted to interview a good sidekick of his, I would oblige, but that he's the news.  With a Tanzanian father and American mother, she was interesting herself.

So I grab a cab and head to the city center to catch another bus, and ask the cabby if he's heard of my little "Miss Kenya" friend.  My Swahili had come along quite far in the hours on the plane that I was sleeping.  I could barely remember her first name when he corrected me on it and offered her last name--saying she's done tons of good things and charity work in the country.

No shit.

When I get to the bus center of Nairobi, they tell me that there's only one way into Kenya, and that it happens to be in the OPPOSITE direction of Shirati and Lake Victoria, where my hospital is.  Like the fool without a plan that I am, I trust them and away we go.  Two dangerous cab rides and I cross the Tanzanian border and end up in a town called Arusha, which happens to be a convenient 12 HOURS from my final destination.  WTF?  Nice, Lorenz, nice.  And one more thing:

The book where I put the contact info of my first two friends...Lonely Planet, left in the cab...

Wonderful.  I swear those stories are true.

The last few hours here have been classic international exploration fun.  I just wander the streets saying "Hello" (Jambo) and "How are you" (Habari gani) to everyone.  Really wish I could have a more in depth convo with these folks.  The farther you get from the big cities, the less English there is.  They respond with the like questions in English.  Seems a smile and a little effort goes a long way.

So half of me is just flat out pissed that I will have traveled an inefficient 4 days (Wednesday, Thurs, Fri and now Sat) to get from home to the hospital.  But the other half of me feels quite differently.  I had hours to kill today in Arusha.  So I just went for a walk down the main couple streets, trying to get a good shot of Mount Meru at sunset.  Just paying attention to nothing...sounds, people walking by, the horrible American dance music that I wish wouldn't make it across the Atlantic.  The inefficiency of the third world is a bit of a gift for me.  Makes me let go of all the crap, distraction and unimportant things I think are so important.  And focus more on right now.  How I'm going to get through the day.

I must say I've been extremely impressed with Kenyans and Tanzanians so far.  Earmuffs dad--but I could have been robbed, beaten or killed like 35 times today.  Let's be honest.  There was nobody on that road but me and the cabby.  Several times I left my things in the car, and they guarded it.  One guy even went so far as to loan me money because he was worried I wouldnt have enough or be able to find an ATM.  Wow.  Very impressive.  Much to learn here.

Finally on a Lorenz note.  As I was returning to the hotel to crash tonight, I ran into a youngster selling DVDs, so I took a look.  Love me some bootlegged movies.  I dont know if you've seen these things, but they can cram like 80 movies onto 1 DVD, and charge you like $10.  I went wild looking through it all, and settled on the following:

1) The Schwartzenegger Collection.  I want no moans from the Residency or CCRMC crowd as he IS our California governor, whether you voted for him or not.  I think it's got all his movies--Terminator 1 and 2, Predator, Commando, etc. 

2) Pierce Brosnan.  Which has like 8 James Bond movies, along with a bunch of other Pierce stuff that I didn't know existed and wont bother with.

3) Matt Damon.  Bourne 1, 2, 3.  Oceans 11, 12, 13.  Now that I'm looking at this, it might be in French.  Crap.  Oh well.


Luke Macaulay said...

Dog! Awesome to see all the great content on the blog. Keep it up! Bummer about the lonely planet loss--although I had to laugh as you describe the story. May as well take it as a lesson of living as an itinterant and letting go of possessions and attachments! Trust your instincts and stay safe out there.

Luke Macaulay said...

All this talk about intinerancy led me to this link on Irish Travellers:

Are you one of the 7,000 in the US? I wonder if I have roots as a Pikey...

Anonymous said...


Pete & Charlotte live IN ARUSHA!! You were practically at there house when you were there! If you're still there CALL THEM!

Aunt Cath

Anonymous said...


In case that was one of the numbers you lost, Pete & Charlotte are at 0754 593 700. They've lived there for 30 years or so, so they will know how to help you get where you want to.

btw, Arusha is one of Kansas City's sister cities. I was on the sister city committee for that.

Aunt Cath

jack said...

"Muzungu" is Swahili for white man... it is sort of derogatory so people who say it to your face are either not happy with you or are not your friends... also, little known fact but there is no distinction between whites and light skinned asians so i'm a muzungu there too... finally, i get the respect i deserve. ur blog makes me wanna be there even more.

Tom said...

Glad you are still alive an typing, although I'm quite sure your life was in more danger when you crashed the Hells Angels biker party here in our little Martinez. Your presence was sorely missed at Dan Lee's fiesta the other night, especially during the audience participation component which you would have loved. Pratik was in full cooking mode and Dan had the house turned out. We made sure to throw your name around but I won't repeat any more of what was said. On another note, in the interest of completeness I must insist on a return trip to Miss Kenya's club. Pictures accepted, video preferred.

Luke Macaulay said...

funny thing, once i wrote that comment about letting go of material possessions I went to my car and found that someone had broken in and stolen my stereo/CD player. Guess its my turn for the lesson....

barryllium said...

Clearly, Lar, you need to purchase many iBooks in the US and then sell them in Holland next time you do this!

Oh, and I think we can all agree that it's a good thing you lost Miss Kenya's contact info. God knows that would have just meant you stalking her!

John said...

Wow. You purchased Arnold DVD's in Africa. Unbelivable!