325: Lara in Kenya, Claire en route

by claire a. williams, Claire@TrippingOnWords.com

In real time, the update is that Lara and our friend Jonathan both arrived safely in Kenya today. Claire is soon to depart CA, with the first batch of 250 shoes for Hope Runs that American Airlines, in an amazing effort of corporate generosity, is waiving the 1000+ of excess baggage fees on.

On the day we last left Kenya, Lara's flight was at some hideous time in the early morning, and mine was late at night. But because we (read: Lara) are good at haggling with people, we had arranged the same driver to do both pickups. I was up late the night before she left, most likely g-chatting with people on the wifi we had, and so I didn't wake up to send Lara off.

When I did wake up, some 7 hours after she had left the country, a hastily scribbled note proclaimed "This is Crap!" and then proceeded to list the blatant transgressions the driver had already tried to commit that morning before leaving (1. showing up 45 minutes early and telling Lara that she was going to miss her flight 2. trying to up the price 3. trying to say he couldn't pick me up later). But by the note's end, it appeared that Lara and dealt with all the attendant crises.

However, this driver had left a bad taste in my mouth. So when he picked me up that night, I was already dubious. But then, when he told me that I now owed him the equivalent of another 8 dollars for some "bribe" Lara had had to pay a policeman on the way to the airport because she got stopped not wearing a seatbelt* at a checkpoint, I was laughing my "I am so well traveled and you are just trying to rip me off" laugh. It was sad, though, because no one else was there to admire it.

He counterattacked. No, no! Lara had to pay a bribe and you now owe more! At the airport is my friend, and he has a letter Lara wrote. Because I have seen Mission Impossible movies and apparently inappropriately identify, I began to imagine a scenario in which they forced Lara to write the note, and yet it were up to me to detect the code words that identify that this is not a Real Note and not what Lara is Really Thinking.

When we got to the airport, his friend came in a car to met us. Then the friend gave me the letter Lara had written, on a decidedly familiar page the decrepit Nepal primary school primers we had each been using as our Really Important Information notebooks for the last several months. It read:

on the way to airport we got stopped and had to give all our cash to the cops as a bribe not to take us to court for not wearing our seatbelts. this is a ridiculous AM. as a result, we couldn't pay the driver 500 (kenyan shillings) - so you still owe him 25000, as he surely says.

we are of course about to miss our flight! so sorry for all the drama. this is def. my worst cab experience ever. bullcrap! Love, L

*The irony of this is sick. In the old cars we drive in in nearly every country we have been in, seatbelts are nonexistent. We regularly complain about this. We like seatbelts, actually. The fact that there was one car in eight months that had one, and Lara didn't wear it, and then began arguing about having to go to "court" that morning and thus miss her flight is absurd.


Another twentysomething said...

Aw good luck Claire and Lara! Does it sound weird to say Im proud of you? Obviously not in a mother-y way, but I guess in a new way in which a blog follower revels in your travels and then charitable plans and then feels proud/happy for you when they start to come true.

claire said...

That's so cute! Thank you!!

sarah mac said...

i am SO EXCITED that you two are back out on the open road! safe travels and big hugs for initiating such an awesome project in Kenya.

ps...you two will be published soon. Claire tomorrow and Lara next week. xo

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