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August 11, 2012

How to get around in Kenya:
From city to city
o Normal tourists: fly, private vehicle+driver
o Us: bus
Within a city
o Normal tourists: taxi
o Us: tuk tuk
From city to town
o Normal tourists: private vehicle+driver
o Matatu
From town to village
o Normal tourists: really don’t go there
o Boda boda (bicycle taxi) which, in it’s current incarnation, is a motorcycle

When all else fails, walk.

My children’s prefernces:
1. Piki piki (motorcycles)
2. tuk tuk
3. taxi
4. bus
5. walk
6. matatu

In fact, after our first matatu experience, the children were scarred. Matatus are simply a necessary evil–they just don’t bug me that much. I had my favorite spot (front seat, window) and since I was willing to be the first one in the vehicle at a stage (meaning I had to wait for at least 15 other people to fill it before it would move), and a book to read, so I really didn’t mind the time. BUT, they really stressed me out this trip, mostly because my children refuse to shut up and read. Oh yeah, they are illiterate. Well that makes three hours stuffed in a van on very holey roads a lot longer. A lot. Longer.

The second time we rode in a matatu, Amos actually cried and refused to get in. That was fun.

Eventually, we hit our stride. I insisted on buying 4 seats (“Madam you only need 2!” “No really, even my three-year-old is a person!”) and we took the whole bench right behind the driver. Most of the time.

Amos: How long will this ride be?
Me: Two hours.
Amos: Alright, I can handle that.

And generally, he did.

The matatu reform I had heard occurred after I left seems to have resulted only in all the vans having yellow stripes. They still don’t have seatbelts or observe the passenger limits they all have painted on the side. Most of the vans listed “x# passengers,” but I noticed this one was a little unique.

Lots of commentary there, but I still have a few hundred pictures from this trip to weed through, so I’ll leave that to you.

Of course the thing about public transport that gets me is the livestock. My kids found the chickens in ladies’ purses noteworthy and fascinating: I find them extremely creepy. So much so, that I FULLY support this.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Hannah permalink
    August 25, 2012 5:22 pm

    I am loving these stories! Keep ’em coming!

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