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Africa Day Three

(Sunday 12/12/99)

Donít worry about this one, we didnít do very much today, so Iíll try to keep my verbiage to a minimum.

After sleeping away a good portion of the day, at some point you wonít have to read about jet lag anymore, we did just two things today. We took a walk around the neighborhood and we went swimming.

I have learned that the name of the area that we are staying in, and will most likely be living in, is called "Milimani." Iím not sure of the spelling, it sounds like milli-money when people say it. It really is the richest part of town. Mostly foreigners live here, but there are some Kenyans.

Some applicable Kenyan history, as I understand it. Kenya is a collection of about seventy different tribes in one nation. Some of the more prominent ones are Akamba, Gusii, Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Luo, Maasai, Meru, Samburu, and Turkana. Honestly, I donít know very much about the history, Iíll put a link or two to some web sites that have better information than I do. The parts that I know are that for a long time the British colonized Kenya and fairly recently, 36 years ago today, as today is Kenyan Independence day (Jamhuri Day), the Kenyans had self-rule. Over the years Kenya has had extensive trade ties with many countries: the Middle East, India, and Europe. During the British colonial period the British used Asian labor to build railroad lines. When the British left, the Asians rose to prominence in business. Here everyone is called Asian, Arabs, Indians, and Southeast Asians.

One of the good things about this area is that there is also a Kenyan element to the upper and middle classes. There would have to be a sizable middle class in order to support three or four modern supermarkets and much of the other infrastructure.

So, as we walked around the neighborhood most of the big houses that we were looking at were owned by Asians. We also saw a couple of other white people walking or driving around. I havenít got a ruling yet on whether or not Asians are also called Mzungu or if they have their own word. Iíll have to find out if theyíre part of the club.

As I said before, these houses are nice, by any standard. Most of them are guarded and almost all of them are fenced and gated. There are two general designs. One is a sort of Mediterranean look, like the one we are in. Red tile roofs are most of the reason I think of them that way. The other is an older colonial look. Lower and a little bit more sprawling, they date from, obviously, the colonial period.

Then we went swimming at the Nyanza Club. It is a members only club in Milimani. Apparently not to exclusive a club because you could pay to swim for the day. Mostly we just lounged and swam. There are only two interesting things that I thought of while we were there that I remember. One was that the pool had a high dive platform with two heights to choose from. The pool was only about seven feet deep but the highest platform was probably eight feet. It occurred to me that many of the things that you canít do anymore in America because of insurance liability issues, would be fine here. It has bummed me out for a couple of years now that you canít go to a public pool in the States that would have a place to dive, especially a higher platform. I had to do it a bunch of times and found that I had to turn as soon as I hit the water when I dove so as not to break my back. UmmmÖ.mom, you probably donít need to know that do you? Pretend you never saw it. I was very careful, I swear.

The other thing that I saw was that there were a good number of Kenyans using the pool too. Itís good to see some of the Africans enjoying some luxuries, I guess it makes me feel slightly better about using such luxuries myself. There were a couple of girls that had really long braids at the pool. Kim said that they were weaves and that it was a status symbol with American, not African, origins, which I thought was interesting. After relaxing for some time we went home and made some pasta and sauce. ThenÖAnother episode of "The Bold and the Beautiful." God, I hope Ridge marries Taylor rather than Brooke, but now that Karenís separated from birth identical twin sister Katherine is in town itís anyoneís guess who heíll end up withÖ..