People always use toothpicks after meals…you don’t “get off” a bus or Matatu, you “alight” (I have actually never heard this word before)…people make “blunders” instead of “mistakes”…Kenya produces great coffee, but since the domestic demand is rather for tea, most places serving coffee here are surprisingly bad…people love eating meat…when I ask people for directions, they assume that I am utterly helpless and may not make it to where I am going…if my colleagues give me directions, they want me to send them an SMS once I arrive, so that they know that I made it safely…everyone carries little plastic bags with them wherever they go…the growing middle class is obvious, even just by looking around at the massive billboards, which are designed to be more vertical than horizontal, and the endless commercials hocking a consumer lifestyle to Nairobians…the word “gay” was censored out of the Ugly Betty episode I watched after dinner last night, as was the word “sex” on an episode of “Shark”, an awful American TV series I have never heard of…the Swahili news will show interviews with people in English without subtitles…the English news will show interviews in Swahili without subtitles…men walk down the street holding hands, because they are friends…my frequent “Thank you” or “Asante” (thank you in Swahili) to whoever has helped me are always met with “Welcome” or “Karibu” (welcome in Swahili)…people are proud of Kenya and are slightly ashamed about the post-election violence; they hope that is not all I know about their country…if I walk into any eating establishment that is not an almost exclusively white hangout, I will be watched by the other customers the whole time, from ordering to eating to paying: it seems to me that they are in total disbelief that I am sitting there, drinking coffee and eating a donut (good donuts here)…handshakes can be an extended affair, and vigorous…people speak English to me, but the accent can be impenetrable, the words unfamiliar and unexpected, and when coupled with the accent: impossible to understand…


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