Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Ultimate Pink Ticket

Can you believe i have had the ultimate pink ticket all weekend, and what did i do with it?

.........Stayed in, ate popcorn, watched girlie movies and cried a lot of course!!

I was hoping to develop cabin fever that would make me want to rush out of the house and hit the town and paint it a great shade of maroon or something wicked .... but alas, cabin fever proves totally elusive and i find I've stayed in the entire weekend!

The reason for the pink ticket is that my son's been away all weekend at his father's wedding. I'm not sure why i feel so down about it all - I mean, I wanted that divorce too ... 'Didn't i?' It's just that selfish thing inside me that says; 'Well, I may not have wanted him, but that doesn't mean i want anyone else to have him either!' I mean he was my husband first, and is the father of my gorgeous son, and ............... Oh Bollocks, I sound like a child having a tantrum and as all good mothers know, we should never give in to a tantrum. (But as all great mothers know, we often do just to keep the peace!)

But still, I'm struggling a little here .... he could have fought for us a little don't you think? .....

Anyway, enough of that. I got the best bits out of the marriage - my son and the dogs - hey who needs the husband? I've got enough on my plate as it is without having added extras on board!

I've got the prize winning Rottweiler running around the house with a bucket on his head after having an operation on his eye. He's taking out everything in his wake as he can't seem to work out that his head is three times its normal size - which being a Rottweiler isn't small on a good day!

It's mayhem here running about the house after him diving to save vases, cups and all other breakables from the tables as he crashes by. And the walls in the whole house have paint chips coming off where he's crashed his way through doorways, round corners and down the corridor.

They fail to mention that down at the vets when you check them in. All they tell you is 'I'm sorry, we really need to perform this operation to improve his quality of life' - Well they forget about the owners quality of life when they have to pay off the bills the operation incurs!

What they should say is 'Please take out a large bank loan in order to pay our bill, and a 2nd mortgage wouldn't go amiss as you'll have to redecorate the house once the dog comes home with an enormous bucket on his head for 10 days and completely destroys your decor!

Anyway - he's worth it - as my son always says 'No-one can resist a puppy dog pout!'

....... But hell, who am i trying to convince here that I'm fine with this 'he's getting remarried' thing by prattling on about my dogs? ..... You or Me?

...... Personally i don't think either.

Excuse me whilst i go and open another box of tissues.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life Sucks !

Just popped into the docs for a harmless prescription to help me through 'fruitcakedom', with the added bonus of helping my stressed out irritable bowel!

Well, i ask you. I had been in and out almost scott free when;

First of all I met a friend in the reception i hadn't seen in ages who asked me how i was. - Bad idea considering;

a) I was in the doctors surgery

b) Was awfully red eyed and weepy - and ALL women should know the drill - NEVER be nice to someone when she is very obviously on the brink of tears! - It is the sure way to crack the gate to full on waterworks and means your nice friendly doctor is in danger of flooding her office and will almost certainly have to change into a rubber frock!

c) My ex-husband's getting married today to the thin, pretty chick with a face of stone. (They'll be no laughter lines on her when she's old and grey, let me tell you!)

Then - can you believe - to top it all - the nurse caught me and said she needed to weigh me! ........ Weigh Me! ...... Is she kidding?!?! ............. Well apparently not.

I did suggest perhaps "Far Too Much" or "Extra Large" might do it if she just wrote that down as a 'sure guess' without the full blown embarrassment of climbing on the scales - but Oh No, she absolutely insisted!

She said if it would make me feel better i could take my shoes off - like that make a shed load of difference!! - I mean where were my 5kg high heels when i needed them!

And tell me this - how come i didn't get the only decent symptom on the 'Irritable Bowel' list, of 'loss of weight'. I want that symptom and not just the gut wrenching cramps, 'Michelin' man looks and serious wind that has my son shouting 'Mum, mum, the dog's done a windy again!' every 5 minutes.

(Hey, perhaps one day I'll let on it's really me and stop kicking the dog!)

.......................... Life, ... it's so not fair!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Shocking gossip from the ladies that lunch.

We had half term last week, and after sending my son off most days with various friends and their mothers to be duly entertained whilst I worked.

By Friday I was feeling a little guilty after dumping my son all week and missing out on the motherly children bonding action so I decided to join them for lunch. I dutifully went into the office until lunchtime then bailed in order to join in with the ‘ladies that lunch’ and see what they got up to in an ordinary day at the ‘office’.

I must say, I did struggle to keep up with the conversation whilst they discussed how they’d invented the latest “Gosh you must give me the recipe, it’s fabulous” talk, and who’s little precious darling was the latest to join the pony club, but as the afternoon wore on and some of the ladies had to move on for hair appointments, gardening lessons and polo clinics, the conversation certainly woke me up.

Well, I can tell you, I had absolutely no idea what these SAHMs (Stay At Home Mums) got up to. There was the ‘who’s had a boob job and who’s booked in for one’ conversation which I found quite enlightening. Then it was ‘who’s done who’s latest hairdo’- which I must say I also struggled with a little as I’m that girl who has her hair cut once a year – and only when I’ve been to the annual shaggy dog show and realise I could qualify for the ‘shaggiest dog in show’!
But then ………. well it got riveting.

Turns out there are a group of mothers who spend most afternoons drinking wine and putting various narcotic substances up their noses! …. I was floored!
I mean no one's immune to the odd glass of wine at lunch but really ...

Right in amongst our midst is another world of ‘Desperate Housewives’ I’ve only ever read about and seen on TV. Apparently there’s one woman – who it seems is talk of the town – who’s husband (although they are still married – happily probably very questionably) has gone to court to get custody of his children. Four of them I understand – all below the age of 6! Talk is that he’s a ‘little worried’ – understatement of the year I should imagine – about the welfare of his kids as Mrs whoever she is has been a little unpredictable with regards looking after the children as she’s either pissed or stoned 90% of the time it seems and keeps wandering off with or without the kids in tow.

Well I’ve got to say – thank god for house staff in this part of the world because by the sounds of it, I think they are probably the only ones keeping any sense of stability together at all for those poor children.
I’m sure in any other part of the world, social services would have been round in a flash and whipped them all into care by now, but here we don’t have any kind of organisation that remotely resembles social services so it falls on those who know her to try and make her see some sense but I think perhaps she probably just offers them a drink and they all get stuck in for the rest of the afternoon and that’s that.
I did ask why she kept having all these children – as I understand one of them is still only a few months old – but evidently its because ‘she wants to prove she can at least do motherhood’ – but can she?????? ……….. I don’t bloody think so! And what kind of strange way is that of proving it wouldn’t you say, and funnily enough it turns out that one of the kids ‘isn’t quite right’!
……… Nooooooooo

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fellow Kenyans, Give up the tribal politics!

Its politics, politicians and policies round our parts at the moment. It seems you cannot have a conversation lasting more than about 5 minutes without touching on the subject, so I thought perhaps I should post my 5 cents worth – although as a mzungu chick in this part of the world my opinion may not be worth much, I still have the same rights as every other Kenyan – and that includes my right to vote – whichever way that may be.

I read an excellent article in the press in one of the dailies which was a comment on the issue of politics and tribalism.

First of all can I say, I’d like to totally agree with the fellow who said that all those who felt he should vote with his tribe should basically ‘Get Stuffed’! A Kikuyu guy wrote the comment stating that the fact that although a fellow Kyuk has been in power, this has not altered his life (or any other Kikuyu for that matter) any different from any other Kenyan. Likewise in our constituency we’ve had a Luo in power for the past however long and there are no Luo’s I know of around here that have benefited – or not as the case may be – any more than the next guy whichever tribe they may be from.

Majimboism (the latest buzz word in the politicking factions) – according to the proposed constitution – is the decentralization of government with more power to the people, and although this sounds great on paper, Kenyans extremely tribalist roots will suggest they get their own tribes in and all others out! .. and the case of sharing out the cash to run each constituency will be a whole debate of its own …
Fair? … – I doubt it!

A colleague in the office told me of a scam that was going on throughout the last general election that had a gang of goons going around the villages telling the voters they felt wouldn’t swing Kibaki’s way that if they put an X in the box for Kibaki, it would mean that you didn't want him for president.

- Nice way to garner some votes wouldn’t you say!

Voting on tribal lines has become so ensconced in the Kenyan culture, you’re a Kikuyu – then obviously you vote for the Kyuk, a Luo for the Jaluo and a Kamba for the Kao – the others just get conned into voting for whoever the goons who get to them first tell them to vote for.

Please fellow Kenyans, let’s wake up and smell the roses. Let's vote for those with the best policies, those that will make our great country move forward and upward as it deserves to do.

I certainly IS demoralized !

Just spotted on Sky News:

The union spokesman from the BBC says:
"The staff is demoralized and angry!"

Now tell me - wouldn't you also be demoralized and angry if it turned out your union spokesman couldn't speak English either!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Anything the UK can do, the US can obviously do much better!!

Not sure if you’ve ever come across my blog before or read about the news story somewhere else, but I had written about the Royal Air Force who lost a bomb a couple of weeks ago. whilst out on exercise in Scotland somewhere. Not sure if it ever turned up, but ....

“Let’s not overreact and ‘Go All Football’, we’ll just carry on as if nothing had happened and hope that some nice chap might just come across whilst out walking his dog one day and give us a quick tinkle so that we can swing by and pick it up sometime!”

Well, the Americans – not to be outdone by the Brits in any form or other have gone one better – in fact, I wouldn’t even say one better – but in true American style – totally over the top in fact.

The US Air Force not only lost the odd bomb, but totally misplaced six nuclear warheads!!

……. The paper cites anonymous sources who say that five (later updated to six) Advanced Cruise Missiles were mistakenly loaded on a B-52 bomber that flew from a base in North Dakota to one in Louisiana. The missiles, set to be decommissioned, should have been removed from the plane. Instead, they were mounted on the bomber’s wings……

Thankfully it was only for a 3 hour period and the US Air Force hasten to assure us, that the public was never at risk - ‘because of safeguards that should of kept the warheads from detonating in the event of a crash or accidental launch.’!!

……. What on earth do you mean ‘SHOULD’?!? - Perhaps they should have notified the crew flying the plane that they were carrying them in the first place – perhaps that might have been a little more useful!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Kibera slums - where one in 3 Nairobians live.
Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and as much as i sometimes wonder what all those UN types round our parts get up to half the time, I do believe that somehow, some of the time, they do actually do something useful and for once I'd like to stand up with them.
I've stuck in a link at the side of my blog in which you can all join up and support the Global Call to Action Against Poverty - a worldwide alliance that is committed to forcing the world leaders to live up their promises they made at the dawn of the Millennium, to the world’s poor.

The leaders pledged a world where all children complete their elementary education; a world where people have access to safe drinking water, and families are protected from deadly diseases like malaria; a world where nations work together to cut greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Above all, our leaders promised a world where people are no longer condemned to a life of extreme and egregious poverty.

This year, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty falls just after the midpoint in the race to reach those commitments -- ( the Millennium Development Goals, as they are known) -- by the target date of 2015. The Day provides an important opportunity to take stock of progress, and it seems that although the proportion of people globally living on less than a dollar a day has fallen, progress has been uneven, and some regions -- particularly sub-Saharan Africa -- are not on track to redeem even a single one of these grand promises.

- Well, that's us folks - the sub-Saharan ones that are stuffing up their statistics, and yet we are surrounded by do-gooders and UN types, so something somewhere must be going on although i'm not sure how its gone so horribly wrong. Although i can't profess to be able to save the world, i would like to think that somehow we can all do something somewhere to save my fellow citizens.

Ban Ki-Moon suggests Governments to become more accountable to their citizens in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Goals - nice try Mr Moon but you're obviously not an African politician as those around these parts are keen on inflating the banana and orange market, meanwhile making empty promises, that seem to fill nothing but their own pockets!

He then goes on to say: "Above all, it requires a true partnership for development -- one in which rich countries do their part in delivering resources and productive employment opportunities through market access, so as to enable the poor to take control of their lives. " - Now, here i could not agree more. We do not need more and more food aid, we need more and more opportunities to give the poor in order to enable them to take control of their own lives and not to have to live on handouts for ever.

Bravo Ban Ki-Moon - and i do hope our politicians also take a little more notice and stop with the empty promises.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Great things happening to save Kenya’s fragile environment

Since the Blog Action Day came up, I’ve been looking about to see what I should write about on this day. Of course, growing up and living in Kenya means that it I am passionate about the place, and I’d really like to be able to share that in some small way with the rest of the world. I picked on tourism as it is one of the top four foreign exchange earners in this country and it is vital that we conserve our tourism and that we encourage visitors to come to Kenya and see our beautiful country but also have respect for it too.

Statistics show that spending by tourists makes up 12% of our economy and about half a million Kenyans depend on the travel industry for a living so it is absolutely vital that we take care of it.
Kenyans are generally well aware of this fact and are most definitely making more of an effort with regards to sustainable tourism development and promoting practices that will conserve Kenya’s natural environment and improve livelihoods of associated communities.

Ecotourism Kenya is a civil society organization that is now doing exactly that and pursues its vision of making Kenya’s tourism sustainable by:-
  • Managing the Eco-rating Scheme, a certification system for tourism accommodation facilities in Kenya
  • Managing the Eco-warrior Award, an annual award that recognizes outstanding tour operators, accommodation providers and community groups in Kenya
  • Conducting educational and training programs for stakeholders in the tourism industry, with an emphasis on community groups
  • Conducting surveys and research on ecotourism and sustainable tourism
  • Providing advisory and consultancy services in areas of research, planning, management and policy development on issues relating to ecotourism
  • Supporting communities implementing community based tourism initiatives
  • Maintaining a database of ecotourism initiatives in Kenya

So now you’ve all got a taste for the great things that we are trying to do for our country please come and visit us and put in your contribution to saving our beautiful environment.

For the most eco-friendly safaris, go to and search through the tourism accommodation facilities on their site that have been certified in the Eco-rating scheme.

Friday, October 12, 2007

blog action day!

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone's mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. The aim being to get everyone talking towards a better future.

Blog Action Day is about MASS participation. Please click on the link below and be a part of this:

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Whatever happened to Steve Fossett?

Here in Nairobi last weekend we had an air show. It was an awesome affair, with the highlight being two incredible pilots flying some incredible acrobatics in their Pitt's specials, and it reminded me of another daring man that we all seem to have conveniently wiped out of our minds.
I’m not sure if people have very short memories or Steve Fossett's is just not important enough even though he had many brilliant and historic achievements, but it seems we’ve all just stopped looking. In his career he set 115 new world records or world firsts, and holds current official World Records in 5 sports. Now surely that's something bragable?
I find it kind of disturbing that one night on every news channel headlined the story that he went missing but then, hey, a couple of day's searching – no sign it seems – so stuff him – lets move on.
He wasn’t doing anything exciting enough at the time – just flying his plane, not attempting to break any records or anything so it seems its not very interesting and we can forget that somewhere out there in the Navada dessert is this fellow – or what remains of him. He’s got to be there somewhere – I mean, it’s highly unlikely someone took him, is it? Personally I can’t see high demand for old fat boy adventurers? (No offence to him at all - but really i would hardly say he was the nickable type ..........)
Anyway its been over a month now and not a word and I do think that perhaps it does deserve the odd mention from time to time as it must be horrendous for his family to just never have any idea of what happened or where on earth he ended up.
Thoughts and prayers to them all.
Please take a look at his website

Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm gonna get me a Nobel prize!

Turn's out there's an alternative to the real Nobel Laureates called the 'Ig Nobel Prizes' that are given out for marking achievements that 'first make people laugh, and then make them think.'

The Ig Nobel prizes were created by AIR (Annals of Improbable Research), and are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative, and spur peoples interest in science, medicine and technology. (I'm not sure if they spur my interest in the sciences and suchlike but they most certainly spur my sense of humour. They are superb.)
..... and some of the winners of this years awards are:

The Ig Nobel peace prize which went to the US Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Ohio for its 1994 plan to develop a weapon that would make enemy soldiers sexually irresistable to one another, an idea later dubbed the "gay bomb". (This is great as they can all have a 'love in' instead of blowing each other's heads off.)

The Ig Nobel aviation prize was given out for a study showing that a hamster-sized dose of Viagra can help the rodents recover from jet-lag. (Very useful i think when travellling with one's hamster to far off places - as one generally does of course!)

The Ig Nobel prize in medicine went to Brian Witcombe, a radiologist at Gloucestershire Royal NHS Trust for his study of sword swallowing and its side effects. The most common problem for sword swallowers he found is "sword throat," a soreness that develops when they are learning the trick. But Witcombe and Meyer could find no documented fatalities caused by swallowing swords – excluding internet reports of people who swallowed neon tubes, spear guns, or jackhammers. "The big question is why the hell they do it," Witcombe says.
- "Absolutely Sunshine - If you could find out WHY they did it, you could probably earn yourself another award!"

The Chemistry Prize went to Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan for producing synthetic vanilla from cow dung. (- must remember to pass that one onto all farming friends of mine and get them out there picking up that valuable dung, ditch the dairy business and get into vanilla processing.)

Linguistics – This Ig Nobel prize went to Juan Toro, Josep Trobalon, and Núria Sebastián-Gallés of the University of Barcelona for a paper titled "Effects of backward speech and speaker variability in language discrimination by rats". They found that rats could recognize the rhythmic differences between Dutch and Japanese sentences, but not if the words were replayed backwards! ....... (No, really!!! ........ Note in diary: Must remember to play all linguistic tapes to rats forwards so as not to confuse them.)

Biology – Johanna van Bronswijk of the Eindhoven University of Technology earned the Ig Nobel biology prize by vacuuming up insects, mites, spiders, crustaceans, bacteria, and fern spores from Dutch mattresses, to survey all the tiny beasties lurking in the average bed. - Now that really sounds like good fun! Get the hoovers out girls - finally a use for them at last!

So now i've run through what a bunch of supposedly sensible people out there get up to of an evening, it's my turn.........

Thinking of submitting the following:

Medicine: Research into the longest time a 2 year old can play with a piece of lego without getting it stuck up their nose.
Linguistics: Teach Golden Retriever and Rottweiler some new words besides 'Woof, Woof and of course Woof!', and study which one of them has the best English accent.

Peace: Give everyone in Kenya 1 and a half oranges and a banana and teach them all how to make fruit salad rather than throwing them at each other! This will give them all a chance to have a banana for the PNU, an orange for ODM and an orange and a half for ODM Kenya - these being the symbols for the 3 main parties vying for the Presidential elections here in Kenya.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Yippee, Christmas is coming!

Apparently we really do live in the third world.

I’d never heard of Neiman Marcus – the outrageous present shopping site until I heard of them on a business segment of the CNN news the other day when they were talking of the new Christmas Catalogue that has been launched.

Well, I had no idea what fab things you could buy online (if only you have tons of cash and a little brain that would make you waste wads of cash, and if you are that person and are reading this – please give me a call and I could give you a million and one ideas on how better to give away your money. We have millions starving in this part of the world that for less than a dollar a day can be fed, clothed and housed. - Think about it!!) - but I digress ….. a lot!
Sorry, back to the point.

I was awfully excited to see that you can spend $75,000 on a robot that will talk to you (- it doesn’t tell you what it says though! Perhaps it gives worldly advice on where next to park your cash, or perhaps it gives out stocks and share advice – or perhaps it was programmed by a normal person and only says “Stop wasting your money, you flash git!!”)

Not only that, but at a snip, for $73,000 you can get yourself a diamond encrusted cell-phone (-that of course is highly likely to get nicked at any given moment in this, our smashing home town of Nai-robbery – whoops sorry – Nairobi, and then sold in some shady deal to some fellow downtown for about ten bucks – as it’s too bling to fetch more. And what they’d do when they pressed the button and got the 24 hour global concierge service could be an extremely amusing tale … I wonder if they have a ‘Jaluo’ service?)

And if you’ve got a cool $1.59Million to blow and 499 friends (which I sadly wouldn’t be able to rustle up – just call me ‘Norma’ – Norma No Mates!) – you can get yourself a private concert with Russia’s Kirov Orchestra and ‘for good measure’, the Steinway concert grand stays behind! - Gosh, they really are too kind!

It’s brilliant. I wonder if they have a service where you can list all the items you’d like gifted to you for Christmas, send a letter up to the North Pole, and Father Christmas could kindly drop down your chimney and leave them all nicely packaged under your Christmas tree in return for a glass of milk and a carrot for Rudolph?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Supernanny: Jo Frost

Now could someone please talk me through the supernanny and her latest book “Jo Frost’s Confident Baby Care”?

I’m sorry but why would anyone take heed of words spouted by some dominatrix style finger wagging stuffy chick whose never actually had a child of her own, and let her dictate to you what is good and bad for your own baby, and by any stretch of the imagination think you feel ‘confident’ about any of it?!?!

Has she been to that rock bottom place in her life where all you want to do is throttle the little blighter and drop kick them off the balcony of your 10th story apartment?
Has she ever experienced the nightmare and indignity of ‘childbirth’ in which you’re made to endure hours and hours of pain more awful than you could ever dream to inflict on your worst enemy, whilst some nurse or midwife rummages about in your nether regions and announces “Not yet 10cm dilated dear, whatever you do don’t push” – and you want to punch her really really hard – and probably do if she makes the mistake of standing too close to either of your arms!

Has she ever had to live in a sleep deprived state of despair listening to ear splitting screams that you think will never end?

Has she ever had to walk about with the inevitable blow up rubber ring tucked under her arm everywhere she went on which she has to humiliatingly sit down on to get any respite from major discomfort from bits of your body that have been battered, bruised and most likely stitched up?

Has she?? Has she??
Nope, didn’t think so!

You go girl, just you wait and see how the parenting techniques pan out for you darling if you ever do have a baby, and all you want to do is curl up in the corner and quietly fade away, and meanwhile she’s finger wagging at you from the inner pages of her bestseller saying; “Don’t give in. Routine is king!”, and meanwhile back here in the real world, you’ll do absolutely anything for 10 minutes peace. And if that means sticking your baby on the boob every half an hour just to keep them from incessant ear-splitting screaming, then so be it!

I’m afraid good, solid, common sense goes straight out the window, because if it doesn’t, the likelihood is the baby will!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oh Whoops!

Just had to share this one - it's a classic.

BBC News just reported that an RAF jet dropped a 14kg bomb 'by accident' and now they've lost it.

'..................... But hey don't worry chaps - its not live so don't worry about a thing!! But if you do happen to come across it perhaps you should give us a quick tinkle so that we can come and pick it up and perhaps not best to touch it because .... Well, you never know!!'


What hope is there for us and our arguing politicians when over there in the posh world they lose bombs by accident!!

Never mind - Am sure it'll turn up sometime!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Surviving Nairobi's traffic!

There's been a lot in the press recently, both local where people are furious, and even the international press, where people are probably just amazed really, about the traffic situation in Nairobi.

If you read anyone's experiences of travel by road in Nairobi, I doubt you'll find one of them that doesn't mention the unbelievable traffic experience, the shocking state of the roads and the ridiculous drivers that we have to endure on them daily!

Sadly, our country has gone through various degrees of corruption and one of the offshoots of this state of affairs is that half the people on the road have probably never taken a driving test and although they hold licences, these have been bought for a small price off some dealer in River Road somewhere. Then there are the hundreds of unroadworthy vehicles that block the lanes all passing through the traffic police with a quick backhander or (a favourite with the hundreds of matatu drivers) just slow down through the road block and throw the money out the window! This means that all those marvellous vehicles just keep on going - no brake lights, bald tyres and that's probably just for starters.

Finally we have the roads themselves. Well it turns out that we are gaily running along on a road system that was put into effect through a plan approved for Nairobi by the colonials back in 1948. Since then it seems that apart from the widening of a few roads and one new 'Processional Way' (to create a short cut from State House to town - very useful i might add...) that has been built in the last one year, we have not built a single road since independence in 1963.

That's good news all round considering the number of new cars estimated to be put onto Kenyan roads every month is around 5000. You could basically say 'We are well and truly stuffed!'

What this all means for the traffic is that of course you need to find ever more ingenious ways to get through it.

The matatus have a great plan. They zoom up the inside on the dirt on the side of the road where all innocent pedestrians get wildly hooted at and have to keep jumping into the ditch in order to survive. Then of course when they get to the junctions and back to single lane traffic, they just charge into you at full speed hoping you'll dive out of the way to save your own car, which of course you generally do at all costs, ... and they win!

This daily survival course is played out every morning on our way to school. I have taken to using a driver as i can't be doing with the stress of it all. What amuses me is that if you dare to take on these matatus (which my driver will as he's so much braver than me - and of course won't have to pay the bill if he loses the battle!!) the drivers of these vehicles give you the most filthy looks and then hang out of their windows and start shouting at you for not allowing them in! ....

We had a great discussion the other day on what car you should be driving in order to survive (or not), and what it says about you. It was summed up as follows:

1. Range Rover/Land Rover or some other large sturdy 4x4 with the biggest 'f... off' bull bar you can find.
- This says 'Don't mess with me. I'm not afraid to use it! I can hit you harder!'

2. Merc
- This comes with a status tag and will generally gain you some respect on the road as generally all 'WaBenzies' (as those who drive them are known) will not allow you to even touch the paintwork without calling the cops and making you waste half your day standing on the side of the road waiting for them to show up.

3. Toyota Corolla
- Generally only driven by those with a death wish or keen on a seriously exciting, although sometimes lethal, game of dodgems of a morning. Matatu drivers have absolutely no shame about driving one of those straight off the road and into the nearest ditch, or, if you get caught on the wrong side, straight into the oncoming traffic. And seeing as almost half the cars on the road are Toyota corollas - it is incredibly tricky surviving in one.

So, my advice to anyone about to buy themselves a car in Kenya. First of all, new is not recommended. If it has a few scratches on the side before you buy it, so much the better as then you won't feel so bad when you have your first ding - because you will have one no matter how safe a driver you think you are. It's not about you darlin', it's about the other mad b.........s on the road. For god's sake, do not, whatever you do, buy yourself a Corolla as you'll be lucky if you last a week without getting side swipped. The best recommendation is to invest in a whopping great 4x4 - the older the better - and fit the biggest and most solid bull bar you can find on the front, put your aggressive hat on and take to the road. - You'll feel just like 'Moses' when the traffic parts ahead of you!