Things moving

I had a very nice weekend: Friday was the birthday of a friend in Nairobi, for which there was a fabulous Italian dinner at a posh restaurant in the city, and Saturday was another birthday, this time of Katie the Peace Corps volunteer from up the road in Tala. Katie and I went and stayed with my friend in town and we all celebrated both birthdays. Saturdays celebration was a quiet night in with some home cooked food and a game of scrabble but oh boy, how I miss quiet nights **with company** like that.

While in town visited the college’s Internet Service Provider to find out more about their operation and how our charges are calculated. My first visit to an ISP and I enjoyed that thoroughly too. I even picked up a sample of screened network cable with a connector which we can now use as a demonstration piece at the college.

On saturday Katie and I went looking for beads on Nairobi’s colourful River Road. Anyone who lives here should be laughing at that. I use the word Colourful here in much the same way that Interesting is used in “May you live in interesting times”. As we approached the place where the bead show is a remarkable phenomenon occurred. There must have been a police man somewhere because suddenly and miraculously the roadside sellers — those who sell an armfull of clothes or plastic nicnacs from a stall made of cardboard cartons at the side of the road — filled their arms with their wares, folded their cartons and fled. The sight of one transitory trader making transit clearly unnerved the next and the effect spread down the road in a wave that passed us by in a moment. By the time we came out of the bead shop they had all returned and reestablished themselves in place hawking their wres.

Another remarkable form of movement happened while we were waiting at the railway matatu stage for our vehicle to fill up and take us back to Tala. Over by the entrance to the railiway yard a small whirlwind — perhaps thirty feet of turbulence made visible by an accumulation of red dirt (only the roads themselves are paved, siewalks and matatu stages are bare earth) — whisked its way down the stage and round the corner onto the main road, as if following the rules of the road. Well, if the rules of the road specified that it was appropriate behaviour to summon up a hundred plastic bags, discarded newspapers and other litter and fling them aborad in all directions. Katie is from Colorado where, apparently, really big and dangerous whirlwinds — the ones that deserve the name tornado — are not uncommon but for me, from Suffolk, this is the biggest and most spectacular such experience I have ever witnessed.

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