Anne and I play dumb games with each other all the time. Take little bets, try to predict things, or guess things in advance just to entertain ourselves. Since coming here we’ve taken to guessing what causes traffic jams, that we get stuck in pretty much whenever we go out. Goes like this: after about ten minutes sitting there sucking exhaust, one of us will say why we think this traffic jam started, we make official predictions, then wait to see who’s right. No prize, no glory, just a silly way to pass the time. What we’ve found here is that we’re usually both (or all three since Megan is with us a lot of the time) wrong. We’ve seen so many ridiculous traffic situations that we never could have imagined in advance because things like this just don’t happen at home. More often than not we’re surprised by some amusing, or totally random thing as the cause of an hour or two backup.
Here’s some examples: huge truck stopped in the middle of the road (pretty common), police check, police directing traffic (usually against the traffic light and seeming to make things even worse (apparently some police take bribes from hawkers to slow traffic so they can sell more junk)), human drawn cart in the middle of the freeway, new random speed bumps in the FREEWAY, unbelievably deep potholes that have appeared overnight, flipped matatu or bus (with huge crowd of gawkers), dead cows all over the road, dead guy in the road, freeway collapsed with a bus standing on end nose down in the hole, crazy road construction with no flagers or warnings about road changes or big machinery, big pile of lumber, cars driving the wrong direction down our side of the road to avoid something on their side of the road, or nothing…no identifiable cause.
Yesterday we saw the funniest one yet, we wished we had the camera.
There is a really famous beer here by the name of Tusker Beer http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/822/2563. There are huge billboards proclaiming, “Get back to your roots! Try a Tusker”.
Anyhow, this was the cause of the traffic jam. First we saw the huge police flatbed truck with about a dozen police arriving on scene….no overturned truck in sight. But then we saw people walking off with huge bags of bottles….and then we saw them.
Overjoyed Kenyan men drinking “recovered” Tusker beer in the middle of the day.
You would have thought it was Christmas. One man had the most ridiculously happy smile on his face, waving to traffic with one hand, while gripping his Tusker in the other. Another man must have arrived early on the scene because his goofy grin and sideways walk indicated that he was already sufficiently drunk. Others walking off with half broken, half-filled bottles of beer, but beer non-the-less!
People were RUNNING down the side of the freeway hoping to get a bottle of Tusker…some kilometers away and sadly too late to grab their bottle. Others were running the other direction as fast as they could with their booty….I’m sure in hopes of making off with it to the local market to sell, or to call their friends for an impromptu party.
It’s not every day most of these people get to enjoy a Tusker. And now that I think about it, the police weren’t really doing anything in the back of that covered truck. Perhaps they too were enjoying a Tusker.