Thursday, May 8, 2008


I'll recap it all as this is really my first time I've been able to sit down and type.

I flew out of la on Sunday to Amsterdam, which could be one of the longest flights possible. I had an eight hour layover there and got a haircut, cause that's what you do when you go to Amsterdam. Then I flew Kenya Air to Nairobi. A few words on Kenya Air as I'm sure a lot of you racists are thinking "what was that like" which really means "Africans own planes and you went on one?"
It was actually better than KLM except that the flight attendants wake you up and ask you if you want a cashew. Then they wake you up and ask you if you want an apple juice. Then they crash the cart into you. But other than that, it's not so bad.

I got to Kenya early, like 6.30 AM and met the guy to take me to the hotel. By the time we got out of the airport, morning traffic had started. I'd say the airport and the hotel are about 20 miles away and the journey took about an hour and a half. The traffic in there is absolutly insane. There are roundabouts everywhere, and things are always at a standstill. And it's not the type of traffic where you sitin your car and casually alternate between gas and break, you gotta be on your toes in this shit. People will literally ram the back of your car (no homo) if you haven't moved up the inch that has just been opened.

Another cool thing about Kenyan traffic is there bus system. They have no real public transportation system to speak of but instead have a series of white econoline vans with yellow tape on the side. They stop anywhere, at anytime, regardless of traffic behind them, and pick people up. And they cram people in there three or four to a row. But the best part is every van is manned by two, there's a driver, but also a tout/money collect/salesman who hangs out the window, hangs up to 90 percent of his body out the window, yelling at the top of his lungs where the van can go and how much he will cut off the price to such a person who looks like they have such tired feet in all of Kenya. At night, they fix lights in the vans and blast music out of them. I actually saw two or three of them with pop down flat screens, guessing the rates go up for that one.

Last night, we left a restaurant downtown and traffic was so bad people were actually getting out of their cars and kicking it. Imagine that, tailgating on the motherfucking road!

Downtown Nairobi is also insane. There's a big park that more or less separates downtown into the financial center and the government area. We spent most our time in the financial part. There are people everywhere, I mean everywhere. And they tend to all be either walking or sitting.

The other two big things, actually my two biggest first impressions, are that there are a lot of Indians and it's not that hot. It gets hot later in the day, but not like, Africa hot.

It's hard to sit here and try and go back over everything that's happened the last few days, but I'm going to dig deep and I'll post a lot more and more often about more specifics.

This morning we flew from Kenya to Kigali, Rwanda. And it's beautiful here. Hot, and less than ten Indians, but beautiful beyond anything I had heard. The whole country is all hills, hills and valleys. The greens are eye-poppingly green and I've never seen the sky so blue as it is here. I spent all day at the airport trying to get our gear cleared through customs. One of the good things about Rwanda is that it's not corrupt, and lack of corruption here means red-tape. Basically in order to prevent corruption there are hundreds of checks and balances so that a packing list of your items with one woman's signature has to be copied and presented to five different people who all need to know that the other five have seen it. Meanwhile copying said document requires a journey to the aiport office center, which don't get confused by the name, is not in the aiport at all. So between the police, customs, immigration, and the airline, everything took forever. And you couldn't bribe them. In fact the bribes I gave were pathetic; instead of having our shit forklifed out of the complex to the vans, I bribed a guy to unlock the gate for me so the vans could drive in. Then you have to bribe the fork-lift driver for the inconvincene of him not having to do any work. But the idea goes back to these chekcs and balances, if I didn't bribe the forklift driver, he could have told on the dude that opened the gate, and so on.