Friday, November 17, 2017

Ludwar, Kenya: Tidbits

Tidbits” is a new series of posts I'll start: things I forgot, or things that didn't fit anywhere else (Africa has seen some very long posts). They can be read out-of-order with the rest of the blog, which is good, because three posts are scheduled over the next few days!

Metric System

As Jacob and I were filtering water, I was trying to figure out how much heavier we'd be. The Camelbak, I knew, holds 3 liters of water.

Me: “How much does a liter of water weigh?”

Jacob: “A kilo.”

Me: “Wait... really?”

Jacob: “Really.”

Me: “That's so simple! And a cubic centimeter weighs a gram, right?”

Jacob: “And it's a milliliter.”

Me: “What!?”

Jacob: “A cubic centimeter of water is a milliliter of water."

Me: “WHAT!?”

Jacob: “The whole system is based on water! It makes so much sense!”

Me: “Okay, seriously. The 2020 election needs to be about the metric system.”

One Thing, Another Thing

When cycle touring, it almost always seems like something is wrong. Jacob likes to say, “If it's not one thing, it's another thing.” In the African bush, I suggested instead: “If it's not these five things, it's those five things.”

Here are some things that went wrong for us, often simultaneously:
- Running out of water
- Running out of food
- Running out of money (either local currency or, in my case, your bank failing a transfer so you can't make any withdrawals)
- Having slow leaks in our tires (where the air leaks out so slowly you can't find the leak, but still have to pump up the tire multiple times a day)
- It being very hot
- It being very sunny, and being out of sunscreen or shade
- Road conditions: sand, dirt, mud, rocks, ass-felt (“my ass felt that the next day”)
- Rain
- Our chains needing lubrication
- Our gears not shifting
- Not speaking the language
- Gear falling apart: water bottle cages falling off, sewing coming undone
- Not having showered in a week
- Not having done laundry in a week
- Needing to replace something that got stolen (like a headlamp)

And let's not forget the one you can never do anything about...
- There's a headwind

We now say, “If it's not these five things, it's those five things.”

Mzungu Prices

(we're in Kenya now, so “white person” is mzungu, not ferringhi)

Jacob and I walked down the street one night, hunting for vegetables. Not so many people tried to get our attention as in Ethiopia, but there were a few hawkers. “Good evening,” said one.

“Good evening,” I said. I asked where we could buy some vegetables. She indicated, then said, “Why not some fish?” gesturing towards her wares.

“How much?” I said, not interested that night, but curious for future reference. 100. “Not tonight,” I said.

Hawker: “Why not tonight?”

Me: “Maybe tomorrow.”

Hawker: “100, it's a good price?”

Me: “Yes, very good,” I said. We'd paid $4 for a whole fish at a restaurant about a week ago in Ethiopia; now, here was a comparable hunks offish for $1.

Jacob: “I'll take some fish.”

Hawker: “Okay, 200.”

And that is why you are always in a qualm about whether to say the price is good or not. Are you honest, or do you save yourself the headache of paying “white people prices?”

An Exposé

Turns out, when you ride with two people, you get twice as many photos! Here are 20 of Jacob's photos that I particularly like. You will find some of them have places in past and future blog posts, forgive me for being too lazy to put them where they belong.

All credit to Jacob. His blog is here.

Two Men

One of us goes in to reception, the other waits outside.

“Hi. Do you have any rooms available?”

“Yes, but two men cannot sleep in the same room.”

“Okay. Do you have any rooms with separate beds?”

“Two men cannot sleep in the same room. Separate rooms.”

“Okay, how much?”


“And does the wifi work?”

“Not right now.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

This has happened more than once. We usually don't stay at these places.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tidbits and photos by Jacob!

    Love you, Mom