I suggest you grab a glass of wine and make yourself comfortable, cuz this is a long one.
Before we arrived to Nairobi, Andrew had made an Instagram connection; Ian Cox. This guy showed us the funniest, most crazy shit Nairobi had to offer. Some stories that will never be put to paper as they will surely come back to bite me in the ass when I run for POTUS. Andrew will give you the PG version of our two-week stay. I’m going to do my best to recap our most ridiculously African day in Africa, ever!
Our new BFF, Ian, took his new BFF Emily, Andrew and myself out to “the bush” for a real “Kenyan experience”. All we knew about the bush is that there are Masai people and wild animals in the open countryside. The Masia tribe is basically the last, easily-ish accessible and traditional tribe in Africa. They’re known for their red, plaid looking “dresses” and cool ass sandals. People say that these shepherds are (were, maybe?) fearless warriors. We saw some in Tanzania/Zanzibar, but they were Disney-fied for tourists and turned themselves into basic bitches with neon-green Wayfarer sunglasses and the occasional gold tooth. Nairobi is a pretty modern city, but once you drive 15 minutes out, you’re in another world. There are leopards, hyenas, lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, etc. roaming freely. Emily and I started drinking a few minutes into our drive (go ahead, judge the lawbreakers). If there had been a camera recording our drive you would have thought Ian was drinking with us because he drives like a full-blown psychopath.
The roads in the bush, are not roads, they’re just a shitload of holes in the ground that create a large vegetation-less dirt path. He was going SO DAMN FAST and swerving left and right to dodge the bigger holes. It was sort of like riding one of those shaky, shitty old wooden roller coasters, but worse. These paths were like the surface of the moon or that crater-faced kid, Pete, from high-school. Anyways, we stopped a few different times to get out of the car and take in the gorgeous scenery of the Great Rift Valley. One time we were sitting idle on the side of the road after taking photos, chatting, when 6 or 7 boys ran up to the car with beaded bracelets and key chains hanging from their fingers. We have NO idea where they came from, as there were no structures, villages in sight, they must have come out of the fucking ground like the worms in Tremmors. They were sweet, with big, kind eyes, not pushy or moody or whining like other street hawkers we’ve encountered. We bought a few things, gave them some extra money and drove on, Mario Cart style.
We drove through so many gorgeous Masai villages. We passed dozens of beautiful Masai women with their bright dresses, massive beaded necklaces, earrings, and kids tied to their fronts and backs; just walking along the crater roads or sitting under trees. Masai people are relatively stand-offish, so stopping the car near them generally made them run, duck behind trees or just waive their spear/staff thingy in the air angrily. I would never want to upset these guys, they carry a spear/staff and baby sword tied around their waist at all times. We saw Masai kids no older than 10 years old tending to massive flocks of sheep. It was beautiful. It was so, so beautiful.
There were two old Masai men walking along the road with a goat (I'm certain it was a goat, but everyone else in the car called the creature a sheep - but what do they know?) in tow. They flagged us down and slowly walked up to the car as we pulled over with sheer excitement and curiosity. I never asked what Ian said to them in Swahili, but next thing I know they were squeezing into our car WITH their sheep/goat. One of the two Masai’s (we’ll call him Frank) was next to me and the other (Beans) climbed into the hatchback trunk WITH the sheep/goat. I had a very large beer in my hand and several empties in the back pocket of the drivers seat. Frank pointed at the beer in my hand, so I passed it to him not knowing whether or not he even KNEW what beer was. He chugged it, then grinned. So, I handed him a second beer. He downed that one too and then checked the empties, drank the last drops of backwash from each one. I smiled at him like a proud Mother.
Anyways, we’re all packed into the Subaru, Andrew and I giggling to each other, knowing that whatever was happening next was going to be fantastic. Frank and Beans didn’t speak English, so they would have to lean over me to point Ian in the right direction. These guys live in huts made of cow poo. They’re in the hot sun ALL day with their sheep/goats/cows/donkeys. Those two facts mean they’ve got a funky stench that was undeniably revolting. Their teeth are mangled. They have crazy, long fingers nails, big, stretched out earlobes and they wear, what we would call dresses. Did I mention that they carry a staff/spear and a mini-sword? Yeah, this was quite the site and I think most people would think twice before picking up said hitchhikers, but you could see and sense that they had hearts of gold. So smiley, so cute, but oh, so stinky.
We thought we were just dropping them off at their village, but they invited us to stay. One of their daughters came out. She spoke a bit of English and translated for us. There were a total of 7 people that we got to meet, not including the dozens of furry sheep munchkins that we of, course had to chase, catch and hold. The flies were EVERYWHERE. We were COVERED in them. I have family who own large farms, so I’ve experienced fly mayhem, but nothing like this. It was quite unpleasant, and of course Andrew was freaking out (he doesn’t like when bugs touch him), but we were so infatuated with these people and their way of life that it made the fly hell totally worth it. Frank’s daughter, we’ll call her Ketchup, was sneaky and asked us for money in order to get a tour. Whateva, this experience was priceless. We all squeezed into a poo hut, where there was a small fire going, but it was mostly black as night inside. There were a couple of tiny stools, a bed/ledge made out of poo and hide and a second poo poo/hide bed in the next “room”. The smell wasn’t as bad as you would think, considering we were basically sitting inside a mound of dung up to 100 years old. Also, there were no flies in our poo house, so Andrew finally stopped having panic attacks. Emily was sitting on a poopy bed next to Frank and Beans. Me and Andrew we standing/nealing next to Ketchup, Franks wife (Mustard) and their tiny, but fat baby (Pickle). There was another kid (Onion, he had attitude so his new name is quite fitting) who was darling, but looked at us as if we were aliens. We all sat with smiles on our faces, but in complete silence. I think we were in awe of our current situation and the way the day had started to unfold. After awhile it became apparent that we were overstaying our welcome, so we all hugged, took some photos together, got into our car and drove onto our next adventure. We were high off the experience we just had together. Ian continued to drive like a jackass. Emily and I were starting to get tipsy and giggly and Andrew was taking every opportunity to poke fun of us, per usual. It was SO grand.
After a couple more hours of crazy driving, drinking, scenery admiring, we made it to the Lake Magadi. Magadi is a salt/soda lake. It looks like a frozen over lake, but pink. Pepto Bismol pink. There were dozens of men shoveling the soda (idk, just google it) into big thick lines. If you took an aerial shot of what was going down, it would look like a bunch of ants using tiny, itty bitty shovels to make thick lines of cocaine ready for a dollar bill and a schnozzle. Emily took a dance on the lake even though the workers forbid us from touching it. Probably because its acidic, poison, moist, anthrax.
Ten minutes later we got to a portion of the lake that was regular water, rather than pink anthrax and it was riddled with flamingos. This was the first time I’ve seen wild flamingos. Actually, I’ve never even considered that wild flamingos existed. Those are some stupid ass looking birds. Watching them fly in flocks is the most bizarre thing. That said, I’ve developed a small infatuation with those pink, awkward dummies.
Two minutes after that we stumbled upon wild zebras and wildebeests. The termite hills everywhere were ten+ feet tall and while you know what nasty, bitey, bugs are inside, they still look majestic. We saw some weird looking horned animals and other furry creatures I didn’t know existed.
Twenty minutes later we were at the hot springs part of this massive lake. We all got out of the car once again, but this time to dip our toes into a multicolored hole in the ground. We took off our clothes with the idea of submerging ourselves, but it was hotter than hot, so we just skated around the slippery rocks, coming inches away from falling to our scolding death. We all looked at the car and complimented it on making it through hours of evil treatment from the rabid-driving, careless, heartless owner. Andrew actually said, wow, after that ride out here, with that thing still standing and no flat tires, this day could be a Subaru commercial… Yeah, a commercial about how to ruin everything.
At this point I’m buzzed enough that the memory of the following events are a bit spotty. From what I recall, we all got dressed and hoped into the car, Ian turned the key and tik, tik, tik, nothing... We laughed and laughed at the irony of what we just said (Why didn't I knock on wood this time?!) until we realized we’re in the middle of fucking nowhere and the sun was setting. We were parked in a massive dry lakebed and looking around as it got darker and darker- it was a bit surreal. Emily and I had our doors open, with our feet hanging out the open windows, we quietly mocked Ian for pretending to know what he was doing under the hood of the car and made fun of Andrew for sitting there, watching Ian, doing absolutely nothing (I think he was waiting for Ian to have him hold something. Andrew's more of a "tool holder" than a fixer.), as she and I shared the last beer we had. Honestly, the lack of beer was our only concern. We were stuck in the bush, where leopards and lions and hyenas live and that was fine. But we didn’t have any beer. We had water and a few chocolate truffles, whatever, water and chocolate…. But, again, no beer.
Well, after an hour of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb touching parts on the car trying to look like they’re fixing stuff, the sun finally went down. We sat in the complete darkness, several miles from the last town, slowly accepting the fact that we’re going to sleep out there. The sky was beautiful, filled with stars, it was really pleasant. Then the hyenas started howling or barking or whatever they do that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand. Also, with the buzz now wearing off….mmkkay, maybe sleeping not here sounds a bit better than sleeping here.
After an hour of sitting in the pitch black, with manhood defeat completely accepted by the guys, we decided to give her another shot. “Let’s try to start it again, why not? This time, turn the lights off first.” Rev, rev, vroom, vroom, OH MY GOODNESS, WE’RE SAVED, well, that's if we make it home without Ian finally crashing the car. I kinda wish we would have been stuck out there and maybe someone got a hand or leg bitten off by an African beast. We’re traveling around the world in search of adventure after all, I’m willing to sacrifice a few of Andrew’s body parts for a good story to bring home.
45 minutes later, we made it to electricity! We stopped in the soda town, picked up more beer (our third beer run of the day) and headed for home.
We saw striped hyenas (apparently those are more rare than regular hyenas- Ian peed himself with happiness). We got stuck in a traffic jam as there were one billion donkeys sleep-standing in the middle of the path. At that point, we thought it was a good idea to get out of the car and try to catch one. Emily got close once, but we gave up when I stepped in a steamy pile of shit, and went back to the car as failures. We drove back to Nairobi with our spastic driver, ate the worst meal of our lives at some random fried chicken joint and headed out to the Subaru to finally go home, 6 hours after originally planned. We made it across the parking lot and finally, as expected, our trusty old Subaru had that flat tire that Ian basically worked really hard on getting all day. Of course. Seriously, Ian, you’re the worst car owner in the world. The worst.
The next morning we replayed the day in our heads and we couldn’t get the smiles off our faces. What a perfect day of madness and adventure in Kenya. Thank you Ian and Emily for being so fun and carefree with us. We love you both!