Life in Africa

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Arrival

The streets of Nairobi are insane...the main roads are roughly paved and have tons of pot holes…impossible to have a smooth drive…all the side streets are dirt roads…everything is dirty….you drive the car from what we know as the passenger side and drive on the left side of the road…the traffic is crowded and most of the cars and trucks are diesel…so the general smell is god awful…the road they call the highway is a four lane road…most of the other roads are all one lane…so there are also cars whipping around each other…there are no lines marking the lanes in the roads so people pass whenever and wherever…there are these round-abouts in the highway every couple of miles…they are so busy…you have to yield in and then somehow get out through four lanes of traffic…no street signs…no traffic lights, at least that people abide by…no street lights for nighttime…there is no speed limit posted….and speed bumps randomly placed with no markings to give warning…the drivers are severely aggressive, and for those who have driven with me know that me saying severely aggressive, has to be bad…there are these small caravan buses called Matatus that stuff in and transport about twenty five ppl when full…people hanging out the windows and doors holding on for dear life as these little buses fly around the roads with no care or caution…the cars have the right of way, not the people…and there are people everywhere…there are no sidewalks, instead there are dirt paths on either side of the road for pedestrian use…and there are tons of pedestrians…that is the first thing I noticed, that there are people walking everywhere…as far as you can see, through fields and streets, and lots….coming and going to wherever they want to be….the streets are lined with people….the people walking are always carrying tons of stuff…in their hands, on their heads, and on their backs…there are no strollers here so women tie their babies on their backs with a serong….if the people are not walking they are riding their bikes…their bikes are usually piled up with whatever they are transporting…eggs, straw, sticks, corn stalks, groceries, another person…a lot of times the bikes are so piled up with stuff, that from the back you can’t even see the person actually riding the bike…