Friday, October 15, 2010

Random Thoughts, Observations and Things That Make Me Go Hmmmmm

Did you know, Kenya is known for its flowers?  Kenyan flowers, particularly roses, make up 25% of the marketshare in the European Union.  Roses make up 74% of that total 25%.  And they are spectacular!  I have never seen so many varieties of roses .

I like roses, but I'm more a Sunflower kind of girl.  You just can't be sad when you look at a Sunflower.  Sunflowers and purple anything are my favorites.  I bought these flowers at this sprawling makeshift stand not too far from my house.  I bought them on Saturday, today is Wednesday and they are still gorgeous and I only spent equivalent of $5 for the entire lot.  I think I will have fresh flowers in my apartment every day!  
Random Hmmm... #2

Spinners lie!  I went to my second spin class last night.  It was much better than the first one I went to but it still isn't a real ride....I know happy place, happy place, make do, lemonade out of lemons yada, yada, yada.

Ok, so my classmates, don't know them, look like nice people, very diverse but all have one thing in common.  When the instructor says to turn up the tension, they ALL fake it.  Sure, they may look like they are turning up the tension, putting their hand over the knob and turning to the right but I believe it's all slight of hand.  How do I know?  I am one of the most fit people in the class, one girl might be more fit, but I have a good 20 years on her.  As we're doing "hills" I'm the only one really cranking the pedals and feeling the push/pull of the "hill" while the rest of my mates are spinning up the hill like they are Thor Hurshovld or Mark Cavendish at the end of the sprint of Stage 3 in the Tour de France.  I'm sorry, no one can spin those pedals that quickly if you really are turning up two levels every two minutes following the instructors directions.  They lie!  So, next time you're in a Spin Class do not get frustrated as your classmates outsprint you the entire hour...they have no tension.  Just do your hills!

Randomness #3....If you are the driver of a Mutatu (African minivan bus stuffed with Africans like a can of sardines careening down the streets of Nairobi on a course sure to end in carnage) and the back of your bus says "God Knows, God Loves" it's probably not a good idea to give the "finger" to the driver to your right who you are cutting off in rush hour traffic.  God does know and you are going to Mutatu Driver Hell if you're not careful!

Random Thought #4....I know how blacks must feel in America at times, being in the minority.  I was in downtown Nairobi yesterday and as I sat in the truck with George waiting to meet Victor I realized I was the only white person in downtown, in that section at that moment.  It was odd.  It was uncomfortable in the way that I knew I would never fit in.  We do tend to gravitate to our own kind.  Here it is not just color but mostly culture.  I really wonder if black Americans have ever felt the same way I felt at that moment being a white American in Kenya.  The big difference, the really sad difference is that being white I still get preferential treatment even in a country where I'm a stark minority.  That does not sit well with me and has always bothered me from the special treatment head to the front of the lines at the banks in Rwanda to being served first in Kenya at restaurants.  Why does color still matter?  I guess I don't know what it's like to be a minority.

Final hmmm.....the best thing you can ever do for yourself is live outside your comfort zone.  Yesterday I saw this older gentlemen getting off a motorbike, a real BMW 1150GS motorbike, at the Mall where I was having lunch.  There it was, common ground.  As the man sat down I went over to his table, introduced myself and made a new friend.  He's a Brit, based here in Nairobi working on logistics for large organizations like USAID.  He just got here three months ago from a stint in Afghanistan.  His dear friend a UK Aid worker was just killed in AfghanistanIf you watch CNN, you must know the story.  Sad, simply tragic.  Everyone has a story, in Africa they just seem to be more intense, but we all have a story.  Next time you're sitting alone, step outside your comfort zone and learn about someone's "story".  

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