Day 233: Vegas, Baby! And Muahahahaha to our friends...

Claire and Lara are off to Vegas in a matter of hours to celebrate our amigo, Christina, who is getting married and is therefore being celebrated with bachelorette debaucherism and the exclusive use of the nickname Tinxxx. In the picture below, you can see Christina and Lara long before any engagements were spoken of messing around in a New Zealand grocery store a few years back. However, things have not changed much. Christina is the one clutching the flowers, looking optimistic and confident about being bridal. Lara looks confused, and like a nine year old thinking of something dirty…which is about what happens when she discusses topics of marriage.

This Las Vegas reunion is exciting for us especially as we have not seen our friends from college in 8 months or so:

We were a freakishly tight little bunch, 8 of us living together all 8 years, so this was a long period of separation. (there are only 7 in the pic, because Claire is taking it. you all know what she looks like...)

In fact, we are so close to these people that we felt free to give out their email addresses to random strangers. In fact, it wasn’t even random strangers; it was a bulletin board by an acacia tree in a hotel in Nairobi. The same tree, in fact, whose thorniness and use as an ex-pat message board in Kenya inspired the name of the Thorntree travel forum from Lonely Planet that Claire and Lara know and more than love.

This is the same cafĂ© in which Lara was approached by a very sketchy and elderly (gay?) Swiss man with a request to stay in his apartment in Nairobi for free as long as she liked. Lara felt like a hooker, when really all she had done was order Indian food and walked to the bathroom. As Kelly explains it, “hoochiness” is an inherent thing that comes out despite outfit or behavior. Sigh. Swiss man evidence points to the affirmative.

But the fun part of the afternoon was our planning of signs to place on said thorny board. We posted advertising this very blog…asking for people to tell us about their travels on a paper decorated with “Claire’s women,” lithe, willowy faceless feminine figures that really drive home the FemStudies-as-major point. The other signs read:

We Need Friends!
Penpals Wanted! E-Penpals to boot!
We are internet saavy (sic…Claire)
English or Spanish speakers please:

These are our friends’ email addresses.

What makes this story even more fun than it already was ("What?" you may very well say..."How is that Possible!!!"), is that we then received this email from Lana:

Hi Orlando - I think you're thinking of our good friends, claire and lara, who most likely posted that note. They're the ones who need friends generally, and particularly in Nairobi (for next year).

I'll forward this on them.

Because, you see, Orlando had written:

Hello Ladies!!

My name is Orlando and I'm responding to your "Need Friends" note posted at
the Sarova Stanley hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

What's up? Here's me: Born in the USA, been traveling around Africa for
about a month already. Next stop is France, then Sweden. Been taking a lot
of great pictures of my travels. So far, everything's been real nice.
Nairobi isn't one of my favorite cities, but then again, I haven't really
explored it. I still have time.

Write back,


Silly Lana…little did you know, you ARE the goal. No confusion there!

Oh Orlando…we will be back to you soon.

Muahahahahaha. Fun abroad! Thank goodness we knew a couple of people’s email addresses off hand. Kelly was so glad to be with us, rather than a victim of us.

See, friends. We tell you you are always in our hearts when we travel; we do not lie.


SavvySunshine said...

OK, now I am officially jealous. I thought so before, but am absolutely sure of it now. Yup, I am turning greeeeeeeeen as we speak.

It's OK, though, because y'all spur me on to pay my bills faster and save up SOME money (which reminds me - personal question: are y'all racking up major cc bills or are you actually able to fund most of this with y'all's 7 million jobs? Inquiring minds want to know.)!

Much love to you both and enjoy Vegas!

Anonymous said...

In response to comments regarding the post of your plans in Nyeri, Kenya, 2007:

I offer sincere apologies for "annoying" you. My comment was written in a rush and did not properly express the point on which it was founded. I do appreciate both your recognition and value of the organization's advanced level of facilitation. Of course, typically it is most efficient to donate your time and labor through a system that is already in place and proven to be functional. Cheers to you for offering your time and service in the first place.

As you know, my weariness is directed at the religious nature of such organizations. While these organizations are not without their virtues, they tend to support a historical ignorance to the cultural heritage of those whom they are aiming to assist. I don't think you can participate in this organization, which advertises its "strong Christian role models", nor the Tumaini Children's Center which Paul and Stephanie describe as an institution which "shows what we can do as Christians when we really follow Christ" and honestly say that you are not involved in enforcing a sort of colonialization of the mind. I am wondering, for instance, which religious material is taught in Paul's Religious Studies classes. Are the doctrine, concepts, or practices of religions that were in tact in this region of Kenya (the ancestral religions of students) before European colonialists and missionaries arrived taught at all, and, if so, how extensively?

From the mid-1800s until mid-1900s, German, British, Belgian, French and Italian governments & missionaries have sent Africans the message that our societies were problematic. According to Christian values, our religious systems were improper. According to European values, our tribal governments were irrelevant, our agricultural methods were inefficient, our cultural habits were savage. Agriculture, democracy, religious heritage, and ecology are all defining dimensions and functions of culture. When these things are reevaluated, revised and retaught according to Western values or attitudes, this enforces the breakdown of cultural identity. Obviously, cultural breakdown has affected many cultures outside Africa - the Aborigines in Australia, the Native Americans in North America, and the native peoples of Amazonia, to name a few.

With the decline of culture, a community loses its sense of security and what we refer to as kwimenya. As we continue to view our communities from a mirror held up first by European colonialism and now by missionary organizations, our own sense of culture is distorted. Our culture disintegrates from within as it suffers a lack of identity, dignity, self-respect and a sense of destiny.

I am supportive of anyone who donates their time and effort. My wish is merely that those interested in helping seriously examine the structure of the organization in which they are participating. I have witnessed firsthand the enormous need to develop vehicles by which we may aid societies and simultaneously preserve their kwimneya and cultural identity rather than contribute to cultural disintigration. I hope you guys keep this concept in mind when you develop the summer program. Best of luck.

Claire and Lara said...

This is an excellent piece Anonymous, and we thank you for your time in crafting this. Please know that all your words are heard, and many are agreed with.

Thanks for writing - we only wish we knew who you were!

Lanit said...

verrrry funny girls. i should have written "Dear Orlando, blah blah blah same stuff i wrote before, PS the girls will probably exploit this on their blog for more fun"

SavvySunshine said...

Nice comment anon.

Allie said...

Claire and Lara, the amount of fun you both have during your travelings is most amazing. It would, and does, make many of us envious.

I'll be making my first visit west of Dallas to visit my boyfriend and his family in Los Angeles for Christmas. During my time there, the Murdocks and I will be making a road trip to Las Vegas. I am elated, yet afraid I'll miss out on all of the "good stuff."

Are there any sites in Las Vegas that one or both of you found particularly spellbinding?

Claire and Lara said...

allie: see the fake eiffel tower. apparently there was major controversy over the hanging of the french flags back in 2003 when the war started...they've gone back up, but slowly, like french fries in congressional cafeterias...

Real Time Web Analytics