Kenya, March 12, 2003
Another slow day in Africa
|'Pole-pole' loosely translates from Kswahili to English as 'slowly-slowly,' and nothing better can describe the African experience. At first, coming from the speedy big Western city, I chaffed at the lazy way everything is done here. Just getting a haircut could take two hours, and lets not even get into restaurant service!
Over time though, as I've relaxed and accepted the speed of Africa, which is somewhere around a slow stroll, I've started to enjoy watching other mzungus try to speed things up like I once did. Let's take this train ride for instance.
There are several ways to get from Mombasa to Nairobi, with most taking an overnight bus, which after my Riga to Tallinn trip, I swore I would never, ever do again. Then there is always flying, but that's no fun. No, the real way to travel is by train, and after reading the 'Lunatic Express,' about England's trials and tribulations in building the railroad from Mombasa to Kisumu, I had to take it.
Well, if it ever came. The train was to leave at 7pm, but it only pulled into the station at midnight, and it still needed to be cleaned and stocked, much to the frustration of a Brit, who was pacing the length of the station all night, bitching about the slow speed of departure.
Funny enough, he also said he'd been to Africa many times, which was at odds with his 'hurry-hurry' attitude with the locals. He should've known better and followed my example and read, slept, and beat Germans at Uno.
Once we finally started off, around 2am, he calmed down enough to sleep, but was up bright and early the next morning, complaining that we were not gonna arrive at the expected 8am, but at 3:30pm, taking out a whole day that he'd plan to run errands during.
Me, I just relaxed with a new book, 'The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo,' and read the day away, for I now know how to live life 'pole-pole.'